Has this happened to you: You learn a recovery skill, or a strategy in early recovery that –over time– kind of slips away, and then later you get to revive it? In “Out of the Woods” I write about this phenomenon that happens in long-term recovery.
It happened to me this week. I had the opportunity to remind myself of a strategy I learned from one of my early sponsors. In my earliest days when I told my sponsor about a person or a situation that I was afraid of or that I was trying to avoid she would say, “Go toward her,” or “Lean into that” or “Go toward them.” It wasn’t easy but it always worked. It’s brilliant life advice. It got me through a lot of situations in early recovery.
But then, probably, I thought I knew how to live and that great advice slipped from memory. But this week –more than 25 years later–finding myself dreading a meeting and then a person and then a project–I thought, “Hey, go toward it; lean in.” And it worked.
This is also why—in “Out of the Woods” I write about going to meetings in later recovery—and how you find the number of meetings that is right for you. (That’s in chapter five.) I want to remember my early recovery–not just for how painful it was back then (and it was) but also to remember how carefully I listened to sponsors and other recovering people. Pain is a great motivator to learn. In later recovery we can remember to keep learning even when pain is not the trigger.