Most of us in recovery will admit that one bad day in sobriety is better then a good day enveloped in addiction. We have all heard others share (and maybe we have also) that since we have been in recovery, life is not exactly a bowl of cherries. Of course we feel that way because prior to working any of the steps, we most likely ignored any of life’s problems because we weren’t capable of handling them.
We know recovery is literally for the rest of our lives. We do not always see how far we have come but others do. Even the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous tells us that many times our friends and families will see changes in us before we do. Another aspect of this is that we aren’t patient enough and get bored in our recovery. Let’s face it. All because we work the steps, go to meetings, and are of service doesn’t mean that we make miraculous changes in a short period of time.
I’m in that place every now and then. I know I don’t drink and I honestly don’t have any desire to. I know I don’t smoke although I must admit that still often tempts me especially in “down” times. So those two signs of recovery are a given and I’m accustomed to those but I have to find the little things on a day-to-day basis to remind myself. And so I “amuse” myself with minutiae! Some of these can be downright humorous, almost silly and other times these can be very meaningful. Either way they are proof to me that I am in a good place, that I am present and I can see life, God, principles and recovery in something every day. The end result is really all about gratitude.
So let me share with you the “stuff” that gives me hope that every day I am progressing just a little bit more to enjoy being happy, joyous, and free! Remember what I said! Some of these are totally ridiculous but on the other hand, I would bet many of you have thought similar thoughts.
I don’t wish anything bad to happen to anyone, but one of my favorite things in recognizing my recovery is to see someone get a ticket on the highway. I know. That sounds pretty sick, doesn’t it? But I so often drove under the influence and would panic if I saw a cop that today I know that I have nothing to fear. That doesn’t mean I want to see those flashing lights in my rearview, but if I did, I probably wouldn’t wind up in jail.
It’s not my favorite thing to do but I don’t worry about driving at night. I can see everything in front of me and I don’t have to close one eye in order to see straight.
I see signs of my recovery when I am able to see God in nature. I look at the mountains every day and each day there is something different about them. I notice where the sun shines on them and where they are shadowed. I praise and thank God for recovery when I see the red rocks of Sedona, the wildflowers that seem to spring from no where in the middle of the desert, a full moon and a sky full of stars that can only be duplicated by man in a planetarium.
I can now recognize the good in others; the divine in others (the trademark Namaste’ I use at the end of all of my articles). I can also recognize the not-so-good but many times it is because I see my old self in their behavior. No day at work is perfect but I think each day I can find something I did better, said better or handled better now that I am working the steps.
Recognizing my recovery every day is not only visual or based on behavior. It is what I hear. If you have ever seen the movie “Sister Act” you will appreciate that certain songs have lyrics that can mean something that probably never was intended. When I hear the song “My Guy”, I really do think “My God”. The words work! The words that always mean the most to me, though, (and I know I’m dating myself but who cares), is when I hear the Stones sing, “You can’t always get what you want (but if you try sometime) you get what you need.” That is almost a mantra to me. Not the song itself, but in recovery those words are meaningful to me. I am convinced that if you want to “hear” recovery words every day, just listen. They might be heard where you least expect. It’s really how you hear them. Someone not in recovery wouldn’t hear the same, I’m sure.
Sometimes I wish for a sign. These "signs" are usually license plates that I see on the highway. If I am praying about something or even worried (yes, I still can worry) about something, I'll see a license plate that might say, "Believe"; or "Hv F8th" or something like that and I have to know that God loves me.
I like to offer “assignments” every now and then. If you are feeling weary in your recovery, maybe a little bored, or maybe you need a little boost to prove that not drinking, drugging, eating, not eating, whatever your addiction is not the only result of working the steps, make a conscious effort to see, hear, feel a “sign” every day. Have fun with it. Laugh. Make it silly but feel it in your heart and soul. Get excited or re-excited about your recovery. Recovery doesn’t have to be difficult. Keep it simple!
Namaste’. May you walk your journey in peace and harmony.
"Like" Grateful Recovery on Facebook. Kathy L. is the author of "The Intervention Book" (Conari Press)