I heard someone say that we don’t drift toward things that are good for us… rather, we tend to drift away from things that are good for us. For example, we decide to eat healthier, but after a while we begin to drift back into our old unhealthy eating habits. Or we make a budget and stick with it for a month or two, carefully keeping track of where our money is going. Without meaning to, though, we start to spend a few unbudgeted dollars here, a few there, and suddenly we’ve drifted away from carefully tracking where our money is going.
The point is, when we drift, we drift away from what is good rather than toward what is good. To maintain the good, the healthy, the prudent, the productive, the disciplined, or the desired things in our lives, we have to do so with intention and not just drift into it. When we drift, we move away from what we desire for our lives. When we drift, we lose the ground we’ve worked so hard to gain. When we drift, we end up in places we never intended to end up, oftentimes far from where we were once headed or where we intended to go.
So it is really a matter of “drift vs. intention.” We can live life just drifting along and we will get whatever we run into. Or we can live life with intention and have a much better chance of getting to a more specified, desired place. If we want a relationship to work, we don’t just let things happen as they will; we must put in some effort. We must have some intention behind our actions. If we wish to become healthier, we have to have intention. We must intentionally make changes: eat better, exercise more, decrease stress, etc. It doesn’t just happen on its own. Drift is what happens when we leave things to chance. Intention, on the other hand, leads to action and change and it moves us in a specific direction.
When we get into recovery it may not be for the sole purpose of getting clean and sober. It may be because we are mandated by a judge to attend 12 Step meetings. It may be that our families have given us an ultimatum: get clean or get out. It may be that we are tired of the consequences even though we aren't sure we really want to quit. Most of us don't come into recovery with the pure intention of staying clean and sober and finding a new way to live. Eventually, if we stick around and decide that we do want to find a new way to live, these things do become our intention. Not so much at first, though.
Once it is our intention to truly attempt recovery, to find a new way to live, to get and stay clean & sober, we start doing what we need to do to accomplish this. We go to meetings, we find a sponsor, we start working the steps with our sponsor, we get involved with service work, maybe chair meetings, attend group conscience, and eventually start sponsoring others. In the process, we get better... physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually. Relationships are mended. Careers are restarted. Maybe we go back to school or change directions in our careers. The possibilities become endless and the opportunities are wide-open. We are living with intention.
But then something happens. We don't know why, but suddenly we aren't attending our regular meeting. We aren't calling our sponsor. We aren't calling anybody in recovery. We start isolating. We begin slacking off on all the things that were such a vital part of living life differently than we lived before. Our thinking changes. We get more negative. Maybe we stop doing whatever it is we found to nurture our spirituality. Or we stop taking care of our physical, medical, or mental health needs.We start to drift.
The problem, though, is that the drift begins within us. It is not something that we announce. It may not even be something we know is happening when it first begins. We may start out with intention, but suddenly find ourselves drifting way off the course we set for ourselves. If we don’t have people in our lives that truly know us, that know us in an intimate, personal, authentic way, no one will notice as we begin to drift. This is why community is so important. This is why having a network or a family or a circle of friends is so important. This is why having a home-group is so important to our recovery. Having a home-group is not just claiming a particular group as your home-group. It is not simply signing your name to a list at the end of a meeting. It is about so much more than chairing meetings, making coffee, helping to clean up after the meeting, or holding a service position within the group. For sure, it involves all those things… but it is more. It is about having a group of people in your life that know you. It is about allowing people that you see and meet with regularly to get to know you on a level that you may not allow others to know you. It is about accountability. It is about giving others access to you.
Why is this so important? Because without it, when you start to drift, no one is going to notice. Remember, the drift begins within you. If you have no one in your life that knows you intimately and interacts with you regularly, who is going to know you are drifting? You might not see it for what it is until you’ve drifted way off course. Your home group members, people you trust and have allowed into your life, though, will see it immediately. They will see that your attitude has changed. They will notice when you start missing meetings. They will notice when you stop sharing in meetings. They will notice when your actions don’t match up with your words. They will notice when you are not “yourself.” They will notice! And then they will question you, talk to you, ask you what is going on. And because of the authenticity of the relationships with these people in your life, you will hear them when they tell you that something is off. You will believe them when they point out things you can’t yet see. You will trust them when they come to you with concerns about your behavior. You will allow them to help you right your course, get out of the drift, and get back on the intentional course you have chosen.
Home-group membership, therefore, is about community. It is about accountability. It is about relationships. It is about staying the course. It is about mutual respect. It is about family. It is about living authentically. It is about friendships. It is about being part of a team or a cohort. It is about helping others. It is about allowing others to help you. It is about “we,” rather than “me.”
Because, this... recovery... is, after all, a we-program.
I'm Maze and I'm an addict.
I'm Maze and I'm an addict.