And yet, how do we not make the sad mistake of turning recovery into yet another drug, another compulsive behavior, into yet another mad confirmation of our ephemeral and suicidal "uniqueness"?
Sadly, this is indeed what happens to many who enter recovery. Meditation and meetings become ends in themselves. Rituals and steps originally meant as maps to a place become confused with the place itself. Smug complacency can set in, disguising itself as wisdom and knowledge. We submit to a paralysis of the spirit we believe to be solid attainment. But this rock-like certainty isn't wisdom at all. Like a rock, it will sink your potential in a sea of self-assuredness.
Phrases like "My job is recovery" fall from lips while bills go unpaid. Meetings are attended more often than family functions. Spiritual practice lifts the practitioner so high that he can't hear the cries for help from below; it "purifies" our heads so much that we can't acknowledge the dirt on our feet and the dust we'll become. If we're lucky, we'll become bored with this static way of living and return to our true, everyday self.
Obviously, there is a substantial difference in placing recovery first in our lives rather than having it consume them. Our recovery must be both the bedrock AND the summit of our lives -- everything else, all of the blessings and benefits, flow from this radical restructuring of our priorities.
We have to remember that the instruments with which we measure our recovery, practice and lives are faulty to begin with. We products of dysfunction have only our damaged selves to measure ourselves against. We can turn anything into a compulsion and abuse it until it turns on us and those around us.
The benefits that flow from recovery are not ours alone to keep. The Twelfth step says that in order to keep it, we must give it away. Keeping this quality of mind, we can avoid the damaging spiral of self-absorbed recovery and spirituality.
When Moses struck the rock in the desert with his staff, he didn't drink all the water himself. He had done it for his dying people. Your denial is the desert, your recovery is the rock and your spiritual patience is your staff of salvation. The rock was waiting for you to strike it all along. What a surprise when it released its life-giving waters and quenched your great need. Will you hoard it for yourself or will you share it with your people? Don't share it and it will dry up immediately, leaving you worshiping a lifeless rock."
(excerpts from Mel Ash's book, "The Zen of Recovery", pp 199-200.)
Remember: recovery is not just what goes on at a meeting. Recovery is your life, in AND outside the meeting room. To that extent that you practice the principles of this program in ALL your affairs, you will begin to experience the true and wonderful gifts of this program.
Walk the talk.
:) Spike :)
The Alpine Group
521 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803