The “Key” to Recovery and Healthy Living

When I was a kid I remember watching the movie The Secret Garden. I honestly cannot tell you anything about the plot or really anything noteworthy about the movie itself.

Except one scene. The scene with the key.

You know those vivid childhood memories you have from watching certain movies? You know how some scenes stay engraved on your brain? Well for whatever reason the scene with the key is one of those scenes for me. I remember being filled with wonder and curiosity. What was in the garden that it was necessary for the gate to be locked? I remember feeling excitement for the girl as she discovered the key. I remember fantasizing about such a discovery for myself. What if I could find a mysterious key that could unlock an enchanted secret garden?

Looking back at my childhood I can definitely see certain patterns that formed. One such pattern was my desire to discover something that could ease my pain. A key to happiness. A key that would make all the fear and loneliness to go away. I would often go exploring around our property. We basically lived in a mini-jungle by a creek so for a little boy it was paradise. I built forts, blazed trails, climbed trees, floated downstream to new areas I had never seen before. I can remember going out with a sense of urgency as though I was escaping something. As though I was looking for something:

A key.

This pattern continued as I grew older. I became convinced that I could find the key to happiness on my own. I could will it to existence or pray for it and God would deliver it like a stork delivering a baby. Surely somewhere inside is the key to my happiness, right?

Now finally I know what I never could understand before: the only key that is inside me is the key to my misery. It fits perfectly with my addiction and is well oiled. I discovered it long ago and for decades I was convinced it was the key to happiness. I thought I was in control of my heart and of my fate. I could not have been more wrong.

But there is another key.

I don’t hold it and I might not ever possess it myself. It sits safely with the One that is sovereign because He can do for me what I cannot do for myself. He is the only one that can crack open the lock that holds the treasures of serenity, sanity and sobriety. And for an addict like myself, that is all I need to be content and happy.

Though I do not hold the key myself (meaning I am not in control of my life) I have been given the gift of choice. The choice of action. If I allow God to use the key to recovery then I can choose to take a step. But I cannot take a step if I am not connected to my Higher Power. I will not go to a meeting or call my sponsor or do step work if I am in poor spiritual condition. So my access to the key is not prying it from God’s hand. It is surrendering to His will and allowing him to use the key as He sees fit.

The garden of recovery is no secret now. But it is more beautiful that I ever dreamed.



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