You know, it’s hard to think of things to write for this blog. I’ve been writing about recovery and related areas for so long that I don’t seem to have much to say any more.
The same thing has happened in meetings over the years. The more time I get, the less I find I have to say. There is always someone with three or four years who, if I wait long enough, will usually say whatever I have in mind. (I was taught that if you talk more than three minutes you will run out of useful things to say, and start sounding like what that sponsor called a Big Book Parrot. I have often found that to be the case.)
See, the problem is that there are no recovery crises in our lives any more. (Well, Shel is an addiction therapist, so she has them every day — but you know what I mean.) I don’t mean to say that there aren’t problems related to recovery. We’re still in the process of paying off debts incurred three or four years into recovery, and in today’s economy that does create the occasional crisis. But the wanting to drink or drug, the relationship adjustments, the problems with 9th Step-related issues, the self esteem issues, the codependency, the spirituality thing, the … well, you know… the things that make the first three or four years so, erm, exciting, are rarely issues nowadays — they’re just bumps on the road that we try to take care of as they come up.
So it’s hard to write about my own recovery and not sound like a boring old timer, pontificating about things past. That’s why I answer questions so happily when they come along. One thing about it, if you don’t relapse and don’t die, you eventually end up with a bunch of answers. They’re my answers, true, but that’s what we do: share our experience, strength and hope, on the chance that someone else will hear something they can relate to.
So what’s the point of all this? It’s that recovery does become routine. I don’t mean that we don’t have to pay attention to it, but rather that the mechanics become more or less automatic. A daily inventory becomes one that is as likely to occur before the fact as after. Doing “the next right thing” become more or less routine — or at least thinking about things in those terms does. Daily routines like reading, meditation, talking to another person in recovery, returning phone calls — all the things that we had to learn, perhaps even force ourselves to do — just become part of our life, of who and what we are. Meetings become that safe place where we can relax and let others run the show. As long as we are careful not to become complacent, things just fall into place. The surprises are life surprises, not recovery surprises.
So take heart, it does get better, and thanks for letting me share.