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Recovery's Olympic Proportion

By: Rev. Jack Abel, Senior Director of Spiritual Care

1 Your Role
I want to learn about treatment options for:

2 Basic Information
The Person is:
years old

graduated high school

3 Condition Information
Caron Treatment Centers accepts patients aged 13 years or older. For more information on services available to those 12 and under, please learn more about Caron's Student Assistance Program.
The Winter Olympics take place in South Korea at the end of February. Media coverage reveals the complex layers of global, national, familial, and individual significance these games hold.

How about recovery? Have you already begun to think about parallels between our struggles and victories and this great, international tradition?

One article suggests that the multicolored rings reflect the five continents which participated at one time. The rings also suggest connection, as we often point out with Caron’s interlocking ring logo. In recent years, the “anonymous people” movement has sought to bring forward a greater awareness of the interlocking communities of successful, long-term recovery around the world. Recovery is global. Millions participate. I was at a meeting in Paris, France, not long ago. What a cool connection we have, one that transcends international boundaries.

Another dimension of Olympic participation is national pride. Its analogy, to my mind, is the pride and loyalty we may feel to our first or primary 12-step recovery program. We may also have a loyalty to Caron or another treatment provider. I remember when I was active in both NA and AA, and how in later years my “dual citizenship” shifted to AA and Al-Anon. Each program has some aspects of its own language, even though we share in a common, larger objective and draw from similar wisdom pools.

But, perhaps the most meaningful parts of the Olympic experience are the individual and family stories we are privileged to learn about as the journalists take us behind the scenes. Many years ago, I attended a meeting that was frequented by several athletes who were preparing for the winter Olympics – ice skaters. I remember them sharing about the expectations placed on them by family, friends, and teammates. The stresses. And the unbelievable bonds they formed.

Some of you will know that I frequently talk about recovery as an “epic” journey, drawing on the powerful work of Joseph Campbell and others to illuminate quest as a universal genre. Every culture and time generates its own versions of a similar type of story, in which heroic figures go on an adventure, and in a decisive crisis win a victory. They find themselves transformed, and seek to be of service to the world to which they return, now with a curious, “two worlds” existence.

That’s a powerful way of thinking about the Caron Connection. You and I, we are joined in this epic struggle. We may act like we are in some kind of competition with one another, but that’s only part of the fun and learning. In the end, we’re all working towards a larger, common end. To heal ourselves and our world with love. I’m so glad we’re in the game, one day at a time.