This post isn’t about my wonderful life, though my life is quite wonderful. This post is about the wonderful life that comes hand-in-hand with a recovery properly worked. As promised by millions who have followed the path as laid out before, if it will work for me, it will work for you.
It’s a difficult path to find and stay on as a youngster or a person early in recovery because there’s always that pull that says, “If I’ve managed to stay sober for this long, I bet I’ve got it whipped.” Eventually you learn that’s just the disease making small talk. Once I learned to treat it as that, it became easier to keep from getting caught up in the mental masturbation of contemplating a thought that deserves nothing of the sort.
In fact, I can see today’s instant gratification, social media way of life might make recovery a little more difficult. You can always find a group of people to believe your barstool lies and tales of woe. But let’s not let that silliness distract us from “wonderful”, shall we?
Let’s look at perspective a moment. The way I see it, addiction was a hell I created. Recovery, once I accepted that I was, and always would be, a pickle, became my emergence from hell. Compared to actual hell a happy, content existence, free of the bondage of addiction is indescribably sweet. Even a life others would call dull and simplistic (usually those who Pooh-Pooh people like me in polite, aristocratic conversation) is phenomenal.
In fact, almost to a man, the pompous existence seems mundane and dull contrasted against mine. I’ve tasted freedom after a self-imposed prison sentence and have no room for pomposity. They’re scoffing at me from their concrete bench.
Material things, while nice, aren’t the be-all of a recovered person’s life. Sure, we acquire some things as we mature and grow, but what we learn is how to truly enjoy what trinkets and toys we have.
Golf clubs, bicycles, running, softball, tennis, camping (I do all but golf with my wife and/or daughters). My toys aren’t great (well some are), but what we do with what we have is what’s impressive. I don’t just hit golf balls. Each shot (at least the good one’s) is a small miracle that I’m even on the right side of the grass to enjoy the shape of it. Each road trip with my wife and friends is a treat I never should have been fortunate enough to experience.
The escape from physical addiction is only the first part of the journey. The hard part.
The good stuff comes after. Once one escapes hell, perspective is achieved. The cedar swamp smells sweeter (if you’ve never smelled a true cedar swamp, it’s absolutely glorious). It’s not that it really smells better, it smells the same as it always did. I simply learned to appreciate that, but for the grace of God, I’m on the right side of the grass and have the ability to feel the joy of smelling cedar so sweet, it makes me glad to be alive. My marriage is like that. My relationship with my kids is like that. My recovery is like that.
A properly worked-for recovery from addiction is like walking around half your life needing glasses, then you realize you have enough money that you can finally afford a pair so you go to the doctor and get set up. A couple of weeks later your glasses show up and you put them on… and for the first time in decades you can see everything in high-definition. Having lived that, being able to see, even just clearer, was enough to move me to tears.
A recovery well-worked for is a hundred times better than that.
Each day is another day in paradise when I’m working at my recovery. It’s not to be missed.
Keep coming back and you won’t. This is promised to everyone who works for it. Everyone.