In 2009, Miley Cyrus was just a couple of years away from making the move from Disney Channel star to pop star. A key transitional moment, arguably, came with a song she recorded for Hannah Montana: The Movie—a song that listed Cyrus as the vocalist rather than her TV alter ego and that was a top 5 hit.
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That song, “The Climb,” suggests that the journey of life is more important than any specific destination or timeline for reaching it:
There’s always gonna be another mountain
I’m always gonna wanna make it move
Always gonna be an uphill battle
Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose
Ain’t about how fast I get there
Ain’t about what’s waiting on the other side
It’s the climb
Now, you probably did not come to this blog looking for a history of Miley Cyrus’ career. Nevertheless, the message found in “The Climb” is an important one for those who are in recovery from a substance use disorder to keep firmly in mind.
That’s because recovery is itself a journey.
A Goal That Is Always Out In Front
With most important goals in life, it is pretty easy to determine when you have accomplished them. Your goal is to get promoted? When you are promoted, you will have reached your goal. Your goal is to finish a draft of a novel? When you finish a draft, you will have reached your goal. Now, you may immediately set a new goal—another promotion or a new job, for example. Or an edited and publishable draft of the novel. But those new goals also have definable endpoints that you can use as markers of your progress.
When your goal is to stay sober, however, it can be much harder to definitively say when the goal has been accomplished. One way to address this issue, of course, is to set a smaller goal. That goal might be something much shorter term like staying sober today. If you get to tomorrow and haven’t taken drugs or picked up a drink, you can celebrate accomplishing your goal. But then you have to reset the same goal: You will stay sober today.
Add up those day-by-day goals and they become one lifelong goal: Stay sober.
That’s where the metaphor of the journey—or the climb—comes in.
Enjoying the Journey Is a Key to Reaching the Destination
Now, admittedly, Ms. Cyrus talks about the climb not as an enjoyable hike to a scenic outlook, but rather as an “uphill battle.” As a result, it might seem odd that our suggestion is that you learn to enjoy the journey of sobriety—especially since it can, in fact, sometimes feel like an uphill climb.
But here’s the thing: If you can take pleasure in your sobriety and in the opportunities it provides (better relationships with family and friends, more success at work, better health, and so much more), that sense of pleasure can carry you along your journey much more smoothly than if you simply grit your teeth and cling to another sober day.
Are there going to be difficult days? Absolutely. Some days are going to threaten to stop—or even reverse—your progress. But if you have made a point to count your sobriety among your blessings, you will be better positioned to hang in there and keep your journey moving in the right direction.
A Note About the Reality of Relapse
In “The Climb,” Ms. Cyrus admits opening that sometimes she’s “gonna have to lose.” That is relevant to our metaphor, too, because relapses are quite common and can be deeply discouraging.
But you don’t “have to lose.” First, you may very well be able to maintain your sobriety for good. But even if you don’t, you still haven’t lost. You have had a setback, but a return to treatment can get you back the path you want to follow. Don’t be ashamed and don’t wait to return to treatment. It’s the best way to start climbing again.
You Can Start Your Recovery Journey With Us
The first step of your recovery journey is, of course, to get sober. At Bel Aire Recovery Center, we can help you take that first step. We offer medically supervised detoxification to help you overcome cravings and regain your sobriety. We follow that up with a rehabilitation program ground in both individual and group therapy and designed to treat co-occurring mental health disorders while also providing resources, strategies, and support for ongoing sobriety.
And when you are ready to step back into the world, we will continue to offer support for your journey via our commitment to a continuum of care.
Your journey starts here, and we are ready to provide the care and support you need along the way.