Series Three: Blog Seventy
I watched a National Geographic program once that presented the nurture and development of wolves. In this program, the mother died unexpectedly. The four pups were not quite ready to strike out on their own. So they hovered next to the dead carcass, sucking on the tits of the dead mother. The program filmed the pups hovering, hoping for life sustenance. The filmmaker flash forwarded to snow falling and beginning to cover the carcass of the mother. Each of the four pups drifted off in separate directions. The narrator stated that the pups now will never return to the mother or to each other. It was their time to move forward in life or die with the mother.
This portrayal is a picture of recovery growth. Life is dynamic. Bob Dylan crooned “Times are A-Changin’”. There have always been arguments to refute biological evolution. However, what is irrefutable is that who we are tomorrow will not be the same as who we are today.
Many addicts grew up in unpredictable environments. Those who sought refuge from the chaos and turmoil created by addiction pandemonium found safety in recovery rooms. The acceptance and closeness from other addicts gave to us what we never received growing up in our family-of-origin. The 12-step community created a much needed safe haven for those of us who were driven by the demons of addiction.
I love the Old Testament story about the children of Israel crossing the wilderness headed for the promise land. The story goes that God provided manna from heaven while the people of Israel wondered through the wilderness. It was great. Wake up, go out and pick breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It was all provided by the generous Yahweh! Most wanted to settle and hang out for good. Why move forward. Let the promise land remain distant. We’re good right where we are! There were many problems and conflicts that ensued for those who settled and refused to move forward.
It’s that way where the rubber meets the road in recovery, too. The cocoon of support provided through a 12-step community is only as safe as you are willing to commit to personal growth. Growth means that you will not remain the same. Neither will the environment you first entered for recovery. The very nature of a 12-step community will intensify the need for change.
Most of us don’t want change. Yet, without change you stagnate. At some point, you can plateau in your recovery and build a fortress within a 12-step group that helps you not act out, which is good. Some people hover around the fortress and refuse to dig deeper for new recovery growth.
It is not to say that we outgrow our need for a 12-step group. Growth will require that our recovery move past our 12-step group into the lives of our family, community and occupation. It is not that we evangelize others to do 12-step work. It is that we promote acceptance, principled living, tolerance and a transformative lifestyle in all aspects of living.
There are times in life that you find that the well you have gone to is dry. It’s time to dig a new well. Time to launch into the deep. Like the wolf pups who recognized it is time to move on to something new, it’s time for you to move ahead and grow. Whether you are just beginning your recovery journey or you are an old geezer like me, today is the day to remove the excuses and go deep.
Subscribe to receive the latest stories, thought leadership, and growth strategies from PCS therapists.