Recovery 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.