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One of the most often heard comments from newly sober people is “What am I going to do now? I’m bored.” I assure you your life in addiction recovery will be anything but boring.
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Read my not-so-boring book Boom Baby Boom
Most of the time, I refer to myself as being “In Recovery.” This is an easy way to communicate that I used to be all screwed up on drugs and alcohol, and now, I’m doing better. It’s also a handy little hashtag to use on Twitter when I’m hoping to reach fellow traveler’s who spend time online. Almost all my little online gems contain #Addiction, #Recovery, # Sobriety. Its the secret code we use to find one another, and hopefully, interact and support each other’s efforts to live a fuller life without drugs and alcohol.
But, lately, I’ve been thinking about the language we use. Words have meaning. Behind these buzz words are actual people. Really complicated people. Sometimes really anxious, depressed, confused and addicted people. People like me.
The word “Recovery” implies that we are trying to return to a former state of being. It implies that we were once in a good place, we lost our way, and now we are back on track. We’ve recovered our sense of life’s direction.
But – who of us has honestly lived such a fairy-tale? How many of us really want to reclaim, or recover the life we were living before our addictions got the best of us? In my case, my life was so depressing and painful, that I used drugs and alcohol to escape that reality. When I got high, I went to a warm, safe place. I shut out the noise and the pain. It worked for a while. Until it didn’t, and I found myself addicted to cocaine and alcohol. I never want to recover the life that led me there.
Instead of recovery – we might consider “Growth.” #Growth. I’m not trying to recover the life I once had, I’m learning to grow into my new life – a life with endless potential, love, and purpose.
Let’s face it. No matter how we feel about them, many of us were first introduced to sobriety in 12 Step recovery programs. It is rare to find a therapist or treatment center that isn’t 12 step centric. Although I’ve grown and changed my outlook over the course of the past 27 years in recovery, I could not have gotten and remained sober without working the 12 Steps.
That said – we will continue our step study today with Step 6:
We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Yep, there’s that G-O-D thing again. In steps 4 and 5, we took a good hard, truthful look at ourselves, and it wasn’t always a pretty picture. Then, we shared that intimate inventory with a trusted person. Here, in step 6, we look ahead – ahead to a life where we have left our past behind and begin to build a new, sober, successful life. But – as in several of the 12 Steps, we are advised to look to our Higher Power to give us a little push.
In my case, the little push was more like a kick in the butt from my sponsor. I never missed an opportunity to debate with my sponsor the overwhelming presence of the Judeo-Christian God n Alcoholics Anonymous philosophy. But, the fact that he spent three years at a catholic seminary, preparing to become a priest, usually gave him the upper hand in such discussions. And, in step 6, we are advised to simply ready ourselves, with God’s help for our new lives. My sponsor, who by the time I knew him was more agnostic than catholic, just reminded me once again, that G-O-D can simply be interpreted as Good Orderly Direction. He reminded me that, no matter what level of deification or spirituality I chose to read into the 6th step – getting my past behind me, and preparing, through good orderly direction for my future was where I needed to spend my time and energy – not in theosophical debates about the 12 Steps.
And, that’s where I left it. And that’s where I decided, with God’s help or not – to stop living in the past. In my recovery, I could live in the present and the future, and I’ve never looked back.
You too, can look forward to a fulfilling life, happy, successful and content in your recovery!