When making the decision to enter a treatment program, people have definite ideas about the results they want from sobriety. For many the dream of recovery includes the idea of being able to make it up to their families for all the hurt they have caused. They want to be able to follow through with promises they have made. They dream of being trusted by family and friends and never having their sobriety questioned. The desire for a happy life, full of peace and serenity is strong in early recovery. The hope is that sobriety will come easily and cravings will seldom or never occur. Others dream of more concrete things: being able to sleep through the night without any chemicals or to walk in high heels without falling. These are all wonderful dreams and have the possibility of occurring in sobriety. The stumbling block for some is that all these things take time. Time takes time. The Promises made in the Big Book talk about being “painstaking about this phase of our development.” This denotes a high level of commitment to all that we do in early recovery. Yes, our lives revolve around recovery because anything that we put in front of our recovery we will lose.
Patience is a true virtue needed in the recovery process. We must pay some dues before we get to the Promises. Cravings will happen and when we utilize the tools we have learned in treatment and in 12 step programs our recovery is strengthened. By it not being easy, it becomes important and meaningful and we develop a sense of self-respect that using had taken away. Our loved ones may question us in their looks as well as their words. The trust that we desire will come, but not all at once. It was not lost all at once and it will come back piece by piece as it is earned and reinforced. Our spiritual life develops as we seek it. It is the seeking, the journey, that brings the sense of wonder and peacefulness.
It is always amazing to me to see the transformations that occur in people in the short span of the treatment experience. In a matter of weeks we see hopeless turn into motivation, physical frailty turn into strength and endurance and ego-centeredness into a sense of community and belonging. If such transformations can occur in such a short time we know that the Promises can be achieved.