When I first came into the program, one of the fallacies I entertained was that once I simply stopped using, everything would automatically be perfect and all my problems would be solved. I soon came to the realization that my issues went well beyond my pot use, and that I had a difficult path ahead.

When I expressed my frustration at meetings about this seemingly never ending process we call recovery, I often heard an old timer or two say, "Look how long it took you to get into the forest, you can only imagine how long it will take you to get out." This forest metaphor helped me learn the spiritual principle of patience, and to accept that I am right where I am supposed to be at any given moment.

I also learned that the path I used to get into the forest is not the same one I needed to take to get out. In fact, on the way into the forest, I wasn't even aware of the path that I was on, or for that matter, that I was even on a path. However, looking back it was clear. My path into the forest was riddled with dishonesty, greed, hatred, jealousy, fear, ignorance, selfishness, and a whole slew of other character defects that I practiced at various times in my life. It was evident that I could not take this path back out of the forest.

The path I needed to take out was narrower and steeper than the path into the forest. This was a spiritual path. The path of faith, hope, willingness, honesty, kindness, love, compassion, humility, and selflessness. At first this path looked impossible, and I was not sure if I wanted to take it. I was afraid of where it would lead, and who I would be once I reached my destination. Seeing that others had successfully taken this path before me gave me courage to start on my journey out of the forest.

Today I still travel this spiritual path, only I am no longer concerned about my destination and how long it will take to get there. Instead, I embrace the unknown with faith in God, and I enjoy the journey not worrying about what lies ahead of me. What I do know is that this steep and narrow path gets easier to travel the more I trust in God, and am willing to let go of my character defects and the things in my life that keep me from spirituality.

I have no regrets about to choosing this path. In fact I recommend it enthusiastically. My only suggestions, if you choose this path, are to follow the map (the 12 Steps), and to get a guide who has travelled the path before (a sponsor). Remember this path is simple but it isn't easy. So have faith that you are on the right path and enjoy the journey, and we will surely meet as we trudge this road of happy destiny. God be with us all.

-- Loren N.
June, 1995

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