You don’t always need to see your goal in order to get closer to it.
To anyone who has done any hillwalking, it is a familiar story.
You park the car at a well-known beauty spot from where you have a magnificent view of the distant peak.
To begin with, the going is easy. You’re on a gentle path across the fields and the mountain top remains in view and is very slowly getting closer.
After a while, though, you find yourself under a sleep slope. The going has got much tougher. Instead of striding you are scrambling, sometimes slipping, sometimes sliding, always sweating. All you can see is the rock and the rough grass a few feet above your head. You begin to wonder if it’s worth it.
Then you break out onto the ridge above and you realise that all that struggle and all that effort has suddenly brought you so much closer to the hilltop and, apart from preparing yourself for a final hard scramble to the top, for most of the rest of the journey all you need to do is to keep going forward.
The journey through recovery from alcohol addiction, drug addiction or any other addicition can be very similar. Sometimes we lose sight of our destination; we begin to wonder if it’s still really there and if we can ever reach it. But it’s just when the struggle seems hardest that we are actually making the best progress. So long as the way is leading upwards (or even if by a careful step down we can begin a better route) all we need is to keep going.
The view of the mountain top brings hope and encouragement but it’s often when you can no longer see it that you are making the best progress towards it.