A stick figure with it’s arms raised, eyes closed in little crescents, smile tilted upward reaching to God like it’s accepting the dew.
But it hasn’t always felt like that.
I know a lot about staring at the ceiling in sterilized rooms and about all the different kinds of lockless door handles that detoxes and hospitals have to buy to keep to code and minimize liability.
They’re usually brushed steel.
If I had a favorite kind it would probably be the ones shaped like paddles, that click when you shut the door for fifteen minutes of plastic-sheeted solace before someone takes your vitals or peeks in with a clipboard. They always leave it open.
It’s been a lot. My journey finding truth. Carving paths that I can remember how to find when it gets dark and this business of getting better. But I know a lot more about the dew now than I ever have and believe I might’ve never tasted it without a long time spent chewing grit.
Recovery can do that.
The other day my sponsor said that ‘letting God take the wheel’ doesn’t mean switching seats at 70mph. The left pedal brakes. The right pedal gives it gas. Pump my ankles. Turn the wheel. God will be there the whole time. Leaned in. Holding the map. But I have to move my body.
It’s like that for me. Stepwork with my sponsor is like a game-plan huddle at a rest stop. It’s where the plans are made, the understanding formed, and the connection established. But it’s the movement that gets me somewhere.
There’s freedom in that, actually. To learn that I have agency, that there are things I can do to change how I feel and to create new realities that don’t end in suffering. It works the same way drugs and alcohol do. I go through a process of action and get a result I can feel. Except instead of an ever-deepening pile of shame, remorse, regret, and hurt, I get a bigger and bigger charge of peace, relief, stability, and growth. I think that’s pretty cool. And definitely preferable to the way I used to operate.
I’m beginning to find myself less capable of giving space to things that don’t serve me. I’m starting to refuse to allow unacceptable conditions to stay how they are. There’s honor in accepting humble circumstances and I get that. But I don’t have to accept it if there’s something I can do about it. And if there is, it’s time to move.
Left pedal, brake. Right pedal, gas. Pump my ankles. Turn the wheel.
I’m reaching upward, accepting the dew.
God’s leaned in. He’s holding the map.
It’s a good way to live and the only one I really know outside those sterilized rooms with plastic sheets and door handles you couldn’t hang a coat from.
-This story was submitted to Recovery Speakers by John S.