I can’t hide from the fact things change a lot when I’m around. Yes life is about change, life is like a river after all so it’s always in a state of flux. I also am aware that I’m at risk of getting a big head as my ego tries to tell me that the changes I see are down to me. I can’t see how this can be true. So I’m going to leave it up to you all to tell me if I’m just being egotistical and need to get a grip of myself.
Ok how can I put this there seems to be a sort of quite revolution going in. I’m not talking about the violent people getting heads chopped off, blown up, marched away revolution. I’m also not talking about the noisy, annoying, let’s have a party to save the planet type of revolution either. Both of those types of revolution have a almost negative feel to them, they’re disruptive. The revolution that I’m seeing happening is quiet, personal, joyous and positive. But I reckon revolution is the right name for it. The revolution is centred amongst the homeless people of Edinburgh but I’ve seen evidence of this revolution spreading to other towns and cities.
Thing is there aren’t any leaders in this revolution it’s a very personal affair but the numbers of people involved does mean that it is a revolution. There is no written manifesto but there does seem to be a clear goal to it – freedom from the oppression of addiction. People are starting to fight for a normal life. They don’t want to be addicts behaving in ways that hurt themselves and others. The people of this revolution are choosing life, they seem to want to know how to live. All they know is being an addict is not living.
Now at this point many will say that people have been breaking free from drug and alcohol addiction for years. Yes I agree a few people managing to break free is not a revolution. What’s different about this is the numbers. I’ve never seen so many people in a community break free over the period of 9 months. It’s like it’s suddenly the cool thing to do to be in recovery.
Recovery used to be a thing that seemed ok but out of reach. It was something that people who weren’t as bad addicts as us did. They had the right opportunities etc and they weren’t homeless. Recovery was something that others did and became boring. It had a small following but then so do cults.
What’s happening now is different people are starting to shout about it in a quite personal way. It’s almost like life in recovery is the latest drug. “Hey you’ve got to try some of this it’s great” “What is it?” “Its called recovery, a life free from drugs” “that sounds rubbish” “nah you’ve got to try it, look at J they’ve been in recovery for a few years now. J’s got a house, job, been with L for months, even his families talking to him! Come on you know what J was like!” “LOL I remember J! LOL…..maybe I should try some of this Recovery, you seem to liking it Can’t make my life any worse that’s for sure”
Ok that’s the cheesyest thing I’ve ever written and I’ve not heard any conversation like that but something is happening. I’m getting people coming up to me with massive grins telling me how they’re going to rehab, how they’re refusing offers of drinks, how they’ve been clean for months. I tell you its just not normal.
Which brings me to the ego part, I think I may of had something to do with this revolution gathering momentum. There is no way I had anything to do with starting it but I do think that there were a few unconnected people putting lots of sparks of recovery into places where it would catch, then piling nurturing the recovery that started. I don’t think anyone did this expecting a recovery revolution but it seems to of happened.
It’s almost by accident that this has happened. Now here comes my confession about the part I’ve played in aiding and abetting the recovery revolution, I freely admit I’ve done it for selfish reasons.
I’ve been on recovery for just over 4 years now. I can’t keep my recovery unless I give it away, nobody can. The other thing I do is the next right thing. I do my best not to hurt anybody or anything including myself. I also realised that I make a massive mess when I try to run my life so I let God run it instead. I’ve also been enmeshed in homelessness for 3or4 years now.
I think I’ve become a sort of role model that my friends who are mostly homeless can relate to. They see someone who is happy, got 2 good job offers now, and who shows care and compassion to anyone who wants it. How many times am I lucky enough to exchange hugs these days. I greet folk with a genuine smile, I celebrate successes with folk. At this point I want to tell you all how proud I am of so many of the people I’ve met whilst being homeless in Edinburgh, you have no idea how many massive achievements I’ve celebrated with folk, I feel honoured.
I’ve also not judged anyone. People share with me stuff that I can’t disclose, when this happens I tell them that it’s wrong to do things like that. I see people high on drugs, I don’t judge them but I reckon that on some level they see the sadness in my eyes. I listen without interrupting to folk telling me how they have been wronged, I don’t judge, its not my place I can’t change what’s happened but I can offer a hug and shoulder to cry on if needed. I don’t share the wrongs I’ve been told.
I do this not because I have to or even because I want to, its more basic than that. I do it because it’s who I am. You see recovery has let me be the true me. There’s also the fact that God controls my life but that’s for another blog post.
I’ve been a good advert for recovery sleeping amongst everyone else in the night shelter, sharing the table at homeless meals, grumbling at how bad some services are, basically being real. I reckon the other recovery revolution instigators have done more or less the same.
Now the conflagration of the recovery revolution is probably too big to put out. Those who have been on the recovery journey a few months longer than others are becoming instigators themselves, we can’t keep it unless we give it away. It behaves like a fire, new people in recovery pass it on to others then they get into recovery and pass it on etc.
My ego however says you’ve played a big part Billie. Reckon that’s just ego talking rubbish but I am good at selling stuff……what do you all think?
Have you seen evidence of the underground recovery revolution?