Feeling that no one really understands us can keep us from recovery for many years. – Just for Today (April 5)
When we first arrive at the doors of recovery, certainly we all have our own personal story of how we got here… meaning, each of us has a unique tale of how our lives had become enslaved by the obsession and compulsion to use substances.
And though certainly each person’s history will be different in many ways, what unites those of us in recovery is our desire to be free of what has imprisoned us for so long. That is, we all want a new life, unencumbered by the physical, mental and emotional chains that have kept us bound in the past.
What most of us rather quickly learn in recovery is we are actually not unique and we are, indeed, sitting amongst a group of people who really have experienced something similar to us—the dramatic highs and horrific lows, the “crazy” thoughts and destructive behavior, and the devastating consequences of a using life—but who truly do want the kind of “new life” we so deeply wish for ourselves.
If we open up and allow them to, what starts off as a group of “strangers” can become a powerful bunch of allies in our daily movement forward as a person in recovery. In time, we come to witness not just our similarity to these “others” in our recovery program and/or 12-Step fellowship meetings, but also the power of the group to help us stay afloat when we’re feeling down, guide us back to center when we’re starting to stray off-course, and assist us in maintaining a regular routine of recovery.
We start to see these formerly unknown, unfamiliar people now modeling for us what it looks like to “do our program” on a daily basis, providing a clarifying and strengthening influence for us as we seek to develop the foundation of our recovery and meet the challenges of everyday life.
If we find ourselves struggling with our “uniqueness” or sense that “nobody understands me” (because we’re feeling “separate” from or “different” than others), we may soon find we’re lacking desire to attend meetings regularly, have resistance to making daily phone calls to our support group members, or a reticence to opening up honestly with our sponsor or in recovery meetings.
At such times, it can be extremely helpful to remember just who is sitting across from you or who you’re sitting next to: a man or woman who’s very likely been down the same sort of rough-and-tumble roads you’ve been down and who’s made the same decision as you… to start a new life in recovery and to follow it to the best of their ability, one day at a time, or even one moment at a time.
“Just for today, I’ll take a deeper look at how I truly am part of the recovery fellowship, and feel grateful to be a part of this group of people who understand recovery’s immense value in their lives, and will support me in my maintaining it in mine.” — Anonymous