Today was lovely the sun was out and I checked my garden. It looks like some of the plants are handling the cold weather better than others. Time will tell when Spring has sprung which plants will spring along with Spring. If that makes any sense at all.
With starting this new job and then coming down with some sort of crud, my blog has languished somewhat. But I give myself grace because I know I can’t stop writing but there will be lulls in the action. In fact right now I’m writing using voice-assisted technology. Just to at least get something out before I fall asleep, exhausted from the week.
On my way home tonight in the car from a meeting, I started thinking about the process that we go through in Recovery. It’s not a very linear process. It is not neat and tidy; it doesn’t have a 1-2-3 sort of thing, although we do have steps that are numbered. Quite often, we will complete our steps and then have to repeat some part of the process perhaps multiple times. Relapse is a common part of recovery. It is not a dirty word to be whispered at the back of the room. If we are to ever get past the shame and disgrace that is placed on the relapse process, then we must bring it out into the open and acknowledge it for what it is; just another part of our recovery journey.
This is not to say that everyone will have a huge theatrical relapse that lands them in jail or rehab. Or, that will end up at the bar and face down in the gutter. This is to say that we are all human and live in a broken and fallen world. We are subject to the temptations of the world and our own human failings.
But you will hear some say “well, not everyone relapses.” True, I have heard this too. But relapse isn’t just taking a drink or picking up your drug of choice. It can be a thought, an attitude, a behavior… many things make up the relapse process and not talking about it doesn’t make it not so or make it go away. Also, treating those struggling with relapse like failures or somehow “less than” doesn’t make things better either. Our recovery fellowships are supposed to be safe places where people can feel like they can be their authentic selves and get the kind of support they need to stay clean, whether it’s from codependency, alcohol, drugs, anger or any other thing they may be struggling with. Judgment has no place in our fellowships. Restoration is the goal for any relapse, and judgment will typically impede that goal.
We should be asking ourselves this question: would we feel safe in our fellowship to admit we are really struggling hard to stay on the recovery path? Would we be comfortable to admit that we slipped up, made a mistake, or just totally fell off, but we’re back and we’re working hard to get back on the path of recovery? If we can’t answer these questions in the affirmative, then we really need to wonder what kind of fellowship we’re part of. Let’s each determine to be a part of a recovery fellowship that supports, encourages, and lifts up each member, even those who are weak and struggling. Because we all will have those moments.
Much love. Stay healthy.