I grew up on a small family farm in Southern Ontario. Every spring, once the snow melted and the land dried up, we would get out on the fields to prepare for the harvest. Every effort, from cultivating the soil, fertilizing, seeding, weeding and patience was required to raise the crop to harvest time. Some crops require more care than others. And I was taught that a prayer or two for a good harvest wouldn’t hurt.
I left the farm when I went off to study, but its lessons stayed with me. I plan for the future but live in the present. It isn’t enough for me to plant a seed and leave it. I need to tend to its needs of water, weeding and pruning for the future harvest to be realized and not every seed or plant has the same requirements. As well, I need to be aware of what seed I am planting: sowing wheat won’t give me watermelons.
I often say at meetings that I can’t rely on yesterday’s recovery to keep me happy, joyous and free today. I have to constantly tend to my recovery: if I’m not investing myself in it, then the chances for a good harvest are slim.
Wherever you focus, that’s where you’ll end.
My attitude, my actions and my goals determine where I will end up. What I focus upon, either positively or negatively influences where I will go. Saying to myself over and over I not going to drink or I’m not going to use I am still focused on drinking and using. Turning the focus outward away from addiction has the effect of creating new directions. Turning the focus onto my recovery and its benefits changes me and my actions. An attitude of gratitude works because it shifts focus to the gifts of recovery. Acts of service to others work because my focus is on others not on me.
It’s not easy cultivating a change in attitude. It takes continuous work, at least I’ve found it so, to maintain the change. I can slip into a negative attitude at the drop of a hat: it’s how I used to function, it’s an old habit. The challenge is to scratch the old record enough times so that it can never play again and put a new record on the turntable.
In focusing on recovery I am focusing on the harvest. I do those things I need to do in order to stay in recovery and keep that focus. With time comes growth. Planting a seed of change today will not provide a harvest of results tomorrow. That’s why I follow my program. It helps me cultivate, fertilize, prune and weed my recovery so that I can reap a bountiful harvest.