As we push the boundaries of the recovery bubble further and further outward, encompassing increasing swaths of our natural habitat; as recovery space expands, engulfing businesses and service structures and public spaces; as recovery thought penetrates and impregnates our paradigms, sowing the hybrid seed of recovery daywalkers…where will the dividing line between “recovery space” and the rest of the world stop? If it goes far enough, will it meet itself and join the beginning and the end? In a world where recovery has been accepted and destigmatized, and recovering and recovered people are uninhibited and fully actualized, the need for many of our current constructs falls away.
Just as with other oppressed groups, a fierce sense of identity and distinction has existed alongside our fight for equality and acceptance; and as with the others, these two are not mutually exclusive. Being treated like everyone else does not mean that we have to be like everyone else. By the same token, recovery must not be an albatross on our necks. We do not have to exist in a bubble in order to preserve who we are and where we came from. As we orient more of our systems towards recovery and it increasingly resembles the generalized concepts of health and wellness, it will become necessary for us to be fluent and proficient in the larger context. The delineation between us and “earthlings” or “normies” must be erased. Recovery, ultimately, is not apprenticeship, but mastery. The full recovery experience is unfettered and takes place out in the open, surrounded not by an insular layer of fellow recovering people but by people. The real recovery community is the community. Recovery must not be in vitro; true recovery is in vivo. Recovery is not a consolation prize, an approximation or a microcosm of life, it is about rejoining the human race as a full participant and contender for life’s biggest prizes. Recovery must not be in vitro; true recovery is in vivo. Recovery is nothing less than life itself.