Much to the chagrin of our pediatrician and homeowner’s insurance company, Steve and I decided to get a trampoline to add outdoor entertainment for our three kids. Since our home is a gathering ground for the neighborhood and we wanted to ease our consciences, we got a top-of-the line model in regard to safety.

It has become a major accomplishment among the kids to be able to do front or back flips on the trampoline, and then to do multiple flips in a row. My son even took my phone to record himself accomplishing all of these feats to send to his friends who may doubt his reports.

Recently, a good neighbor friend of my son’s gave me a report on his progress about his trampoline tricks:

“Well, today I was at Steven’s house and I finally got it.”

“What did you get?” I asked.

“The front flip on the trampoline!” he said with a smile.

“Wow! Good for you!” I replied.

“Yeah,” he said. “Only problem is, I thought I could try it on the ground. I was wrong. Really wrong. And now my back hurts!”

“You know what you needed? A spotter,” I told him.

I explained that when gymnasts are learning a new trick or tumbling exercise, they often have someone spot them until they are ready to do it on their own. This assistance is an essential part of the learning process.

After leaving Bethesda Workshops, I needed support… I needed the recovery plan that I laid out with my counselor that weekend. Otherwise, I might have ended up trying a flip and landing flat on my back.

It is so easy when I have long periods of sobriety and serenity to forget that I still desperately need regular support in my journey. If I try to skip steps or move beyond taking it one step at a time, one day at a time, I may be letting pride sneak its way into my journey, and pride will undermine my recovery.

When we read the Twelve Steps, we see humility undergirding the entire program, but specifically Step Seven states, “Humbly asked God to remove my shortcomings.”

The book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions states that in our addictions, there was “never enough of what we wanted. In all these strivings, our crippling handicap had been our lack of humility” (page 71).

May I allow my loving God and those walking with me on my healing journey to act as my spotters as I crawl, walk, run and maybe eventually do a front flip when I’m ready!

Shane Oakley

Alumni & Development Director