Sometimes you can see what you are doing. The practices one develops in recovery allow themselves to be understood on another level, so the actions become recognizable. That allows for a conscious thought application which helps you to help educate your subconscious thinking. So when the time comes for more changes, when changes and experiences have allowed growth, and things become apparent, I’m able to enact change. Those conscious thought applications involve something I call moving, and changing the signs.
I arrived at the steps of recovery spiritually bankrupt, morally shorthanded, and emotionally infantile. You would think that I was impoverished, but I wasn’t, I had some riches to go with those emphatically empty spaces of introspect. Over the years, between the blackouts and the troubles of active addiction a lot of things were given to me. Those things included ridicule, self-loathing, hangovers of all kinds, and a good amount of signs. Those signs were given to me by a multitude of people, actions, thoughts, and even my higher power itself. Of course I was in active addiction, I ignored the signs, I kept tripping over them on my way to the bathroom to vomit in the middle of the night. They piled up enough in the clutter that they were noticeable, but damned if they made any sense the way they were kept.
In going through the steps, and in taking on the willingness to change, those signs were cleaned up and placed nicely into one of the mental rooms that become available once the house cleaning begins. In early recovery I recognized some of the things being said with some of the signs sitting around and put them to use again. What has happened since involves a process of moving the signs around, recycling the old clutter, placing them and re-placing them as I travel down the happy road of destiny. At first the stop signs were placed around the most obvious of dangers. But as the years go by, the signs have changed to warnings, to supportive, to remembrances. They have moved over a million miles of thought, and have helped me out along the way. They need their tending though and a reverence for what they have done so far in the recovery process as a whole.
The road everyone takes in their recovery is wholly different from the road that is taken by the next person, the next willingness practitioner. There are similarities and this one seems to find somewhat universal approval as well. The signposts move, the signs sometime change, but the less than productive side trips lessen. I being aware of my mental states, my emotional triggers, my addictive responses, the stop signs that I would still ignore, even in recovery were hard to see in the beginning. Over the years though some become very clear; The anger and ways to it that are nullified or resolved almost as fast as it comes, the selfish reasonings, the crunchiness of desires. The signs we put up at first are right on the edges of those places of thought, right next to the addictions, those destinies of disaster. After doing the work that is involved those signposts moved on their own though. That was the first time I recognized this benefit of practicing. The places I just didn’t go to started to increase, and not only that, the need to explore the trails were taken away by the signs I so diligently placed, many without my direct knowledge. That was the promises in action, there was my so called intellectual proof.
Over the years though I have been able to place a lot of signs in my everyday life. A lot more places of gratitude visited, a lot fewer places of dread and despair. I am human, I wonder if I even have a program at times in seeing what others are doing. I still have my trips to those places, and sometimes I ignore the time limit signs I put up there myself. Sometimes I need the hot burning reminder that the sign was rightly placed because that misery was such a deformed comfort it is hard to fully shed. Sometimes I ruminate and ponder what the freshly cleaned off sign is going to say next? Or if it just needs some punctuation, a level adjustment, a right sizing? These are the practices that come with the deal, the way to better thinking, the manner in which I find out what I am going to believe in next year, next month, tomorrow?
The posts on this happy road of destiny move all the time, they slide back and forth with every moment of work we are willing to put in. It is not the hardest of practices, but it does take consistent efforts to make sure that you read them along the way. They were put there for guidance, for wisdom, and for a belief that hopelessness is something we never have to visit again. It is within those signs that the journey is laid out, it is plotted, and it is given grace. When experience tells me that strength and hope can best be heard from others, that their signposts pointed me to my road of destiny, I was more than blessed to be able to apply those changing signs.