If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them. – Henry David Thoreau
I remember this Thoreau quote from high school. Thoreau was attractive to me in part because of his stance on civil disobedience. As a professional iconoclast and practicing alcoholic from a very early age, a selective reading of Thoreau fit my needs for rebellion. In recovery, the quote takes on a different meaning. As a practicing addict, I had lots of castles in the air and lots of excuses on why I was kept from building the necessary foundations. Until entering on the recovery road, I never considered my own shortcomings in the foundation building. Today, I can take responsibility for building the foundation.
In recovery, the “easier, softer way” is often meant as taking short-cuts and not truly working a solid program. I have come to view the “easier, softer way” in a different way – as taking responsibility and being accountability for my recovery and life decisions. I believe this approach is easier because the only person whose actions I need to worry about are my own and the results are more predictable. I do not need to manage all the actors on the stage. Rather, I just need to worry about my performance. The resulting foundations are perhaps more slowly built, but they are certainly a more sturdy support for castles. Ultimately, this is the easier, softer way. My life in recovery is much easier and softer than the constant tension, disappointment, and self-loathing of active addiction.