The Upside of Responsibility

responsibility in recovery

Table of Contents

Here at Jaywalker Lodge, we do everything with purpose. There are no arbitrary or frivolous decisions made here, ever. Before you get worried that we’re too serious or stern, please take a closer look. We’re serious about helping men find lasting recovery, and we’re serious about the choices we make and the things we do. But we are not a glum lot — recovery is seriously a blessing and we couldn’t be happier or more excited about it. We make sure to have plenty of fun every single day, but we work as hard as we play.

We spend time hanging out together, laughing, enjoying meals, going to meetings, and being of service to the community. If you don’t think these things are a total blast, try joining us and see for yourself. Ever been skiing? Hiking or rafting? We’re all about adventures in the great outdoors. That’s part of who we are. We don’t shy away from absolutely enjoying every single second of our lives. Recovery is a gift, and we refuse to waste it. We’ve been given a second chance at life and we don’t take it for granted.

Responsibility = Freedom

That being said, we are firm believers in the philosophy that we are only free to the proportion that we take responsibility for. And we’re all about freedom at Jaywalker. Freedom from guilt and suffering, freedom to be ourselves and live our dreams, freedom to serve and help, freedom to grow and be happy, and freedom from alcoholism and addiction. That’s a lot of freedoms!

It takes a lot of responsibility to be that free, but it’s totally worth it. This isn’t just how recovery operates — it’s how life operates. We have responsibilities in every area of our lives, including responsibility for how we treat others, for our health, to our employers, our significant others, the list goes on and on. But this isn’t a chore list or a boring to-do list, it’s part of life. There is work and play and rest and action, and all of it is beautiful and worthy in its own right. Sure, maybe we wish it was all fun and naps! It was when we were children. And that was nice, but we’re not children anymore. We have goals and careers and friends and a purpose now. In short, we have responsibilities. The degree to which we accept our responsibility is the degree to which we will be free and happy.

Responsibility in Recovery

Let’s take a practical look at this. We’re alcoholics and addicts. We need to work the 12-Steps and live the recovery way of life every day, because we can’t recover without other alcoholics or without our higher power. We need the 12-Steps, meetings, fellowship, and prayer — we just do. If we accept this and are proactive about it, we are rewarded with recovery. This means that if we accept our responsibility for our recovery (the willingness to take action and seek communion with our fellows and our higher power), then we receive the benefit of lasting recovery and the ability to participate fully in our lives.

Can we see a little clearer how responsibility isn’t a chore or a burden, but is literally part of the path to the life of our dreams? We can’t keep ourselves sober. That is up to our higher power and the 12-Steps. But we are responsible for how we engage in our own recovery. We don’t make the program work, but it is up to us to work the program. That’s an important distinction, and most things in life work that way. We don’t decide if we get promoted at work, but it is our decision about how well and how hard we work. We can’t make people love us, but it is our duty to be open, honest, and strive to be more loving in every relationship. We have responsibilities that directly impact the quality of our life. If we want to be fit and healthy, it is our responsibility to eat nutritious foods and exercise. If we struggle with our mental health, it is our responsibility to seek professional help and follow our doctor’s orders.

Hopefully we understand responsibility a little bit better now, or can at least see it in a better light. The stigma and unpleasantness that sometimes surround responsibility are two things that Jaywalker Lodge hopes to clarify and erase. We incorporate responsibility directly into our curriculum, and we’re transparent about how and why. Tasks like cooking some of your own meals, maintaining your kitchen, making your bed, and cleaning your personal space are easy to brush off as chores. But each one is an opportunity to embrace the responsibility we have for taking care of ourselves, our lives, and each other. It’s practice for life, and it’s a lesson we believe is well worth learning.

From small responsibilities like cleaning to bigger responsibilities like personal discipline and commitment, all responsibilities are taken seriously at Jaywalker Lodge. Embracing responsibility allows us to get the most out of our experience of life in recovery. It is only when we embrace our share of the responsibility that we get to fully take part in the true bounty of our new lives.

Those of us affected by alcoholism and addiction have likely been put through the wringer and felt the pain of destruction in many areas of our lives. We have a long road of rebuilding ahead of us, though it is more than possible with the program of recovery. By working the 12-Steps and participating in the 12-Step lifestyle, we may find that miracles happen every day in recovery. But while the 12-Step program can do amazing things within us and in our lives, it is still our responsibility to take the actions suggested. We cannot control the outcomes and circumstances of our lives, but for the most part, we can control the effort we put forth. This is our responsibility, and our purpose in recovery is to fit ourselves to be of maximum service to our fellow man and our higher power. It is up to us to embrace and pursue this goal. The rewards we reap are more incredible than you could ever imagine. To experience this for yourself, call Jaywalker Lodge at (866) 529-9255.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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