Growth in Recovery

When I first got clean, I heard a lot of jokes about “growth in recovery”, usually from people that gained weight when they quit doing drugs. The longer I’m in recovery, the more my understanding of growth has changed.

When I found my way to the rooms of 12 step fellowships, I was not a nice person. I was demanding, I was lazy, I thought the world owed me everything…. Not nice at all.

As I worked steps, I started to learn to be more responsible for myself. I started learning that I actually had to put forth some effort, and not just for self-centered pursuits. I had to put forth efforts that benefited other human beings. I had to work at life.


Obviously, I wasn’t happy about it at first. However, it eventually became a way of life for me. And I started really disliking the person I used to be; I couldn’t believe I had been such a self-centered, selfish, demanding, sorry excuse for a human being.

As I’ve started transitioning to a simpler way of life, all of that has become even more true. There is no sitting on my ass and demanding that others do all the work. There is no complaining that shit isn’t going the way I think it should go. I am not the center of the universe, and I am not god.

I don’t get to demand that Sunshine cater to my every whim. I don’t get to demand that others sacrifice so that I may get what I want. I don’t get to sit on my ass, or keep the roads hot; and I damn sure don’t get to do all that laziness and still enjoy the benefits of other peoples’ labors.

There are no trophies for just showing up. I am not a special snowflake. If I don’t participate in the efforts to build a community for all who actually want to be part of a community, then I do not get to call myself a member of that community. If I were to spend all of my time away from here, I wouldn’t get to say that I am living intentionally. I wouldn’t get to say that I live sustainably.

I am glad I have opted out of the rat race, that I quit bowing to societal pressures to have the right car and the right job and the right cup of fair trade Ethiopian coffee and the right strine green striped couch. I am glad my life is moving in a simpler direction. I am glad that, just for today, I am doing my best to be the change that I wish to see in the world instead of telling everybody else how to change their worlds to accommodate my idea of what my world should be.


final note: ultimately, it’s nice to not have to be responsible for telling everybody what to do.  It’s nice to know that I am not a special snowflake and that I am not god. Honestly, it’s a relief. Thinking I was the god at the center of the universe was absolutely fucking exhausting.


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