As I approach fifteen years of continuous sobriety from alcohol (still, always, one day at a time and glory to God) I find myself in a pensive mood…going through old writings from earlier recovery and taking a deeper look into the challenges and triumphs of a life where my drug of choice doesn’t call the shots.
This is a journal entry from my 22nd month of sobriety.
Although YouTube didn’t exist at the time (or if it did, I surely didn’t know it) I’ve added some adorable videos to illustrate each point.
Just for fun (because recovery IS fun!)
I pray it blesses you today. As always, feel free to share the link.
God bless us, every one.
I just love elephants.
Before the first elephant had been brought into America, legend says that the gentleman importing it tried to describe the animal to his community. If you’ve never seen an elephant, it would be hard to picture one in your head from someone else’s description.
People simply could not comprehend that such a thing existed before they saw it themselves. I just couldn’t imagine a recovery life existed.
I have 22 months of sobriety today – exactly as long as it takes a mother elephant to gestate and deliver a brand new elephant into the world.
Yes, recovery is like a baby elephant.
It needs it’s unit to survive, others of its tribe. It has a tendency to wander, but must not separate from the herd for it’s own safety.
There are threats to its very life, but staying with it’s tribe helps ensure it will grow up healthy and strong.
It requires nursing and attention. Not giving it adequate care increases the chances that it will follow in its brethern’s deep footsteps… the “Elephant in the Living Room” that I walked around and pretended wasn’t there in active disease. That elephant’s name is Denial. It left piles of shit for me to clean up or step over.
It tried to trample my dreams of writing. Of hoping. Of living.
It comes into the world larger-than-life, and keeps growing: Recovery must take up a lot of space in my life, that’s just the nature of countering the disease. Go big or go home.
Before you know it you’ll have the brawn and tusks and wisdom to live life on life’s terms.
It is a little clumsy and awkward at times: Who cares? We all stumble! It’s all part of learning.
The more you stand back up, the more balance you invite, and the steadier you get on your feet.
It’s playful: The thing I didn’t expect about sobriety is that it is FUN. It likes to be silly and whimsical. Alcohol deadened my playfulness, and stifled my big personality. Recovery meetings are sometimes somber affairs, but they shouldn’t be only somber.
Being clean and sober is a special opportunity to channel your inner youngster – the one you tried so hard to numb.
It is sensitive and tender: Elephants are one of the only animals that cry actual tears. From my expertise (which consists completely of watching a lot of nature documentaries) the mighty beasts are very sentimental.
They are very emotional, especially when SET FREE from a lifetime of bondage!
It is also STRONG and able: A healthy one can come up against almost any obstacle and display appropriate assertiveness to protect it.
Yep. Recovery is a lot like a baby elephant.
Before we experienced recovery, people tried to describe it to us. But if you’ve never endeavored on the road yourself, it might be hard to picture it from someone else’s description.
Can you comprehend that such a thing exists?
Oh, and your new recovery is also full of surprises …