One of the major tenets of LifeRing's secular approach to sobriety is the revolutionary (some would call it rebellious) concept of "choice in recovery."
What does that mean? It means that we are anything but a "one-size-fits-all" support system that not only makes room for the individual sober self living inside all of us but actually accommodates it. I know - blasphemous, right? But the reality is, like a lot of other human afflictions, addiction lies on a spectrum - some of us are high-functioning people managing careers, families, and homes quite successfully in spite of abusing our drugs of choice, and others of us are like part of a new zombie apocalypse, shells of ourselves living out on the streets in cities around the country, who have lost everything to get nothing more than our next fix. High bottom, low bottom, no bottom but death; most of us lie somewhere in between.
That is because for as alike as all of us are, we are also as unalike in ways we can't often explain either to ourselves or to others but that make us the individuals just the way we are, and not everything is going to resonate with everyone all of the the time. Some of us need tough love, some of us need just love, and while they are not mutually exclusive some of us just don't respond well, if at all, to one or the other.
The best part about choice in recovery? It means that if it works for you, then great! Keep doing it! But if it doesn't work for you, guess what? It doesn't mean there's something so fundamentally wrong with you that you are incapable of being helped, it means there's nothing wrong with you at all, it's just the one thing or the other you tried didn't work for you, and that's OK. Keep looking - give things your time and concerted effort, but know you don't have settle for something that feels wrong to you because everyone else thinks you should or your recovery isn't valid.
Easy? No. Necessary? You are in recovery - you are not dead, and not everything you do or think or say is wrong by virtue of your having an addiction. In fact, you still have the remarkable ability to make good choices and recognize the road you're on for what it is right, wrong, or indifferent, and change, stay, or correct the course as needed.
A couple of the phrases I've heard in our e-mail groups over the years are "It takes what it takes" and "I'll stand on my head in the middle of the street if it'll keep me sober", and both of those things are really the long and the short of any recovery program: They start and end with us.
As a prime example of all of the above, I'll leave you with an invitation to #MentalHealthMonday an online educational series event hosted by the fantastic SheRecovers Foundation featuring one of our own, LifeRing Board of Directors member Mary Beth O'Connor happening on Monday, September 14 at 9:00 PDT. Click here for more information.
Take it easy,