An Easier, Softer Way

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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.