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A long-standing American joke is that male drivers never ask for directions, even when they’re lost.  There’s some truth to this, and many female motorists do the same thing.  We don’t want to admit we got turned around, or missed a sign, or went passed the exit.  We want to trust our directional instincts, right up until we have to admit that we have no idea where we are.

On a road trip, we know where we want to go.  Usually, the destination was selected well before the journey began, and we had some idea of the direction we needed to take.  Getting lost is a matter of a small error, and a quick correction is often all we need to get back on course.

In recovery, the challenge is different for most people.  The newcomer may not know what direction to take, or even a starting point.  Goals are uncertain, as the damage from past actions is still being cleared.  Motivations change, as the relentless pursuit of escape is replaced by a commitment to clarity, honesty and positive choices.  Everything seems to be in motion.

The sober traveler needs to figure out two things: where do I want to go, and how an I going to get there?  It’s an exciting and anxiety-producing trip, for most.  I’m moving along down a road, not sure where I’m headed, and taking my best guess about which roads to choose.  There’s really no one map for everyone—each traveler must find her or his own way, when it comes to the details.

The best way to plot the course is to ask for directions. Although each trip is unique, there are some common crossroads and bridges that the traveler must navigate.  Who can help?  Others have passed this way before—why not ask them?  It requires a suspension of the egotistical pretense that we always know exactly where we are going.  That may not be easy, but it’s very freeing.  Once I admit I could use some help, I’m relieved of the burden of pretending that I don’t need any help.  There are many sources of help, starting with counselors, therapists, recovering people in the Twelve Step programs, and spiritual advisors.  One of the most valuable early lessons gained in this process is the realization that nobody goes through life always knowing what to do next.  Asking a trusted group of advisors for help is a great way to decide on a destination. Then we can begin to create that road map.

Are you trying to figure out where to go?  The counselors, nurses, doctors, and advocates at Sobriety Matters are expert mapmakers!  They can get you started, but you have to call 713-904-4699 to get things rolling!