The secret of alcoholism recovery is that it takes a monumental effort in the beginning in order to transition into creative living. What exactly does this mean?
It means that there are no shortcuts to a lifetime of peace and serenity. If a newcomer looks up to their sponsor who has 10 years of sobriety and wonders in awe about how that person can have so much peace and serenity in their life, the answer is simple – they worked for it.
Everyone has to put in the effort in early recovery. There is no spiritual shortcut to creating an awesome new life for yourself in recovery. In fact, the only shortcut is to clear everything else out of your way and start focusing on your vision and purpose right off the bat. Understand that this is, in fact, a spiritual path. To attain your vision and seek a life of purpose. To start creating in your life.
Building a foundation
The idea that you can go from newcomer to “life of serenity” with nothing in between is just plain false. As they say in traditional recovery programs, there is “footwork” involved. This means that you actually have to do some stuff in order to pursue your recovery.
What is this stuff that you must do? I would argue that it almost doesn’t matter, as long as:
1) you actually do it, and
2) it is positive action.
This might sound like a poor argument, but the evidence that I’ve seen says that it is true. The actual program that you choose to implement in your recovery is of secondary importance. There is no magic formula out there; any program will technically work if you work it.
Therefore, I would suggest that the newcomer simplify things as much as possible by sticking to 3 basic strategies for their recovery:
1) Networking with others
2) Pursuing personal growth
3) Caring for self
These 3 strategies might sound like a nice idea, but they only become meaningful if you put them into practice and allow them to start guiding your decisions. Of course, the same is true of any principles that might be learned in other recovery programs.
Sitting around reading about recovery is not going to keep anyone sober. You don’t build a life of serenity by reading about it. Instead, you have to get out there and take your lumps in early recovery and start taking some positive action.
Mistakes will be made. You’ll go through the occasional tough time. And you’ll even be tempted by relapse at times.
It’s all part of the process. When you look up to the person with 10 years plus in sobriety who seems to be at peace with themselves, realize that they, too, went through early recovery. And it wasn’t always smooth sailing for them. If it was, they never would have built up the experience necessary to make it over the long haul in recovery.
The secret of recovery
So the real secret is that it takes a lot of hard work to build anything of real value – including a successful life in recovery.
Don’t be discouraged by this. Instead, let the idea empower you – that you’re going to build something real and positive out of your life and make a real impact on the world. If there was a secret shortcut to peace and serenity then those things would not be worth pursuing and recovery would be easy for everyone.
But there is no shortcut and recovery is hard work. But the reward is worth it: a life of true passion and purpose, lived sober.