Thank heavens for Rose. If it weren’t for her, my blog would be nonexistent. I just have not felt like writing in quite some time (which is super sad and probably means there is internal stuff I need to work on). Rose’s post speaks to me so much right now – I feel like the same stuff pops up in recovery and life. Maybe it’s time to listen?
By Rose Lockinger
I was told an analogy when I was first getting sober that made sense at the time but only in a theoretical sort of way. Someone told me that our character defects are like a Whack-a-Mole game. When you hit one down another will pop up. This person went on to say that we go around whacking them down only to have old ones that we thought we had already dealt with pop back up again, and this goes on for the rest of our lives or until we have thoroughly learned the lesson that we need to learn.
I remember thinking at the time, ‘yea that sounds about right’, but I didn’t really understand exactly what this meant. I didn’t realize that it meant that I would be continuously faced with half-Déjà vu moments, where after dealing with some issue or concern of mine, I’d realize, I’ve been here before, but just from a different angle.
That is one of the things that I’ve come to realize during the course of my sobriety; that recovery, like life, is a circle of lessons that come back around to teach you again and again. It also is a venture down the road of progress not perfection early on in sobriety this was a mind boggling concept. It can still be challenging at times as I try to grasp control of things I cannot control.
At first, I remember this was kind of daunting and I’d get a little upset because each time a lesson came back around, it’d remind me that I still had a lot further to go in my spiritual quest for wholeness. I’d get annoyed because I’d think, ‘didn’t I already learn this lesson’ and I’d also get down on myself for not being further along, whatever that means. But as time progressed I realized that this was the wrong way of looking at the circle of lessons that recovery brings and that I should be grateful that I even have the opportunity to learn and grow today.
I just want to say flat out that this is my opinion and I am in no way, shape or form a guru of anything, but I believe that the lessons of recovery come in circular waves for two reasons: to remind us of lessons we are beginning to forget and to show us more of the picture that we couldn’t see the first time around.
My ego has a tendency to rebuild itself and when it does, I can begin to unlearn some of the hard-won truths from the past. For instance, I learned fairly early on that humility and honesty were essential for my recovery. This lesson was hammered into me and given the state I was in when I first came in, being humble and honest weren’t really that difficult. I felt empty on the inside and felt as if I had nothing to offer in the way of staying sober, so I was open to learning and open to listening.
As time went on and I started to feel better there were times when I started to feel like I got this, or I’d start to think that I had done most of this on my own. When this started to happen I would notice that certain aspects of my life began getting out of whack. I would say something that I immediately regretted or I just wouldn’t feel the calm that I had when I was being honest and humble, and so as life has a propensity of doing, it showed me how I’d gotten off the path and gave me a nice little reminder to get back on the path.
It is interesting because when you start to live a spiritually based life, depending on God for guidance, you can be both aware and unaware that you are moving away from him. There is always a little nagging feeling that you might be moving in the wrong direction and if you’re lucky and open to life showing you the way, then this nagging voice will eventually become overwhelming and you know that you have to change course. Since I am human and prone to error, this will continue for the rest of my life, and the circle of lessons will continue to come back around whenever I start to lose my way.
However, life lessons don’t always come back around in order to remind us of something that we forgot. They sometimes come back around in order to show us a deeper meaning or give us a better understanding.
Most people that I meet seem to struggle in one particular area of their life, more so than in others. I would say that a good portion of the people that I have met in recovery struggle with relationships in one form or another and to watch them over the years repeat the same mistakes over and over again seems like madness, but it isn’t really. If you take the time to talk to them, you’ll realize that they learn something new from each of these repeated situations, something that they couldn’t have learned the first time.
I remember I once heard a woman say in a meeting, ‘If I knew everything that I know about myself now when I first got sober, I think my brain would have exploded.’ I remember that I laughed when she said this because it is so true. God and life will not give us more then we can handle and so we experience a repetition of lessons in order to understand more and see further inside of ourselves.
Today when I realize that I am experiencing a lesson that I may have already learned, I try my best to just go with it. I try not to resist or think ‘poor me, why is this happening again.’ I am not always capable of doing this, but I find that when I allow life to unfold in the way that it is meant to and I stay open to whatever lessons I am being shown, I tend to be happier and I tend to be able to move on quicker.
Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.