[Recovery] takes time–not time we find,
but time we make.
~ Joe C.
Many of us sabotage ourselves by trying to fit recovery in to our daily schedules. It’s common in early recovery for us to feel as though we need to make up for lost time (impossible), an idea that very much caters to our addict desire to have what we want–or think we want–right now!
There’s a well-known principle of administration known as Parkinson’s Law, which states that “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” If we don’t set aside the time and at least attempt to stick to a schedule of recovery-related practice, we will eventually fill it up with other things that will come to seem more important–most likely sooner, rather than later.
With 28 years in one fellowship and coming up on five in another, I have found (finally) that such a schedule is imperative for me. Immediately after rising and dealing with my morning necessities (personal, caffeine and a bite to eat) I have my morning ritual. I do my daily readings, followed by 15 minutes of meditation, sometimes on the readings or perhaps simple mindfulness.
Only on rare occasions, such as unexpected calls from family, program people, or work emergencies, do I vary this. If that’s necessary, I make time for the readings before my evening journaling and meditation.
I text and talk to recovering people at least a couple of times a day, and try to do so more often. My most flexible area is meetings, but I make at least two face-to-face meetings a week, and usually one or two online. Phone meetings are great, too, if it’s possible to find the privacy. Meeting with sponsees varies, but I try to do that at least once a week as well, if the sponsees cooperate.
Note for the record: I highly encourage outside therapy, especially for the first couple of years in recovery. However, therapy is not program, and sessions do not replace meetings. If your therapist thinks they do, find another shrink.
I mention these things not because I want you to think I’m some kind of recovery saint. That’s bogus, because I have my problems and issues too, plenty of them. Besides, this regime of daily practice is much like those of most every successful recovering person I know. What I was doing didn’t work for me. I finally got smart and started copying the winners, with better results. I might (and will) add that most of the folks I know who struggle don’t make the time for a recovery practice.
There are dozens of daily reflection books to fit every sort of fellowship and addiction, not just the ones that work for me.1 The only other requirement is a relatively short period of peace and quiet, and maybe a second cup of coffee. Give it a shot. Like everything else in “the program,” if you don’t like it your misery will be fully refunded.
1Hymns To An Unknown God, Sam Keen, ISBN: 9780553089035
Beyond Belief, Agnostic Musings for 12-Step Life, Joe C., ISBN-10: 0988115700, ISBN-13: 978-0988115705