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Caution: Do Not STOP On Tracks

Feb 6, 2020

Bart Ross, Recovery & Alumni Services Coordinator

For this blog, let’s picture our recovery journey as if we were on a train taking a trip. Along the way we’ll find the things we need to get there. Picture it as a round-trip journey that never ends. Our journey’s purpose is heading up a mountain. The top of the mountain is called Higher Power. We’re told that when we get to the top we will experience a relationship with a Higher Power that gets more amazing as the years pass.

We show up at the first train station and the only thing we have with us is our self-reliance.

We became aware that, “self-reliance was good as far as it went, but it didn’t go far enough.”  It wasn’t going to give us what we need to survive the journey successfully. But we hop on anyway, because where we’re living is surrounded by despair, and we need to leave. We enter the train car and they call it a meeting. The first thing we find on the train is a seat, and someone suggest we sit and listen for hope.

If you or a loved one need help, call our admissions team today at 561-841-1033.

We travel for a short time and arrive at the second station.

This station is called Fellowship.

At the fellowship we find new friends who are talking about what that’ve seen and how they’ve grown on this journey. They’ve been traveling on this train for a while, some a few days and some for many years.

As we continue on down the tracks, and come to the next station called Sponsor.

Here someone starts sharing experience, strength and hope about how they’ve been enjoying their ride and the things they’ve needed for the journey. One of the things mentioned is sponsorship, and we realize that we need that if we’re going to experience this journey successfully.

The train pulls out of the station and the sponsor we met tells us we’re about to arrive at the next station and it’s called “Common Solution.”

Here we’re shown a map for the journey, and they call it a Big Book. In it are “clear cut directions” to follow on the journey. There are lots of warnings in it that suggest not stopping along the way and lots of promises if we stay on the path.

The next station we will reach is a little longer of a ride, but it won’t be long before we pull in.

An announcement comes over the PA system. Loud and clear it says all passengers should chip in and do service — sweep the floors, clean the coffee pots and whatever else might need to be done, so that others may be comfortable.

We continue to ride the train, following the map.

A short time goes by and we look out the window and realize the train has reached the top of the mountain, but isn’t stopping.  Something about use feels different. We really start to feel as though we’ve become free and want to become more involved in what’s going on.

As the train starts heading back down the mountain, we realize we’ve reached a new relationship with a Higher Power.

We see “how our experience can benefit others” and we now feel this urge to welcome and sponsor new passengers. We stay on the train and notice some of the people with use are getting off the train at different stops and staying there. We look out the window as the train rolls down the tracks and see people all along the tracks, people appearing to be “restless, irritable and discontented”.


We want to watch out for the trap of worshiping the things that got us to our Higher Power, and not our Higher Power.

Many of us who have been on this journey have experienced dependence on meetings and the fellowship. Maybe we started only listening to a certain speaker or our sponsor? Has our ego grown to the point that we think all we need to do is sponsor newcomers and forgot that we need to fill our own cup as well? Have we attached ourselves to the “words” in the Big Book, and forgot that they describe “a way of life”? All these things are of extreme importance, but we have to remember they’re not what keep us sober. They are the things that continue to point us to our Higher Power.

Those of us who are and will be fortunate enough to remember what it felt like before they first boarded the train and the freedom experienced from reaching the top of the mountain will continue riding it for their lifetime.  Each trip up the mountain enriches our relationship with our Higher Power.  Each trip around the mountain makes us more effective in helping our Higher Power and others.  May the ride of this journey continue for your lifetime!

Whatever you do — DON’T STOP ON THE TRACKS!


Hanley Center is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance use, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting recovery.

For information on our programs, call us today: 561-841-1033.

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