We know what a “geographical cure” is. It’s when we imagine that when we move to another place we will be a different person. It’s evident in thinking that goes like this: “I’ll always be on time at my new job” or “I’d be civic-minded in a small town.” or “I won’t be depressed in Denver” or “When we move to our new house I’ll be organized and keep the house clean.” Before recovery we might have tried a geographic cure that included, “I’ll stop binging or drinking or using or needing him—when I move to the new city.”
And then, as the joke goes, “I moved to the new city, and a few weeks later, I showed up”.
Yep, I’ve had my share of geographic cures. And the same me always showed up. But this week I realized that I still have a version of that thinking well into recovery. But now it’s my “Chronologic Cure”.
I have been putting events and projects in my new (Letts of London, 35x, leather) 2012 calendar. And today when I recorded plans for two long distance trips in the same month I realized that I was still fantasizing that a new me that will show up later. I was picturing myself as a calm, happy, go-with-the-flow, write-on-the-road, get-everything-done-with-ease kind of gal. Now, I do get a huge amount done in any week but not without cost to self and loved ones nearby. But here I am jamming an international conference, two presentations, writing deadlines and a recovery workshop over a six week period.
We do change and grow in recovery –but that would require a radical personality make-over.
Yes, it is the allure of a new calendar and a new year. All those clean, blank pages. (In the Letts those blank pages are the creamiest paper). But look at that illusion that I will be so changed in 60 days. No, not even 90. A year from now? OK, I’ll be different but still me.
But there in my new calendar is the evidence of the “ism” that we speak of. Long past taking a drink my thinking remains that of a woman who can imagine herself completely transformed by an occasion or an experience or a dress or a new calendar. That’s my “chronologic cure”.