I’m sitting in the pick-up line at my son’s elementary school four years ago. I arrived really early so I had some time to do some sponsor suggested reading. I had gotten through a couple chapters when a light came on in my head. The realization was as clear and as startling as if someone covered my head with a big bell and rang it, cartoon style. I immediately called my mom and brother, and proclaimed, “We’re codependent!”
Still early in my recovery from alcoholism at that point, I obviously didn’t take any time to process this insight, nor did I resist taking my family’s inventory–two no-no’s in my recovery program. My first responses to the realization were not perfect, and may be laughable now, but my acceptance of this relationship debilitating aspect of my personality was definitely progress and it began to change my life for the better. Far better.
I spent my first holiday in recovery in rehab. The structure of living in a recovery facility made it simple to stay sober. (Notice, I didn’t say “easy.”) I was surrounded by people in recovery. I went to meetings 2-3 times a day. I was fed at regular times. I had a bedtime and a time to get up for breakfast. I did things I was told to, such as call people for support and help clean up after dinner. All of it simple. I rarely had to think about what to do next. The next right thing was always just the next thing on the schedule.
What about now? There is so much to do and so much craziness to navigate in the real world. How do we know what the next right thing is?