Recovery is a lot like nature

Food for Thought

By Richard K., San Luis Obispo, CA, SCA


Springtime is a joyous burst of exuberance on the part of nature: flowers
and green hills and the landscape freshened up by the winter rains and
snows. Gorgeous!

Here in California, we don’t get the severe winters that the folks in the
mid-west and east do. But we have our gray, dark, cold days just the
same. It’s mostly “inside” weather, and communing with nature can get
pretty wet and chilly. Still, there’s a quality to our surroundings that
inspires awe and gratitude. And we always know that spring will be here
one day. Our expectations and hopes are based on that renewing-of-spirit
time of the year.

When spring does arrive, and the poppies and lupines make their golden and
azure statements against the emerald green of the hills; when the dormant
trees burst out with new leaves; when the tulips and irises and hyacinths
and daffodils and rock roses and
ceanothus and redbud and dogwood come out in their full glory — well, it
sets the heart to realizing just how close we are to God and nature! What
better church could there possibly be than being out in the hills or the
forest or along the beach breathing in the clean, sweet air, and taking
in the great decorations that nature spreads out before us. Even the
breezes and winds can have an organ-like musical quality… if you take
the time to pause and listen.

Then summer comes along, and the California hills turn golden and brown.
The riotous blooms are replaced by tiny flowers almost hidden in the grass
and bushes. It seems, though, that no matter how hot and dry and
unfriendly it might be, there are always
flowers blooming somewhere–tiny and difficult to see though they may be.

All too soon autumn comes. Things slow down in expectation of winter.
The skies soften, as do the vistas across the hills and plains and
valleys. Yet, there are still flowers here and there, not only in our
gardens, but out in the countryside.

* * *

Our recovery is a lot like the seasons, the flowers, and the general
atmosphere of nature. Initially, there’s the sullen darkness and
hopelessness that we might associate with winter. Cold and dreary, lonely
in our addiction, shame, remorse, and empty lives. Acting out, all out
of control. Helpless. Powerless.

Then, just like spring, the time comes when recovery seems to grow in
leaps and bounds. Our old behaviors seem foreign and remote to many of
us; something we can hardly believe we were ever caught up in. We’re
enthusiastic about our meetings and service
and recovery and all that the Program is about. Many of us experience
that burst of energy especially in our early weeks in the Program.

Then things seem to slow down, maybe even regress a bit. Our enthusiasm
wanes. The pain, of realizing all that our addiction has robbed us of,
really sets in. Lots of pain! We may even revert to some of our
acting-out behaviors, out of the fear that this recovery business is
never going to take hold. Yet, like the tiny flowers of summer, there is
still growth there — hard to realize, but it’s there. Our recovery seems
so insignificant at times that we might even trample it, like those tiny
little flowers. But somehow, it always bounces back.

Then, as in autumn, things ease off and mellow out and soften. We realize
that while recovery is not all roses and honey, it is worthwhile. In
fact, it is vital to our survival! We can accept this reality without
getting depressed and frustrated. Recovery, to really stick, is a slow
and deliberate process and a lot of work. There’s no hurry, a concept
that’s hard to accept for compulsive folks like us. So we tend to beat
ourselves up less for “not measuring up” to our, or others’, expectations.
It’s our recovery, and we make the most of it in our own time.

There will be other winters in our recovery. But there will always be
another glorious spring following close after. That’s just the way it
works. So check out the flowers all around us. They are nature’s gift to
us all; just as recovery is our own gift to ourselves.

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