Recently I was sitting in a room with folks who are healing from the insidious disease of addiction. Legal, emotional, financial and relational consequences faced them as a result. Some had been on the roller coaster ride for years with both short and long term periods of sobriety. What they all had in common was a desire to turn things around in their lives. Not knowing how to do that is what brings them back week after week. We create a recovery tool kit that is filled with tried and true items such as AA/NA meetings, living the 12 steps, practicing their own brand of spirituality, connecting with sober supports, using their talents, being grateful, taking care of their health by improving nutrition, exercising, being in nature, playing, being creative. Lots of things from which anyone could benefit. I do my best to offer them out of the box ideas to keep the interested and forward thinking. Since I am a writer, I think in metaphors.
I asked them if they had been around babies recently. None had. I asked if they were to become parents what they what do for their child. Of course, their responses were that they would feed, clothe, love, educate, entertain and so on. I then turned it around and reminded them that they too were like newborns…new to their sobriety. One had been clean 35 days, another 2 months, still others, longer. “Imagine,” I queried that “you were only that old.” “How would you nurture yourself? Would you be more patient and compassionate and less harsh and self deprecating?” All the way across the board, the answer was yes. I encouraged them to come up with ways to see their own innocence despite the choices they have made that led them to the place that for 90 minutes a week, we sit in a circle of kindred spirits who are birthing themselves into a new way of being.