We will make mistakes. We will stumble, we will falter, we will collapse. But we’re still on the road, we’re still on the path, we’re still in recovery. Looking back on the last nearly eight months, there have been lists and plans and lines to set the recovery on the me path, on the us path. Some of these have worked and worked masterfully. Some of these have worked for a time, for that version of me, but no longer, not for the more colourful, soulful me. And others have practically not worked, even if theoretically they “should.”
We cannot hold these against ourselves, let them be the burdensome, cumbersome prevention. By that, I mean we cannot let them prevent us from moving forward, let the blackness take hold of them and use it as ammunition for spiral thinking and self-hate and mind-fucking attacks. I have not been eating breakfast for the week I’ve been back. I eat twice and act as if eating two times a day means a smaller margin for error, less of a chance for me to eat too much. But because I’m oblivious to my hunger cues at Meal 2 (as I wrote a couple of days ago, traditionally hungry is not what I’m being aware of), there is actually a larger guessing game when preparing this meal, more of a chance for me to eat disproportionately, to eat out of my nature. As such, it is a bad habit, one that the blackness has taken a hold of, feeding off my insecurity and using it against me, turning it into a bitter flaw and causing me to make daily mistakes. These mistakes may not have served to propel us forward on the path of recovery, but they have the ability to give to the wisdom that makes recovery that much more powerful. The strength of recovery, the respect for what works and what doesn’t, the love and courage that drive us forward – these are intertwined with the wisdom acquired along the path.
In Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff writes the following about the true nature of wisdom: “In the final section of the Tao Te Ching, Lao-tse wrote, ‘The wise are not learned; the learned are not wise.’ … From the Taoist point of view, while the scholarly intellect may be useful for analyzing certain things, deeper and broader matters are beyond its limited reach” (24).
If these are not mistakes for the sake of mistakes, stumbles and falters and collapses in themselves, we can gain strength and courage and respect and love from them. Being respectful of one day at a time only came from looking too far ahead. The closeness of failing together ends not with error, but with loving embraces. Bitter loss serves as an emboldening, one that strengthens the courageous ferocity in the true versions of ourselves.
A post-it note once told me an important life lesson: “remember, we all stumble; you have to fall before you fly.” I will eat breakfast tomorrow, knowing the problems it causes later in the day with hunger cues, drinking and respecting my true nature. If we gain from our mistakes, in this way, they serve to make us wise.