Terminal Uniqueness vs. Celebrating Our Recovery Road

wolfRecovery literature often reminds us that as individuals, we share a common disease/addiction/dilemma.  I find this understanding very important to my recovery.  Very early on I made a decision that I did not want to stand on the edges of recovery, but wanted to place myself squarely in the middle.  That is:

  • I did not want to try the moderation with alcohol game, but made a decision to give up that fight and place myself squarely in the middle of staying sober.
  • A recommendation I received early on was to attend 90 meetings in 90 days.  If at the end of the 90 days I wanted to go back out and drink, the bars and liquor stores would still be there.  I followed that advice and got a solid foundation to build my recovery.
  • The recovery literature abounds with common understandings around concepts such as acceptance, anger, higher power and so forth.  I have always tried to find my place at the table, as it were, in applying these concepts in my recovery.

But an interesting thing has happened over the years.  I have taken these common issues or concepts and worked through my own approach to them.  For example:

  • The twelfth step of the AA program goes that we ” . . . carry this message to alcoholics and practice these principles in all of our affairs.”  I never raise my hand at recovery meetings that I am available to be a temporary sponsor.  I don’t think I am much good at that and my schedule in general is too erratic for a regular commitment.  However, I am pretty much an open book on being in recovery and regularly share my experience, strength, and hope both in formal and informal settings – including this blog.  Because of my career, I have the opportunity to share on a regular basis with young folks grappling with their addiction issues.
  • I don’t often crack the spine on my Big Book these days, but I do read a piece of recovery literature each day.
  • In meetings folks describe their routines of prayer and meditation that include the various prayers in the Big Book.  I could not repeat them, or the page numbers they are found on, if my life depended on doing so.  However, as I go throughout my day, based in my recovery experience, I attempt to be very mindful and intentional in all of my thoughts and actions.

In these ways, I see that in recovery, though there are common roads that we all travel, there are divergent paths along those roads.  I have come to enjoy both the roads and the paths.

6 thoughts on “Terminal Uniqueness vs. Celebrating Our Recovery Road

  1. Good morning Robert,

    Whew, this reading was well-timed for me! I finally uttered the words to out loud this week… I am not good at, nor do I wish to be, a sponsor. Now, I currently have a sponsee, but that is a subject for another time, quite the roller coaster is that relationship. But in terms of opening myself up again to another, there’s just been nothing good about it, at least that I can see/feel/experience. And I felt immense guilt voicing those feelings, really, just feeling those feelings.

    So it’s good to know that there are serious, sober people who choose to think of 12th step work in ways other than being available to sponsor someone.

    Thanks, Robert, for sharing your experience, strength and hope with me, it sure helped!

    • Josie,

      Thanks for your comment. There is a lot of AA that has evolved over the years. To the traditionalist, I like to remember that the word “sponsor” does not appear in the Big Book. I am not knocking the “sponsor” concept, as I think it is extremely important. When asked to be a temporary sponsor, I have agreed in the past, but I simply recognize that for many, I am not necessarily what they need. But there are lots of other things that I do well and can contribute in recovery.

      I find this all very interesting. I know folks who have taken multiple fourth steps. I did one fourth and fifth step when I was about one year sober and have never done another one. On the other hand, the tenth step, on a daily basis is EXTREMELY important to me.

      After I had been sober for maybe 15 or so years, I decided to stop waiting for the other foot to drop, so to speak. My recovery program works extremely well for me. I always feel challenged to grow, but I have stopped feeling that I am not following the book closely enough.

      There are many convergent and divergent paths on the recovery road. The whole journey is a real party in my mind.

      Thanks for sharing!

  2. hello Robert, I found this blog today and read it through from the beginning. thank you thank you thank you for painting such a beautiful and fearless portrait of sobriety… what a wonderful way to choose to live. thanks to you I now look forward to life with great anticipation.
    (1 week sober today!)

    • Congratulations on your one week of sobriety today. That is a fantastic milestone to keep building on one-day-at-a-time.

      I am pleased that you found my blog helpful. There are a lot of wonderful folks out there in the blog-o-sphere sharing their experience, strength, and hope.

      Best wishes as you continue on your recovery road.

      • yes, the blog-o-sphere has been incredibly helpful – I have been binge reading all week and have been inspired by the stories. your blog however was the first in which I pulled out a pen and started taking notes. the ability to teach is gift.

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