Recently I was drinking coffee and talking with my friend, Ryan Speight and he was telling me about a new business he is getting off the ground called Five Points Navigation. Ryan has a military background and an exercise he participated in there involved a compass, maybe a map, and a destination. Based on that, Ryan takes people into the woods with a compass and a set of tools and teaches them how to reach a specific destination. He teaches people to operate using five points.
An activity like this can be a great way to spend a day with friends, a cool way to teach team building with co-workers, or even a way to learn a new, focused approach to life. What I immediately saw was a connection to our approach to recovery.
All five of these points relate to our recovery journey.
- Where is north? What is the guiding point/focus of your life? – When my journey began one of the first things I had to work through was what does sobriety look like for me? I had spent years believing I could manage my addiction. I believed I could limit my use to a specific amount or specific time of day. True progress only began when I was able to nail down my point of reference and for me, that was total abstinence. Anything less always resulted in miserable failure.
- Where are you at? – I had to take a good look at my location in life. I was a wreck. My life was out of control and I couldn’t manage things on my own.
- Where are you going/where do you want to go? – In my active addiction I was always going somewhere, and I was trying to get there fast. But every time I stopped to look around, I found myself lost, further in the woods. I had to stop just trying to get somewhere and pinpoint where I really wanted to go. I had to visualize what my destination looked like. I didn’t just want to be someplace else. The place I was looking for would be a place of peace, of contentment, a place of acceptance, acceptance of myself and acceptance by others, community.
- How far away is your destination? – I had always been trying to get somewhere fast, even when I didn’t know where I was going so, I decided 30 days away sounded pretty good. After all, I had heard about 30 day programs, right? What I actually found was that it had taken years for me to get as lost as I was and it would likely take years to reach my destination. Many experts say it will likely take 3 to 5 years to see real recovery take root. For some a little less. For some a little more. But the consensus is that we will arrive if we begin to walk the path.
- What direction do you need to travel? – This is where we look to others for instruction and help. If you asked me to lead you through the woods with a compass we’d both be in big trouble. My friend Ryan on the other hand can get us through the woods safely. This is where we find a sponsor and a group. My guides included both of these plus a therapist, a coach, and a lot of friends that were either walking the path along side me or were further down the path calling for me to follow them.
I enjoyed coffee with Ryan that day and hope to spend time with him again soon. If you’re interested in learning more about Five Point Navigation email Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like to talk more about learning to navigate a path of recovery shoot me an email at email@example.com. Ryan and I both like to talk.