MLK Day 2023 may be past, but we need to remember this great man every day of the year.
So much of what we learned from Dr. King has to do with freedom and healing. Those are the very things that many of us entered treatment to find. Freedom from addiction, from worrying about being caught. Freedom from the chains of mental unrest. In treatment, we also seek healing in the areas of health, home, purpose and community.
So, what did Dr. King say about healing? He spoke like the man of faith he was:
“This life therefore is not righteousness, but growth in righteousness. Not health, but healing. Not being but becoming. Not rest but exercise. We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing towards it. The process is not yet finished, but it is going on. This is not the end, but it is the road.”
Isn’t that the perfect definition of our life in recovery? We are on a road that we walk, one day at a time. It’s often said that we should work for “progress not perfection” because it encourages us to focus on smaller achievements instead of the end goal. Eventually, this helps us accept and enjoy things even if they aren’t perfect, because we can recognize evidence of our progress. We may not be clean and sober forever, but we are today. And being clean and sober today, we can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with it.
Dr. King also said, “Nonviolence is the sword that heals.” He well knew that life was inequitable and often cruel. This man lead the civil rights movement in America. Yet, amidst Jim Crow laws and outright racism and discrimination, Dr. King held the torch for nonviolence. He did not burn cars and buildings to get his point across. He did not seek to hurt or damage his opponents for their unfairness. Instead, Martin Luther King is known around the world for his peaceful guidance and work to help others.
Let’s resolve to better use Dr. King’s principles in our personal recovery journey. In honor of this remarkable man, let’s get outside of our own struggles. Go serve somebody. Go visit somebody in prison or a recovery home. Go find a way to take special joy in the healing and freedom of recovery.