Early yesterday evening, our family went out to the store together. Before exiting the car, I adjusted the car’s settings using a knob located in the center console of the car. It is practically a reflex to do so, because it allows the car to maintain its internal temperature while the car sits idle. So, it would be nice and toasty still when our mission at the store was complete.
A winter storm was just beginning to spit sleet from the skies above. We had been inside the store for a little over thirty minutes by the time we returned to the car. Ice and sleet were covering everything outside; but the car’s windows were free of any ice. The warmth of the car’s interior had prevented it from accumulating.
Before I began to drive, my wife Amanda asked me if I would like her to activate the traction control on her car. “Yes please!” She quickly made adjustments to the car’s settings by rotating that same knob in the center console, and before I knew it, a light appeared on the dashboard telling me that traction control was now activated.
It was almost as though the car had a mind of its own as I drove. A couple of times, the car made adjustments on the icy road before I had any chance to react to the effects of the ice. Though I might otherwise have lost control because of icy patches on the road, that traction control was not going to allow it to happen.
That little knob in the center console of Amanda’s car controls a lot of different features. I am very much a novice at using it. Setting the climate controls is about the limit of my skills. Amanda, though, can quickly scroll through a host of different settings; making adjustments to a variety of options.
Same knob, different users.
Recovery through the Twelve Steps offers a single promise: Freedom from active addiction. It’s very simple, and straightforward. It is like setting the climate control on Amanda’s car. Even I can do it!
However, there are other features available to the recovering addict. There is a “New way of life” described in the message of recovery. Also, Step Twelve indicates that by the time we have reached that step, we will have experienced a spiritual awakening. Sanity is also offered to the recovering addict. It is a welcomed relief after experiencing the insanity of active addiction.
The fact is, recovery offers more options for my life than that little knob in Amanda’s car ever could. The question is not whether or not recovery can bring these adjustments to my life. Rather, it is a question of how many areas of my life I am willing to entrust to it. Then, that trust must be put into action as I go about the work unlocks those features.
In the same way that I am satisfied with simply knowing how to adjust the climate control in Amanda’s car, there are those who are satisfied with simply staying clean.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that for me, just staying clean would not be enough. Scrolling through the available features of recovery, I find myself wanting them all. Spiritual awakening – check. New way to live – check. Sanity – definitely check!
For a time, these things had all occurred as a result of working the Twelve Steps with my sponsor; but I got lazy and proud. For well over two years, I thought I had done enough work for those features of recovery to be sustained. Eventually, though, I realized that all I was doing was staying clean. Even scarier, I realized that the path I was on would not keep me clean forever.
That is when I finally put my laziness and pride aside; and began working the steps once again. I put action behind my trust, and I began to see results again.
Today, I trust recovery for so much more than simply staying clean. I trust it to continue revealing features that will benefit my life, and the lives of those around me.
Have a remarkable day!