Written by Lisa
A little while ago, with the help of Marie’s conversation, I started noticing parallels between two of my passions: breadmaking, and recovery.
The process of baking a loaf of bread is similar to the process of recovering.
Before you start, you have to decide that you’re really dedicated, that you’re ready to show up with time and love and effort… and that you’ll forgive yourself if you slip up 😉 You need to make sure that you have the ingredients handy, that you’ll be around (with patience) to keep an eye on it as it grows and changes, that you’ll be by its side when its ready to be shaped, and gentle when its ready to be baked.
One of the coolest things to me about baking is how creative you can be when you’re building your loaf, and it’s amazing to look at recovery in the same way. Just how I can choose to fold tomatoes, nuts, food colouring, or squid ink (!) into a loaf of bread and watch it grow, I get to choose affirmations, experiences, and rituals to give to myself, so that they can help me grow into recovery, and freedom.
Once the ingredients have been chosen, and delicately mixed through the dough (note that there’s no pounding on forcing in the process: beauty takes time), I have to wait.
Once the dough has taken shape, it needs time to come to life. Just like in recovery, it’s easy to sometimes neglect or disrespect this part. Once everything has been added and mixed, it’s tempting to want the result NOW. I thought I’d be recovered after I wrote down my credits and gratitudes for a month, but in hindsight I’m glad that I wasn’t. I’m glad that I took my time, because the lessons I learnt slowly were as valuable as my Eureka moments. With a loaf of bread, the longer the rising process takes, the deeper and more complex the flavour turns out. A slow loaf is not a failure or a waste of time, but rather an example of patience, consistency, and beauty. I try to remember this when I think about my own journey 😊 So long as I take care that I’m giving myself the right environment in which to grow, it doesn’t matter how long it takes. My dough needs good ingredients, time, delicate handling, and warmth; my soul needs enough sleep, healthful nutrition, affirmations, reassurances, fun, connection, and appreciation. Once all the right things are in place it’ll be okay.
Taking a loaf of bread out of the oven is one of the most beautiful things in my life. It’s one of those experience that just wakes up my senses: I can smell the toasty, floury crust in all its earthy nuttiness, I can feel the rough crust as it crackles and pops beneath my fingers, and later, I get to give my tastebuds the pleasure of something beautiful and natural, salty and earthy, that I have built with care and love and time.
The most important parts of breadmaking to me are patience, creativity, and a willingness to accept challenges and try again. I try to remember that recovery is the same. I give myself time to absorb my learnings and to grow, I find fun ways to support myself, and I fully forgive myself for any deviations, and remember the toasty loaf of freedom that I hope someday to pull from the oven.
It’s also wonderful to remember to be grateful for how easy it is to eat bread now. It’s an enjoyable process of exploring taste and giving my body some lovely energy- not the end of my worth.
I’ve been feeling a little heavy lately, and writing this has reminded me of the beauty of my process, and to check in on all my necessities 😊