When I was in seminary (an awfully long time ago), Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, On Death and Dying, was required reading. In that same course I planned my own funeral service, what seemed to me a somewhat macabre and unpopular homework assignment, but it is reasonable to expect the very people associated the most often in our culture with the human passing to confront their own mortality. The downside? The assumption that life proceeds in orderly stages, just like the 5 stages of dying.
Recovery doesn’t seem to work in nice neat stages either. Sobriety milestones are important celebrations, but I don’t think they indicate that I have completed any particular stage of recovery. Recovery has felt more to me like a bizarre roller coaster full of ups and downs and strange twists back in on itself and stomach-wrenching barrel rolls, occasionally interspersed with periods of calm, smooth as glass.
Recovery is not a smooth mathematical progression despite our desire to control our lives in an orderly fashion. But recovery is hopeful, it is successful and it is an increasing accomplishment that occurs over time. if I could only keep that time straight in my mind, I believe what I just said would feel much more true.
And that makes the sobriety time counter on the homepage of Pride Institute more than just a clever gimmick. I don’t just see how far I’ve come; I’ve seen how long I’ve come. But it’s not just time elapsed either. I watch the seconds keep passing away, gathering into minutes, bundled up into hours and passing into days. My sobriety continues.
On the days where life becomes a Merry Mixer slamming me unpredictably against the walls and sobriety occurs not 24 hours at a time but 5 minutes at a time, I have a visual reminder that I am healthy and growing healthier every moment, all from just a silly little technological doodad.