I wandered The Sanctuary the other day, feeling a little lost, sad. Since June I have been in recovery from an addiction to alcohol, and in a twelve-step program for the first time in thirty years. My entire life I have become used to turning my life over to God and the Universe, successfully, but that relationship alone became not enough. Now I need the support of my earth family, and all of my close friends and family drink habitually. I love them, yet they can’t assist me in this endeavor in the way that I need. I live in a college town with a professional football team known for parties that by tradition demand large quantities of alcohol to accompany game day. Our city has a reputation for acting out destructively when drinking, and citizens feed into that. Synchronistically, I found the solution in another state this summer, when Independence Day took on an entirely new meaning for me. I encountered the people, mindset and strategies I needed to stay clean, which jump started me to a sober life back at home. Since returning it has been a period of metamorphosis, and that out-of-sorts walk I needed was akin to my caterpillar self waiting to become the butterfly. It’s a process well worth the temporary discomfort, and my necessary and devoted participation in the solution.
My friend Abraham Bridges understands the power of the twelve steps, and he wisely describes his double duty recovery this way:
"Schizophrenia is both clinical and metaphysical; the problem, and the reason that recovery rates are very low, is that psychiatry addresses the clinical only with chemistry while ignoring the metaphysical.
To recalibrate something as simple as a spark plug, a mechanic needs a gauge. The human brain/mind is a multidimensional, hormone pulsated, electrochemical enigma. It is absurd for medicine to even think of adjusting it with a purely chemical solution. Psychiatry thinks in terms of brain/disease. In recovery we must learn to think in terms of patient/mind. The problem is much more profound than the brain/disease mentality can address.
To recalibrate to what now becomes the dilemma. The higher Power is the only solution. To grow in the image and likeness of our own Creator is the objective. We are microcosm; God is macrocosm.
The metaphysical recalibration of the mind is not within the range of medicine; however, it is not beyond the limits of the proven methods of the 12-step movement. This article suggests nothing beyond the changing of focus and responsibility of both the doctor and the patient, or in a more ideal environment the treatment team. The key to recovery is that the patient assumes full responsibility for their own recovery; again, nothing beyond anything that the 12-step movement has not already proven to be effective.
When asked; “what are you doing to participate in your own recovery,” most mental health patients normally have no answer, simply because they have not been taught how to participate in the recovery process. Once again, the 12-step movement has proven that recovery is a process. This article is not leading away from psychiatric care; it only suggests the addition of the recovery process and the patient's responsibility for their own care.
Chemistry, Energy and Information are the components of mental functioning. With psychiatry addressing only chemistry, we need no less than a whole new paradigm."
The power of a holistic approach to a better life with multiple participants taking responsibility and working together toward a solution should never be underestimated.
I am appreciating all of the support I am receiving in this new lifestyle. It’s definitely different than I had imagined,
From the Sanctuary:
The late summer sunsets are happening earlier. We had an energetic night recently filled with thunderstorms, but now a flicker is a few feet away from me gently pecking its feast out of the grass. They are such beautiful birds. My highlighted visitors this week were of the insect variety. A mantis found its way into my inside screen and a walking stick kept me company for awhile at lunch. I really enjoyed his presence, since I hadn’t seen one in decades. I watched him slowly move, and I swear the Universe sent him to remind me that living with MS is okay. There’s nothing wrong with slowly and deliberately moving one leg at a time to walk. As long as you don’t give up and keep moving forward, you will eventually reach your destination, and an added bonus is that you will enjoy much more on the way than those who are rushing. They will miss the show.
Take your time, and savor.