• pambirtolo

Widen Our Lane

We humans are a funny lot. We love talking about change from a historical perspective, but we sure hate living it. Lately, I’ve been thinking about recovery and Covid and change, oh my. I realized that, as recovery people, we know change better than most.

Maya Angelou said, “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” Those changes, many of them painful and discomforting, we know well. We wouldn’t be in recovery or remission without having become colleagues with change.

Doesn’t it stand to reason then that, as recovery champions, we have a moral obligation to help others evolve through change?

Just as there is no going back for those of us who know recovery, there’s no going back to pre-Covid life for this globe. The journey to where we are going is in embracing the metamorphosis.

I hear people say, “When this virus is over, we will start doing [fill in the blank] again,” or they say, “The reason we aren’t getting [fill in the blank] done is because of Corona.” My favorite is, “Covid is the reason attendance is so low at [fill in the blank].” Every time I hear a variation of those statements, I’m reminded that we made those same statements to ourselves on our way to recovery. We are, after all, some of the most talented excuse-makers on the planet.

When people speak as though they will eventually go back to a life that looks like life in 2019…a life without virtual meetings or a life without physical distancing or a life without masking or a life without online schooling, an opportunity to share our voices opens up for those of us who live recovery.

I know that, by now, you are thinking that your focus is on recovery and you are plenty busy with that. You are busy being a recovery movement leader or a peer specialist or a sponsor or just getting through a day in recovery, so why would you even want to think about taking a lead in helping people through the changes of 2020? Why would any of us want to put ourselves any farther out there than we already have? After all, Machiavelli said, “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” …and we all know that is true.

Why, indeed? The answer is simple. We who are in recovery are change experts. We get it. Most of us can remember being recovery-resistant. Somewhere along the journey we realized that our recovery-resistant view of the world was just a Nick at Nite rerun fantasy. It was time to stop longing for the days of black and white TV and start living in HD…not much different than what’s happening on our planet today.

The pandemic has changed our world. It will continue to be the catalyst for changes we’ve yet to imagine, but we have, within each of us, leadership we’ve yet to imagine.

Time to text a friend, zoom a stranger and DM a colleague to virtually head out and lead this worldwide change through our recovery lens.

The day has come to widen our lane. We can do more!

When you're finished changing, you're finished. -Benjamin Franklin

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