Easy Does It, Three Ways

Inspiration for Your Journey

The recovery slogan "easy does it" helped me get through the white-knuckle moments of early sobriety. I didn't need to worry about how in the heck I was going to live without a drink for the rest of my life. I just needed to focus on staying sober for now, for today.

All these years later, "easy does it" has become my mantra for living well—body, mind and spirit. For me, it's a powerful antidote to the rush and pull and busy-ness of our lives, inspiring progress, not perfection.

  1. "Easy does it" for the body: We live in a culture that esteems and rewards performing at an "Energizer Bunny" pace of work and life. But we are human; we aren't built to go at life nonstop. Our bodies need rest and refueling. Successful athletes know this well. A characteristic of accomplished athletes is the ability to balance all-out effort with total relaxation, protecting their bodies from injury and burnout. It's no surprise that relaxation techniques are a core component of many addiction treatment programs.
  2. "Easy does it" for the mind: Have you heard the expression "a relaxed brain is a creative brain?" I'm a believer. Test it for yourself. The next time you feel mired in a seemingly endless list of to-do's, give yourself the last thing you think you need: a break. Take a walk. Take a nap. Call a friend. Play a favorite album. If you're like me, you will be rewarded with a fresh perspective and, often, unexpected insight that gets you unstuck and guides your way forward.
  3. "Easy does it" for the spirit: For me, an essential and reoccurring lesson of Twelve Step recovery is learning to let go of things I can't control—to let the process unfold and allow myself to be okay with where I am even if it's not where I want to be or think I should be. Trusting that all will be well is a spiritual practice, honed with patience, self-forgiveness and a little TLC.

"Easy does it" gives us permission to be our perfectly imperfect selves, to slow down, to show our vulnerabilities, to share our worries. And in doing so, we help others be their perfectly imperfect selves, too.

Nell HurleyNell Hurley is the executive director of national alumni relations for the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation.
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