I recently participated in the Recovery Day walk and rally here in Atlanta. It was coordinated by my good friend "Liz" Thompson, director of Making A Way Housing, and many volunteers from the different service organizations and the Atlanta community.The planning seemed to go on for months (because it did), but the result was deemed a rousing success by all who were involved.
I had a great time interacting with the over 1100 people who came out to show their support and gratitude for the fact that there has been a transformation of behavior for themselves or a loved one who has acknowledged the devastating effect that a particular addiction has had on their life. You see, recovery from the insidious, cunning and baffling addictive behaviors that have destroyed so many lives, is not something to be taken for granted. In fact, it is still a miracle that many thought they would never experience in this lifetime.Addictions are not something that we grow up aspiring to get caught in the grips of. They sneak up on us veiled in the cloak of pleasure and escapism. Let's face it...there is plenty to wwant to escape from in this world that we live in. I grew up in the 60's & 70's in the southside of Jamaica Queens NY, during the time when our heroes were being assasinated both by character and literally. There were race riots, wars, poverty, disease and despair...even in the "land of the free and the home of the brave". That is not to mention the stunning availability of illegal drugs. Of course, those things really have not changed that much in my lifetime, and they seem to be a staple of life on this planet. It takes some doing to navigate our emotions and state of mind if our intent is to have "peace on earth".I think that is ALL we ever really want - peace on earth that is. Everything we do is in an attempt to find or create it. We desperately chase after whatever person, place or thing that we think will make us feel better. The longer we can have the experience of joy or serenity, even if it is artificial and temporary, the "happier" we seem to be. That was my story, and as I have heard over the past 25 years of my recovery, it is a common theme for those who have found the utter futility of that path and have chosen (or resigned themselves) to a new life direction. That direction is an inward journey that is often taken after paying the high cost of low living. Pain and suffering seem to be the most common motivation for those who have discovered that joy is a by-product of spiritual enlightenment. Even though sex, drugs, and immediate gratification felt good for a while, my inability to sustain that state of being became much more painful than the pleasure that I derived from trying. The things that I would do in order to try to sustain that feeling caused me more and more shame, guilt, remorse and degradation. Instead of evolving as a human having a spiritual experience, I seemed to be caught in a "living hell" where I could no longer control my actions in spite of my best thinking, and I considered myself a pretty intelligent fellow!That seems to have been the plight of many (or all) of those who attended the Recovery Day event. Moreover, I have heard people share variations on the same story all over the world! We are the blessed ones, those of us who have survived the battlefield of life long enough to experience the miracle of recovery. Many of us were ready to die. Many of us were left for dead, or would have rather died than to continue living the way that we were. Now, not only have we found a way to relieve the suffering of ourselves and others by changing the patterns of our ineffective behaviors, we have become productive members of society and are developing relationships with ourselves and a "higher power". The vibrations felt when so many "miracles" gather in one place seems to have an even deeper cleansing effect. Our spirits are raised, giving us the energy needed to offset the opposite polar attraction that is pervasive on this plane as well. Recovery, in my humble estimation, is actually the process of recovering a right relationship with our Creator. It is a well defined process that has been successfully navigated, and regularly replicated by people all over the world. It has been effective in laying the groundwork for the re-patterning of addictive behaviors of all kinds. For me, it has inspired a discipline and insight into myself and others that now makes it possible for me to achieve my soul's true purpose.Paradoxically, surrender is the first step in "winning" the WAR we are engaged in with the many addictions with which we presently battle. Human nature seems to thrive on our desire to escape the reality of living on this plane. Our souls know that this is not our true home, and its constant attraction is to be back at home with the Father. Our minds and emotions are the anchors that tether us to the lower vibrations that dull our senses and make it harder for us to attach to the sound of the celestial music within. That is the sound and light that provide the transportation for our soul to make the journey home, and "soul" intuitively remembers that, even after the eons of ages it has been trapped on this plane by mind and illusion. This is our opportunity, though, to make the great escape, and to experience that heaven within.It begins with recovery. After we acknowledge our lack of power, we are then empowered. When we do the introspection and look at our deeds and shortcomings, we are able to forgive ourselves and others. By practicing prayer and meditation, we are able to experience the light and sound, and more clearly see the synchronicity of life. We begin to have some inkling of "God's will for us" and pray for the power to carry that out. It is in that spirit that I/we share our strength, hope and experience with each other. It is our attempt to follow the process of recovery in the hopes of recreating our original relationship with the source of all power - beyond mind and illusion - and to manifest spiritual wellness within. Recovery is much, much more than getting off of drugs, alcohol, or some other substance or behavior. Recovery is our hope for salvation. Everybody is recovering from something...or should be. How about you?Please join us as we celebrate the 25th anniversary of recovery with Dionne S., on Monday, September 27th @7PM - at the Making A Way Housing complex (The Compound)