By and large, what human being want is resurrection without death, answers without doubt, light without darkness, the conclusion without the process . . . When the Spirit is alive in people, they wake up from their mechanical thinking and enter the realm of co-creative power.
Richard Rohr, The Divine Dance, p. 146
In my professional life over the last 30 years I worked in the field of cultural heritage where I published a bunch of articles and some books. A couple of years ago I noticed that the past half-dozen or so pieces I published had the word “co-creative” in the title. I am rather evangelical about cultural heritage professionals co-creating with a community to meet the expressed need of that community. When I see the word “co-create” in any context, I usually take note, such as the Richard Rohr quote above.
My sobriety and recovery in general is very much a co-creative affair. My expressed need is sobriety/abstinence that is co-created with the support of other folks, organizations, or entities who can provide their experience, strength, and hope. As in my professional world when working with communities, if I am not willing or interested in “co-creating” that recovery, it ain’t going to happen.
That is the obvious and simple part of lesson.
The more exciting part is the end product of co-creation. In the museum world, when the process is truly co-creative and based in the community interests, and not what I perceive to be their interests, the end results are richer and more rewarding than anything I could dream up on my own. In a similar way in sobriety, through living in the process over the years, and co-creating with the resources provided by so many others, and not just going on my own, I am amazed at the possibilities recovery has brought. I so distinctly remember laying in that detox ward on August 4, 1984, wanting only to somehow function on a day-to-day basis in the real world. The years have brought me so much more.
As the title of this blog clearly states, I too have learned that recovery is a process and not an event. I remember an experience in my first year of sobriety. I was desperately waiting for a situation to resolve itself. At the time, I recalled that in the past I would have just gone out and drank over the issue. But, I also thought that if I just stuck it out sober, I would learn from the experience and the next time would be easier to get through the same thing without drinking. That insight in year one of sobriety proved so incredibly true, particularly in three decades of hindsight.
What I have learned over the years is that if I trust in the process, live into the process, not as an isolated being, but as part of a luminous web of interconnected co-creating humanity, I stay on the recovery road, with all of its blessings and responsibilities.