By Diane Cameron, author of OUT OF THE WOODS: A Woman’s Guide to Long-Term Recovery & NEVER LEAVE YOUR DEAD: A True Story of War Trauma, Murder, and Madness
Sports, like religion, offer these consolations: A diversion from the routine of daily life; a model of coherence and clarity; a heroic example to admire and emulate, and a sense of drama and conflict in which nobody dies.
We learn about home in recovery. We have home groups and we talk of feeling at home when we find our meeting and our recovery fellowship.
In baseball, we begin and end at home. Home plate is not fourth base. Home is a concept rather than a place. Our goal in this game is to get home and be safe. Home implies safety, accessibility, freedom, comfort. It’s where we learn to be both part of and separate. The object in baseball is to go home, and to be safe.
So too in Twelve-step recovery.
In baseball, when a runner charges home we lean forward hoping to see the home plate umpire slash his arms downward signaling that the runner who may have crashed onto the ground in, in fact, safe. Isn’t that what we all want? I do. In my daily life, I want whatever is bigger than me to see how fast I run, and how precariously I slide, and to say boldly, “She’s safe!”
Those who believe, whose faith is strong, accept that umpire/God at his gesture and stand up relieved. Some, like me, despite wanting it still struggle to trust. I have –over and over– sensed that “safe” signal, but I am often still unsure. It’s as if I go back and run the bases again, skidding and scuffing. Again, he signals, “Safe!” but again I go to bat.
And in recovery, as in America’s pastime, we keep coming back.
What baseball offers that life does not is the agreement that we will believe it when we are told that we are home and that we really are safe.