I chose this rather unglamorous title because recovery is really hard work. I know progress in this effort will have great rewards, but I sometimes think the difficulties of getting to recovery and staying there is simply more than we can manage.. This applies not only to us but to our addicts as well.
The need to change our thought processes , our view of the addict and ourselves , work the 12 steps , and attend meetings, while actively trying to change much of our behavior is a fulltime job. I am not saying this to be discouraging. To the contrary I am a firm believer that it can be done. But none of us can possibly anticipate the time and effort that will have to be given to make our recovery happen.
We often speak of our journey-that’s what it is and much of the trip is up a very steep and uncertain incline. The journey and the its process is the destination. There is no last page or final mile. There is no finality in working the Steps. Our lifetime is the duration of the journey. Yes we have to work on recovery forever. That is why you see recovering people in AA who have 25 years of sobriety. We like the addict , need to continue with meetings to keep our own recovery intact ; and as important, we have to lend a helping hand to other who are struggling. For me this is what Step 12 is really about. Step 12 is serious work. My son once said to me on a hot day as he was mowing the lawn:”I’d love an ice cold beer, but I know that would lead to the end of my recovery ; and most important I know I could never go through this again.” He didn’t say why, but I knew how many years he had struggled to find sobriety and he was uncertain he could ever find his way back to long term recovery again if he relapsed at that point in his life. The statement was an eye opener for me ;I had not realized how difficult our journeys had been. I guess finding some peace and some resolution tends to blank out the years of pain and hard work. But he had not forgotten how much he struggled to recapture his life.
We often wonder as family members of addicts how much punishment they can take. But recovery, I believe, for them , is much harder than staying lost the in the chasm of addiction . For us the chasm of despair and enabling is, for many years, easier to manage than the process of recovery. That’s why I refer to the “daily grind” of recovery. And I believe that is the reason so many of us struggle for years trying to get better. My experience has taught me that the truth upfront trumps the “ embellished fairy tales” about addiction every time. I firmly believe that the truth ,while painful to hear, accelerates recovery. If we understand what we are up against ,we will be less disappointed over the many failures that precede success in this process of recovery. And I know we can all succeed in this effort if we have the knowledge of the facts about addiction and understand why we need to change. The fuel that propels us is this knowledge and the hope that our efforts coupled with guidance from our Higher Power, will ultimately lead us to peace and serenity in our lives.
“The journey is the destination”