Sean Swaby wonders if maybe it’s time to give your recovery the finger?
We have gotten the idea of recovery wrong. Wrong!
Recovery is sometimes thought of the absence of an addiction and the replacement with something more healthy. But life is more than addition and absence, plus and minus.
Your body is continually adding new cells and removing old, decaying cells. Yet you do not think of our bodies as if they are in recovery. Your body is just doing it’s job, continually remaking itself.
How do you and I remake ourselves? Look no further than your finger. Every 10-30 days, a layer of skin cells are replaced. It is slow, subtle and invisible. But constant.
The remake happens while you and I go about our lives. But no, it is not passive, nor automatic.
You have to do a lot of work to let the body do it’s work. You need to eat, exercise, move, sleep, work, interact and be. When you live your life, you give your body what it needs to quietly remake you from the inside out.
But it is so slow, so subtle, so invisible. I know.
Recovery from addiction and from mental illness is the same way: when you live your life, you give your mind and your spirit what it needs to quietly remake you from the inside out.
Change is not impossible. Just look at your finger. Right now, your cells are remade, bit by bit. Recovery is like that. If you are like me, your mind is screaming now, “But recovery is not like that!”
So, go ahead, give recovery the finger.
Just like your body is replacing it’s cells, your mind is also replacing it’s cells. Only these cells are in the forms of fading thoughts and memories.
To remake itself, your body needs food, movement and rest. Similarly, your mind, and your soul, will remake itself through your words, your actions and your attitudes. Your words, your actions, your attitudes are the ways that you leave a part of you present in each day. In this way – you remake yourself.
It is all so slow that it can seem like nothing is happening. But the work of change happens each time you remind yourself of a change that you want. Each reminder, each word, each action is one new cell.
When I was a child, we lived in a home that I remember like it was a castle. I have dreams about the home where it is dark and huge and made of heavy bricks. When I revisited the home, I realized that my memory played tricks on me. The house is only two stories, and it is made of wood, not bricks.
Sometimes our minds will trick us and convince us that things are made of bricks and walls. Impenetrable.
But nothing is impenetrable. Just imagine pure stone. Cold and hard and indestructible? No. It’s strength is washed away by nothing more than water.
When I was young, things seemed so much bigger. But with age, things become re-sized. Memories of Giants (or Trolls) fall and are replaced with new memories. New memories make for a new story.
Your recovery needs the finger. Remind yourself that recovery is not about plus and minus. It is about your actions, your words, your attitudes: each thought, each decision is part of your remaking.
The next time you feel tempted to quit, to walk, to give up. Breathe, and give yourself the finger. That one action will create new cells that can move you toward the change that you want.
Your finger is all that you need. It is your path to change.
Keep it Real
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