In retrospect, some of the things I learned in early recovery still make good sense to me today – particularly, a few of the common clichés that were often said by the old timers (aka dinosaurs). The dinosaurs of the fellowship are those with 20+ years of recovery, who occupied the rooms and freely shared their experience, strength and hope with those of us who had none.

Here are three of my favorite clichés broken down with a bit of my own dinosaur experience and wisdom added:

“Over time, not overnight”

Anything and everything worthwhile in life takes great patience, commitment, and sacrifice. The amount of prosperity and success we derive, as a direct result of our efforts, is reflected by the amount of time and effort we invest in ourselves one day at a time. By practicing patience in all of our affairs, we allow a power greater than ourselves, whom I choose to call God, to work in our lives. Consequently, the gift of recovery we receive from a loving God is nothing short of a miracle.

“I came…I came to…I came to believe…”

Many of us came to the fellowship with a nudge from the judge and a court card. But even though we clearly understood we were spiritually, financially and morally bankrupt we struggled with surrender. Without surrender, we couldn’t admit total and complete defeat and couldn’t move forward.

As we showed up time after time and day after day, we began to gain a sliver of hope. We realized there had to be “something” greater than ourselves that could restore us to the sanity, we so earnestly sought. We began having moments of clarity, or “God shots” as I like to call them, and then a new sense of purpose in our daily lives was revealed. The light began to shine in our hearts, and at that moment we realized if we kept coming back; maybe, just maybe, something amazing lay ahead for us. Why else would we have survived our addiction?

For those of us who have stuck around long enough, we have come to realize that our addiction was all part of God’s divine plan for us and are forever grateful.

“Just for Today.”

Typically, those in early recovery become easily focused on living in the past or just plain future surfing. The end result is that we miss the beauty and gifts life has to offer us today. We miss the miracles taking place all around us – we miss God’s love for his children when we don’t stay in the moment. But if we can focus on today and remain in that moment, we increase our chances tenfold of having a better tomorrow. An excerpt from a well known “Giveth our Daily Bread” prayer says it best: “All we have is this day, to make it what it is, to appreciate it for 24 hours. Not to be hung up on yesterday’s drama or tomorrow’s expectations.”
What are some of your favorite recovery clichés?

by Sandee Richardson