What Does “Drop the Rock for recovery” Mean?
You may be familiar with some version of the Drop the Rock parable. It’s about the Twelve Step group members who set sail on the ship Recovery across the Sea of Life for the Island of Serenity. As the parable is usually told, soon after the boat pulls away from the dock, the passengers realize some of their friends are not yet on board.
Sure enough, their friend Mary comes running down the street and onto the dock. The people on the boat cheer her on. “Dive in and swim, Mary!” they shout. “You can do it!” Mary dives into the water and swims for the boat as fast and hard as she can. But as she gets close to the boat, she slows and struggles to stay afloat. Everyone on board can see why: a heavy rock is hanging from a snarl of strings around Mary’s neck. “Drop the rock!” they all shout. “Let go! Drop the rock!”
Treading water, Mary looks down at the rock. She realizes it contains her fear, resentments, self-pity, anger, intolerance and other character defects. She also realizes that if she doesn’t let go of them, she will drown.
She tears off the strings, holds the rock away from her body, and lets it go. Freed of the heavy and useless weight, Mary easily swims the rest of the way to the boat. She climbs aboard, dripping and deeply relieved.
A big part of Twelve Step recovery is learning to recognize and let go of the character defects, shortcomings and attitudes that would otherwise sink us. And with every “rock” we drop, we not only free ourselves to become the people we want to be, but our acts of humility, willingness and courage have a positive and healing “Ripple Effect” on one another, as well.
Drop the rock for recovery and let go
Participants in a lottery experiment believed they had more control over the outcome if they chose their numbers rather than having them randomly assigned. People believe they are less likely to get into a car accident if they are driving than if they’re riding in the passenger seat. In the game of craps, gamblers tend to throw the dice harder when they need higher numbers, evidencing an implicit belief that with “skill” they can somehow control their fortune. Control in a negative lifestyle, and in life, are driving forces many of us need to know more about.
Time and again, research has demonstrated that intelligence, knowledge, and reason notwithstanding, people often believe that they have control over events in their lives, even when such control is impossible. “Control in obsession and compulsion is something that comes up, in almost every case, we deal with. It is a delusion that robs people of the right to peace. We are not going to ever know what tomorrow will bring. It is something we have to accept if we want to be free”, says Mark L Lockwood, Clinical Director of Pathways Wellness Centre.
By mastering the art of controlling others and not knowing how to drop the rock for recovery, we learned how to hide through control in bad habits. Hiding control in obsession works so well in fact, we ourselves may even have trouble figuring out what was going on inside our own heads and hearts. To heal we need to identify how we cover up real feelings and desires in order to discover what they truly are. Hiding the true feelings never works. The truth will ALWAYS will out. As we start to drop the rock for recovery, we get lighter everywhere. We start to sleep better as we let go. We become way, way less defensive and angry. We chill out. We recover and start to live.
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