I don’t know about you, but in my experience, very often verbal sharing and written documents about recovery tend to idealize it; i.e. to focus almost exclusively on the positive or happy side of recovery and to focus on the elegant and idealized spiritual principles underlying recovery. To me, this gives newcomers and even people with long-term recovery an unrealistic and unbalanced view of the actuality of recovery. Then, when life intervenes and brings challenges, difficulty, sadness, tragedy and other “bumps in the road”, we can inadvertently be made to feel that we are failing if we aren’t all smiles and filled with joy and spirituality.
To me, it’s time to get real. Continually putting a smiley face on recovery is just dishonest. Life is life. It’s real. It contains the complete spectrum of human experience, from the most joyful and beautiful to the most horribly painful and tragic. I also think that gut-level, unvarnished honesty is actually the purest form of spirituality. And I believe that our sharing and writing should reflect this fact.
Does the long-term process of recovery bring with it marvelous benefits and spiritual growth? Yes; of course. Recovery as a whole is an absolutely incredible marvelous blessing. What we often tend to gloss over, however, is that the road to that long-term recovery is life itself. And that road contains the full spectrum of human experience, from the most joyful to the utterly horrific. And we often tend to pretend that it’s ALL joy and peace and beauty.
And even more, we tend to punish people who share the negative and painful sides of life. I think we do it perhaps because, deep down, we are scared of what they are sharing; we are scared that maybe those painful experiences might happen to us. And that is so very wrong. It is so wrong to ostracize or judge people who are at their most vulnerable and in desperate need of love and support.
What I want to do with this blog post is to re-balance the scales. I don’t want to over-emphasize either the positive or the negative experiences of recovery. I want to integrate recovery into life itself in a vivid, direct and honest manner. I invite you to join me in that journey; into accepting and facing the full nature of life. My belief is that we got involved in our addictions because we didn’t want, or didn’t have the resources, to face life on life’s terms. And I don’t want us to continue that tendency into our recovery. I invite you to join me in the REAL journey, not the prettified (and fake) version of that journey.
God bless us all as we truly TRUDGE the road of happy destiny.