Before & After: An Addiction Recovery Analogy

Those Spooky Old Woods (A True Story)
~Written by ‘fen’, SMART Recovery Volunteer

Spooky Old Woods (Before)

I have been playing in my woods for several weeks now. When I say playing, I mean I am clearing away years of neglect. My woods are seriously overgrown and difficult to walk through. There are scrub trees. There are trees that have been twisted by vines and are not healthy. There are brambles, small patches and great clumps of them as big around as a car and in some cases they stretch higher than I stand tall. There are vines everywhere, some as big around as my wrist.

When we built our house, over 12 years ago, I knew I needed to do something but I averted my eyes and found other, more pleasurable things to occupy my time. All the while those woods grew more and more tangled. On occasion I would look at them and say to myself that one day I would get around to taking care of them.

So I finally decided to do something. I gathered up my tools, such as they were, and entered the woods. At first I would spend an hour or so hacking away and upon my return the woods looked about the same. So I redoubled my efforts and spent more time hacking away. Each day when I would re-enter the woods, I would think, “day-m, if this place doesn’t look worse!” I could now clearly see just how much work was really required to get things cleaned up. The easy stuff had been taken care of, new harder chores awaited and cripes, there was chopped up stuff everywhere!.

The easy out would have been to go back to letting it be but for some reason I stuck with it. Daily sessions with my scythe were interspaced with sessions with my saws and that long handled clipping tool whose name I can never remember. I found it a great joy to locate one of the many vines that were trying to strangle the trees and pinch it off with that thing. It was great to see the leaves on that vine dying off the next time I returned to the woods. After some time, the place started to have some spots that actually looked better. There were sections that were now open enough that a cooling breeze could actually be felt. Not bad.

Spooky Old Woods (After)So I continue. If you look at the scythe you can see a tag on it. I just got it resharpened. Even the best tools have to be sharpened on occasion. There are still sections that need to be attacked. There are sections that I have cleared that need to be revisited regularly to keep them under control.

We all have woods that have gotten out of control. It’s time to get in there with the tools available and do something. Trust me, it takes some work, but it does get better.

Work and progress. Take the tools out and swing them a bit, the sharpest axe in the world leaves no marks until it is swung and the object at hand is struck.

Photos courtesy of ‘fen’.

About the author: ‘fen’ first discovered SMART in 2003 after hearing about it from a therapist. He has been an active volunteer for SMART for many years, serving as a Message Board Volunteer, a Meeting Facilitator and a Chat Volunteer. He currently devotes time to serving as a Chat Volunteer, a Message Board Volunteer and to maintaining his formerly spooky woods. He loves analogies and wrote this one, based on his personal experiences sometime in his first year of volunteering with SMART.


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