Bill by L. G. William Chapman, B.A., LL.B.

Considering the changeable existence each of us leads and the often unwelcome drubbing we endure, I put it to you that we are in one sense or another in a perpetual state of recovery – recovery from an illness, recovery from a loss, recovery from a personal set-back, recovery from last night’s party (or perhaps the last twenty-five years’ parties), in short a recovery from mishap or misadventure of just about any proportion or description howsoever ephemeral or prolonged. In fairness I allow there are moments of bliss, but by and large life is a trouncing and our recovery from it is the very work of nature.

The word recovery suggests regaining ground, the reclamation of a state of affairs which previously existed. This we know instinctively to be completely without probability, it is a logical subterfuge. A better elucidation of the word would be salvage or rescue. People of any age, capacity, standing or current blessing are vulnerable to the indiscriminate devastations of survival. This we can take for granted, as bald and uninspiring as it may be. Scrabbling our way back from these wreckages is at first blush our deplorable destiny. Nonetheless this is where the real work of life begins – the process of recovery, the liberation effort, the recuperation and convalescence. It is this private avocation which polishes our individualism and personality. How dull life should be if it were to unfold in accordance with our fanciful and often far-fetched expectations! And as I say, in the interest of even-handedness, as not all our excursions are unfavourable, we should at least be gratified that we were permitted even flighty indulgence in our erstwhile customs. But when our appetite for the predominance of past catastrophes and performances is exhausted, or when their realization has addled our sensitivities, the time has come to refresh ourselves.

Recovery is on-going, not a singular or final achievement. Recovery is a daily awakening to new intuitions, unexpected renovation and titillating opportunities of pursuit. If ever there were a road map to exhilarating panoramas, recovery is it. Hang onto your hat! The journey in recovery is far more boisterous than you might otherwise give it credit! But what – you may well ask – does it take to get oneself into recovery? Surely recovery is different from merely rebounding; recovery after all implies a notch of improvement, not simply the aftermath to the nerve-wracking and ruinous events of life.

Certainly recovery demands a portion of resolve. Yet it is odd how little determination it takes to turn the balance of the scales, an observation which nicely captures the precariousness of life. How easily the equilibrium of life can tip one way or the other though this mustn’t however deter us in our resolution. As in all matters of delicacy (by which I include the general shakiness of life) it is paradoxically the imposition of rude and fundamental strictures which determines the outcome. Tackling the tremors of living is no time for pale and ineffective gambits. In that tick of decision-making what is called for is the reduction of our rarified and capricious ambitions to the comparatively base and reliable tenets of being (for some admittedly a rather unglamorous prospect).

Recall however that as equally probable as are relapse and recovery, the indecisiveness of life’s bent is at least mitigated by the fact that both share the scientific principle of momentum which, once agitated, grows like compound interest and translates whimsy into substance. If the Dutch can by degrees stem the tides of the encroaching sea, so too can we bring about the abatement of life’s treacheries. Happily there is enormous reward for having done so.