Sunday, November 1, 2009

Small Gifts and the Persistence of Recovery

My office away from my office away from my home is Bruegger's Bagels in Uptown Minnesota on Lake and Humboldt. I'm "well-known" by the staff, who often treat me like "Norm" from the sit-com "Cheers." My Diet Coke is poured and ready by the time I make it to the register! (Thanks Guys!)

While working on a presentation (which I will post on Thursday), a client I haven't seen in nearly two years stopped by out of the blue and said hi. I had heard bad things --bad relapse, bad consequences, and the like. He filled in the missing blanks and acknowledges significant recovery --the longest in a while.

I took away from the conversation two important things.

First, the power of awakening. Whether you use spirituality, 12 steps, religion, or CBT, there is a moment of choice. In that moment, I choose "A" or I choose "B." And these moments are often small (I call them pivot points), but the long-term impact is significant. I heard in his story the moment of choice. I heard in that moment a choice to live. He started to create a new future.

Second, often in my role as a clinician, I never hear about the long-term impact of my work. I am humbled to hear and accept his gratitude for our work together. When clients "disappear" I do find myself concerned; I'm also constrained that I'm not able to follow-up. The update is appreciated. In his update, I'm re-affirmed in my comment to sexual health and the work I choose to do.

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