OK, I admit that I couldn’t resist the title. What does surviving in the wild have to do with recovery? At first glance, not a lot but perhaps more than you think.
Some background. I was stuck waiting at a doctors office for 30 minutes. I was so bored, I was scanning through my inbox with a little less restraint than usual, and found a news feed with an article called “Four Survival Myths that Could Get You Killed.” (Yes, I was THAT bored.)
The article was fun and interesting, although not life-changing for me as a city dweller (did you know that you probably CAN’T live off boiled pine needles?!?) who lives near a Festival Foods. Myth No. 4 — Practicing Survival Skills Is not the Same as Practicing Survival — caught my attention though. This myth talked about the difference between knowing about a skill, having practiced a skill, and being able to use it in real life.
Like me, you probably know the “rub sticks to start a fire” trick and have probably seen it in a few movies. Have you ever tried to ACTUALLY do it? I have and it’s WAY harder than it sounds. Except for the Boy Scouts in the group, the few of us that may have ever practiced this probably were only a few steps away from a heated house. There was no risk, no pressure.
The article draws the difference between the value of “knowing about” and of REAL experience — knowing when something like feeling cold, getting cut, or eating something rotten is actually a concern and when it’s not—so you know when to be concerned and when not to be. Survival means thinking ahead to have the skill when you need it.
We face the same situation in our lives. We may know about the 7th CR Principle — Reserve a daily time with God for self-examination, Bible reading, and prayer in order to know God and His will for my life and to gain the power to follow His will. We’ve read through it out loud. We know that this is healthy and good. We might even practice it a few times to see what this feels like.
What happens, though, when the proverbial plane of your life crashes into the mountain of reality and you feel you’re all alone in the cold, with no help in sight? “Knowing about” this, or “having practiced this a couple times” won’t help: you NEED this fire to save your life. Is this principle still just some good words, or have you made it a daily part of your life to keep you in recovery?
The next time you read through the 8 Principles, stop after each and ask: Do I just know about this? Have I only practiced it a few times? Or, have I made this principle part of my life so I can use it when I need it, to make a difference in my life, in easy times and hard?