Uncovering Recovering by Lori Nelson

step 12 magazine recovering

It’s often said recovering is an illusion. Of course it is. You paint a wall—that doesn’t remove what’s underneath. Cover your couch with a new fabric—usually over the old, unwanted, outdated, former fabric. Even a book jacket is simply that; a covering.

And so it is with recovery. Recovering from anything is forever. It doesn’t negate what happened; who you lost, what you did, what you still would do if you didn’t make a different decision, how you heal. Recovering means covering over and over and over again.

In a way, recovering is a returning. Remembering what happened and remembering why we don’t want to do it that way anymore. It’s a wound. We dress it, nurse it, treat it tenderly so it doesn’t hurt anymore. But it’s right there, always, underneath whatever we do to put it into a different perspective.

People are proud of their recovering. They share. They care. They dare. And that’s all good. But all the while, they know what’s underneath. They know that they took the steps to recover whatever needed to be recovered and that they will have to keep taking those steps to keep the cover in correct condition. They envy those that never needed to. They wish and want and wonder why the road taken turned out to be the wrong road.

Yet if everyone took the right road, who would discover the road not taken? It’s the journey, folks. It’s always the journey. And there’s nothing like the trip within. Sooner or later, if you live long enough, something will happen that requires recovery. You’re lucky if it’s later, or if it’s not chronic, but being human means eventually being wrecked on the shore of worthlessness, near the isle of whatever.

Our self-imposed rules ruin the best intentions. We all get the same shot at perfection and we all fail. Perhaps shooting for a less lofty goal would save many from needful recovering. But you know what? Not to keep score or anything, but I think there are more of us than them. You know, the imperfect, flawed, questioning, seekers … searching, asking, believing, choosing … uncovering by recovering. Or recovering by uncovering. Either way, we win.

Without recovery, we could never know what used to be underneath. We take it apart so we can put it back together again. Just like a puzzle, the pleasure is in the pieces. Of us.

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