When we reach adulthood, most of us feel a profound sense of pride and autonomy. We relish in the idea that we’re now responsible for ourselves and answerable to nobody, so long as we’re operating within the law. While, as new adults, very few of us can conceive of the possible challenges and struggles that lie ahead. We’re filled with unbridled optimism at the thought of being our own people. We envision a future in which we have all the best things and make all the right decisions, and although it doesn’t always work out exactly how we want it, we know that its our responsibility to fix what went wrong in our lives to the best of our abilities, and this sense of obligation comes with a certain pride of self-ownership.
The same can be said for recovery. A process that is very much like becoming an adult all over again, recovery takes from an impulsive, child-like state to a more emotionally centered and mature frame of mind. It takes us from needing that next dose or drink, and going after it regardless of the cost, to consider the consequences of relapse and what it cost us if we engage in this fleeting self-satisfaction. Recovery provides the discipline and self-awareness we need to make our own decisions and take control of our lives. This gives us emotional strength, independence and confidence.
Unlike new adulthood, however, recovery gives us the opportunity to know the potential pitfalls that lie ahead and prepare for them so we can practice avoidance. We can look at our recovery journey in one of two ways: obligation or opportunity. If we treat our recovery journey like a burden, we will almost certainly collapse under its weight. If we treat it like the second chance we’ve been given, we will nurture it and have a much better chance of continued success. While there can be a great deal of apprehension and uncertainty in the fact that we and we alone are responsible for our continued success in both life and recovery, there can also be great deal of freedom and liberation in our independence.
Recovery gives us an opportunity to grow up all over again, only this time with the wisdom and life experience we never had in our youth. We are accountable first and foremost to ourselves and have a responsibility to ourselves and the world around us to maintain our success. This is a beautiful and empowering feeling that we can leverage on our paths.