My recovery timeline is MY timeline. That is all.


In project management (PM), we live and die by project timelines. A well-planned project not only runs lean, it also includes float (or slack) in the project timeline to mitigate risks that may jeopardize the successful completion of the project. The PMBOK indicates that total float is representative of the path (i.e., critical path or the earliest and latest that each activity can start and finish without making the project longer). In PM, there are four types of dependencies:

  • Finish to start: Task B cannot begin until task A has been completed.
  • Finish to finish: Task B cannot complete until task A has been completed, even though the tasks may run simultaneously.
  • Start to start: Task B can start any time after task A has started.
  • Start to finish: Task B can’t finish until task A has started.

All of these dependencies are based upon choices that should be balanced against logic, resource availability and preference(s).

Very important point: project plans are to be considered living documents and are designed to be iterative. This means that change is to be expected. The tools and best practices are all about anticipating and planning to the fullest extent possible, while realizing that even the best project plan may require modifications due to the potential twists and turns inherent in every project. One simply cannot anticipate absolutely *everything* and I advise my students not to get too overwhelmed with such exercises.

And so it is with my recovery. My initial plan was to live in my apartment for 6-12 months, work on myself, give H time to work on himself, and then work together to determine where we were going in our marriage (finish to start dependency). My timeline included float due to the unknown, however, one of the dependencies did not occur in that H has only recently gone to counseling (last Saturday) and only now do I have any hope of dealing with him on a different level than we had been for many years. It takes a lot of time and effort, as I well know, to unravel a lifetime of habits and distortion.

As my lease winds down (early May), I am finding myself in a bit of a panic. Will I renew? Should I renew? Should I allow the manipulative way H has tried to “insure” that I won’t renew so he can get that new car he wants and not have to worry about the additional expense? Can I really execute my idea of a plan to supplement my income so I can pay the rent directly, thus removing something for him to bitch about? (yeah, probably.)

I am very wary of putting myself into a situation that I am not ready or equipped to embrace. He’s not ready or equipped either. We cannot go to marriage counseling just yet, but down the road I anticipate we will be able to do so. His questions are always the same: When? How long will it take?

I have no idea and I think it’s a ridiculous to try to guess because guesses are interpreted by him as concrete commitments.

I am feeling resentment. I feel like I only have a little time left to get back on my feet and feel like I’m equipped and balanced. (no perfectionistic implications here, just getting better is enough) I had built in enough float because I knew the process would be tough. I did not factor in H’s resistance to both my process and his process, but it sure matters. Only now is he onboard and I have no idea whether or not that means our marriage can be saved, and it doesn’t really matter at this point.

The critical path for this “project” involves the overall improvement of the health of the individuals involved. In other words, the project cannot be successfully completed until and unless those things occur. Once those things occur, the final phase (counseling together) can occur and, one way or another, we will know where we stand as a couple because we know where we stand as individuals.

As far as my own recovery timeline is concerned, I have decided that I will not feel pushed into someone else’s [uneducated] model of what my timeline should be. That is between me and my therapist and yes, I wish it didn’t impact other people but it does. However, the focus must remain on recovery and only recovery because without recovery – without this final, full on effort by me – I will cease to exist in one way or another and that is simply not acceptable. This is my *life* we’re talking about here and things don’t fit into neat little Gantt charts and project plans. Planning is awesome but then there’s real life. There is no way I’m crashing (i.e., squeezing in a bunch of stuff with little to no time adjustment) this project. Crashing only works, when adding more resources will lead to a faster completion of a project.

What additional resources? There are none. This is it. This is all that is/can be available. Resources are finite in the truest sense of the word, especially when it relates to emotional matters.

Dyan Diamond wrote “Go at Your Own Pace” and that is exactly how I have decided to look at things. (Thanks Dyan!) I am no longer interested in living in that denial space that tells me someone else’s version of “this is how it should be”.

I call bullshit.


3 thoughts on “My recovery timeline is MY timeline. That is all.

  1. I love this post and find it motivational. I can feel your strength and I love the reality of it. And I totally can relate to the project management comparison. We all have our own timelines for recovery and need to respect that fact. We all have finite emotional resources and we need to use them without using them up, making sure we get replenished as well as working hard.

    • Thanks so much for your comments and encouragement! Most often I educate myself (and secondarily my students) through analogies and metaphors because relationships of concepts can be better crystalized.

      “Oh! So it’s like *that*…ah, I get it! Cool!”

      Obviously my blog is an outlet for my own learning and synthesis and it is a happy bonus when someone else finds my way of processing things to be useful. I especially appreciate when others weigh in and point out things I might not have otherwise realized. Dude, that is so cool! 😀

      Replenishment…yes. I’m at a juncture where I have zero choice in this matter. It is what it is for sure.

  2. A mature outlook. Go with your pace and not the pace of others. A good plan and I hope it works well with you. You are the only judge that counts in this race.

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