Reality and I have had an interesting relationship for many years. As a young boy, reality was something a little beyond my everyday experience. That is, the more adult world of responsibility and consequences made me curious, but it wasn't always possible to engage in.
Over the years, engaging with difficult realities has been a challenge. What you describe is similar, but it makes me wonder if, in the end, we don't face reality, but rather it faces us. In some ways your trip and return is an example. Back in a familiar space, reality looks back expectantly, asking us to engage with it. It seems to do so whether we like it or not.
Growing up, this request to be engaged with is something that could easily be applied to how my Mom would relate to me. When her demeanor told me she wanted to be engaged with, it would make me happy yet sometimes painfully filled with emptiness. Over the years the request became uncomfortable. Couldn't she find a way to get my attention in a way befitting a parent? It's not even clear to me what that means, but it would have to be something with a strength behind it. Because she seemed to need my attention and only my attention at times, my own energy level seems to have learned to expect a kind of restlessness, stemming from a kind of exhausting obligation to give and not receive in a way that feels right.
So, perhaps recovery indeed comes from within, by engaging with painful realities that are asking to be transcended through conscious and committed healing.
Lose the drama; life is a poem.