By Ruth Riddick
IMAGINE: This morning you noticed that the sun is shining. It’s cold, sure, but the snow-covered landscape is hushed and lovely. Truly, why would anyone want to live anywhere but Maine? Your roommate has made coffee. You’ll be leaving for a community meeting in an hour. There’s plenty to discuss, and you’re looking forward to getting new insight. You’re behind in the rent, yes, but starting a part-time job on Monday, so you’ll make good from that first paycheck. (Actually, you’ve already set up an automatic payment from your new bank account.) Your best friend will visit later and you’ll enjoy lunch with her. Perhaps a movie afterwards, either at the cinema or from the library. You have a sense (not just on your T-shirt) that Life is Good.
It gets better.
IMAGINE: The life of yours defined by the bar or the street is firmly in the past. You’re in management training at that place where you took your first sober job. You find you have an aptitude for this work – who knew? There are some ideas you’d like to bring to leadership.
You’re glad to have a stake, to be engaged in this team effort, to be thinking about new value to company and customers.
It gets better.
IMAGINE: Years are passing. You recognize that you’re no longer alone in the world. You have genuine friendships with people who love you back. When you screw up, you know how to make it right. (Doesn’t always work, but you give it your best shot!) You no longer feel you have to lie to get what you need. You’re doing work that matters to you and is valuable to others, and you pay today’s bills today. Perhaps you’ve even learned to drive, got yourself a mortgage.
You recognize that you're no longer alone in the world. You have genuine friendships with people who love you back.
You’re building your recovery capital. But tragedy strikes. Your best friend – that lifelong “for-better-and-for-worse” friend – dies. Too young, but she suffered terribly. It’s the greatest loss. What now? You turn to gratitude, gratitude for her sorely tested loyalty, and gratitude for your time together (even for the time wasted bitching about boys!). You turn to your community, sharing your grief. For all the awful pain that continues to ambush (but not kill) you, you come to accept your powerlessness over this bereavement. It’s part of your authentic life in all its richness and variety.
Your beautiful adventure.
Welcome to recovery across a lifetime.