Well, you’ve really made a mess of things.
I wonder if anyone really ever needs to hear that. It may be one of those statements that is the same as: It’s a nice day, you’re very tall, or so this is it, we’re going to die now, aren’t we? Some statements do little more than state the very obvious. Well, you’ve really made a mess of things is probably addressed to a person who caused and is well aware of the situation. And it does more than state the obvious, and may even hinder the situation from improvement by placing even more stress and guilt on the person.
I was driving last Wednesday morning on roads I had never been on before. It was about 7:00 in the morning and the hilly Orange county parkways were foggy. I had written down my directions the night before and looked at the map of how to get there. After traveling Katella Road in the City of Orange and crossing under the double nickel freeway I continued on as Katella changed names and eventually became Santiago Canyon Road. That ended and I had to turn right on Jamboree, then left again on Santiago Canyon Road. After that I would hop on the 241 Toll Road. I had copied the directions the night before and Prajna was reading them to me. I came to the end of the first leg of Santiago Canyon Road and turned onto Jamboree. I passed Chapman Road and kept on, and on… and on. I saw roads that I remembered from the map that I should have passed on the 241. I noticed we were in Irvine. Then Prajna said she thought we had gone too far.
How could I have missed my turn? Maybe we didn’t pass it yet? Prajna urged me to pull over and ask someone. Oh, swell. Get out and go into a fast food place and announce to the world that I was some country bumpkin in a minivan who didn’t know how to drive? But I got off the road and into a parking lot. Then I called my sister. When she picked up the phone I told her that I seemed to be just a little bit lost and I was in Irvine. She agreed that I was not where I should be. She got from me exactly where I was and told me how to get to where I needed to be from right there. She knew the area well enough so that she didn’t need to direct me backwards. I could get onto the street next to the mall I was parked in, cross Jamboree and then head a little backwards to make it to the 241. From there I could get to Lake Forrest where the first day of the Celebrate Recovery West Coast Summit was. I followed her directions. We made it on time.
The summit was three intense days of teaching and encouragement. There was a wide spectrum of emotions. I did learn a lot and was inspired. But the one thing that inspired me that I wanted to share was how I was able to ask for help. No, it’s not that remarkable that I actually asked. But sometimes in life we might find ourselves lost. We might be going the wrong way. We might have been going the wrong way for a while. We might notice, or someone might point it out to us. It is then that the crucial thing happens. We can try to fix things on our own, or we can ask for help. And here is another thing. We can choose someone to ask that has experience and get this: Knows where we have been. The right person doesn’t have to point out how we’ve made a mess of things. They can tell us how to get to where we need to go from where we are.
At no time did my sister say, “Well here’s what you should have done.” I knew I had missed a turn. Instead it was this: Here is where you need to go now.
Celebrate Recovery is all about admitting that we are powerless over our hurts, hang-ups and habits. We come to believe that the one and only Higher Power can save us. And one of the most difficult things I have to do is one of the key steps. We have to rely on others for help. We get together a support team. Some people in our team may have been where we’ve been. They know the territory and can help us navigate our way to a better place. They also know how it feels to have been lost. Perhaps at one time someone led them the right way too.
Driving back that night after a long day I saw the mistake I had made. Chapman Road terminated at Jamboree and became the second leg of Santiago Canyon Road. The signs were there, I had just missed them. If I had a map on me it never would have happened. If I had printed out something or even if I had just written down the distance I should have traveled on Jamboree, I wouldn’t have gotten lost. If only… if only. But it did happen and I was responsible. And it took stepping out and asking for help to get me where I needed to go. I didn’t know where I was. I needed to hear from someone who did know where I was. That’s what we all need when we’re lost sometimes.