To take the road of recovery, is to take the Hero’s Journey. We all know this script very well. It is the script of most every motion picture. Creators like George Lucas of Star Wars, develop their scripts from the ancient theme, wherein each man has the opportunity to follow a quest in his or her life, bringing them first to mental death, and then into their transcendent spiritual awakening. In my own recovery, I have taken this Hero’s Journey. Where are you in regards to this journey?
Let’s take the diagram of the journey and see how it relates to recovery:
1. Ordinary World – This is the place that you are originally born into, without vision or destiny. It’s the place that takes the toll on the addict or alcoholic, which feels monotonous and callous. It is here where we decide that our life has become unmanageable, and that we are powerless over our drug of choice. Step 1, “We admitted that we are powerless over alcohol or drugs, and that our lives had become unmanageable.”
2. Call to Adventure – Step 2, “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” Step 3, “Made a decision to turn our lives over to the care of God as we understood him…” Sound familiar?
3. Refusal of the Call – How many of us resist recovery in the beginning? Giving up our drug of choice is a terrific battle. For some of us (me), it takes several years to relinquish the bottle.
4. Meeting of the Mentor – Plain and simple: Sponsorship, or for some of us, a treatment counselor.
5. Crossing the Threshold – This is where we usually find ourselves breaking down emotionally. The fog has finally lifted and we begin realizing that we need to change our behaviors. At this point, we are humbled and we begin to fully surrender.
6. Tests, Allies, Enemies – Cravings, Fear and our addict self who wants no part of sobriety.
7. Approach – Remember when Luke Skywalker entered the dark cave and faced his father, who turned out to be himself? This is where we realize that our enemy is nothing outside of ourselves. We are our own worst enemy. This is where you face your addict self with a vengeance.
8. Ordeal, Death, Rebirth – At this crossroad, we are overcoming emotional traumas, pain, fears, and where we really begin waking up. Step 4, “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” Step 5, “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs.” Step 6, “Were entirely ready to have God remove these defects of character.” Step 7, “Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.”
9. Reward, Seizing the Sword – Step 8, “Made a list of all the persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.” Step 9, “Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” Step 10, “Continued taking personal inventory of ourselves, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.” In these steps, we are facing the wreckage, but we are stronger now, and we carry the sword of courage.
10. The Road Back – Step 11, “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying for the knowledge of his will for us, and the power to carry that out.” This is when we leave our self-will behind and begin fully loving and accepting the person we left behind in our addiction.
11. Resurrection – We feel and experience incredible power in our lives. There is a freshness to the world. We have shed old skin and are on top of the world.
12. Return with Elixir – Step 12, “Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry the message to alcoholics/addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.”
You see, in sobriety we are like the Phoenix rising through the ashes. It is through the 12 steps of recovery that we take The Hero’s incredible Journey!