In recovery a lot of people will ask, ‘what was your key’ or ‘how did you stay sober’ and I never really have an answer. Well, that’s a lie, I have a ton of answers to those questions, but that’s the issue.
Explaining ALL that recovery is, to someone not in recovery looks a lot like the fire drill at school you have never step foot in before; there is a lot of confusion at first, random fits of crying and before you know it two hours have gone by and for some reason you are outside.
Although, one thing that seems to be common with my recovery tribe, is that a lot of us have either a renewed sense or a new love for nature unlike we have ever had.
Of course being in nature, fresh air and sunlight have healing qualities I’ve already touched upon, nature itself can teach you a lot about life, your relation in it, and how everything works.
1. UNIFORMITY DOES NOT BREED BEAUTY
Nothing in nature is a carbon copy of itself, no two trees, no two clouds, no two snowflakes and no one thinks less of their beauty because of it. In recovery, this speaks to so many of us who feel broken, unloved, like ‘damaged goods’, or ugly. We aren’t any of those things, easily damaged.
DON’T EVER LET SOMEONE TELL YOU THAT YOU ARE DAMAGED, OR UGLY. YOU ARE A PERSON, NOT A PRODUCT ON A SHELF
2. GROWTH IS NOT ALWAYS LINEAR
Look at the bonsai, a tree a thousand-year-old art form that proves, you don’t always have to be moving in a straight line in order to be making steady and constant progress. In recovery, this is especially difficult because we get caught up in the “I’m here and I should be there”, and we assume that A-to-B line is a direct shot. It is quite the let down when we learn this isn’t the case, but if you learn to enjoy the ride, the detours just become part of the journey.
GROWTH OF ANY KIND, IS STILL PROGRESS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION!
3. YOU WERE BORN TO ADAPT AND SURVIVE
I realize, I make a lot of desert references in my social media posts, and it has a lot to do with the fact that I grew up in Arizona. It’s a constant reminder that even in the most tough and brutal conditions, life can survive and on very rare occasion flourish. I know for me, addiction was my desert and I was barely surviving. Today, however, sobriety is my life and I am doing my best to thrive, not merely survive. I had to adapt to do so, and much like the plant and animal life in the desert, your survival and ability to thrive in your new life will depend entirely on your ability to adapt to it.
TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS!
4. CHANGE IS DIFFICULT BUT BEAUTIFUL
Change is scary to everyone and it’s almost always difficult which really makes it undesirable to almost everyone. However, one of the most beautiful things about human nature IS our ability to change. Don’t give me that “people don’t change, once a cheater always a cheater” schpeel. Guess what, change is 100% possible, even for old “dogs” attmepting new tricks. The probability of successful change is only increased by our OWN desire to change. If you don’t want to change anything, and you earnestly do, it will be aparent in your concious effort (or lack thereof) to do so, and even if you slip up a few times (as known to do with most habits, even as small as nail-biting) you are still making an effort. There is something really beautiful about someone who, with the whole deck stacked against them, shows up every day and TRIES, and in my eyes that makes us all more of a victor for doing that every day in recovery.
MAYBE PEOPLE DON’T CHANGE, MAYBE THEY GROW!
5. STRONG WINDS MAKE STRONG ROOTS
There are a million cliche ways to say it, but nature proves time and time again that the elements swirling around us can either make or break us. I like to think of it like boiling water. The exact same temperature water that hardens and egg can soften a potato. It’s not always about whats going on around us, but the storm raging inside of us. The true exploration in recovery is knowing when you are close to those breaking points, and learing to be comfortable in that vulnerability; enough to not snap.
THE STORM IS ALWAYS DARKEST BEFORE IT BREAKS!
Sometimes, in recovery we try to wait for signs from the universe to do this, or signals from a higher power to do or act on that, but so often we over look all the messages all around us. Something as simple the wind blowing through the trees can be enough to tell us that winds of change are on the horizen. Nature isn’t just beautiful, it’s soothing; nature heals.