…just so happens to be the redheaded stepchild* of recovery?
In creative writing 101, they didn’t let us write genre fiction (i.e. detective stories, space wars, racy romance smut). In photography 101, they didn’t let us take pictures of flowers. When I worked at an animal shelter, they didn’t let us name dogs Duke or Sophie. Clichés are less likely to be read, looked at, and yes, less likely to be adopted (take that literally and otherwise).
I have closet clichéophilia. They make me cringe when I see them in published pieces, but in life, they’re my starting block.
From an artistic standpoint, clichés have given generation after generation their stab at producing art+literature+academia+generally awesome ideas that their own generation is actually interested in looking at+reading+studying+thinking about. Do it a little differently, and someone will want it.
From a living-daily-life-with-some-semblance-of-grace standpoint, they are the dazzling common thread in the best of days. They run through the mouths of the smarter therapists and the pages of the better recovery books and the fingertips of the more supportive friends.
Much like you, I have taste and brilliance. So in the beginning, I believed the cliché was beneath me, beneath my recovery. But the thing is, clichés are cliché for a reason. Once upon a time, they were thought-provoking gems of wisdom. People put them into action, and found that they worked. So more people put them into action. Then more, and more.
After a while those gems started looking pretty cheap, dribbling out of the hearts of every Tom, Dick and Harry. But they improved Tom’s life, Dick’s life and Harry’s too. We like things that seem new and novel. But everything new and novel is just a polished-up version of the same old truths. I think this is an opportune time to remind you that there is nothing new under the sun.
I’m going to leave you with some of the trieds and trues. Pick one and run with it! Their simplicity helps them feel more manageable.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
It’s about progress, not perfection.
Tomorrow is a brand new day.
And of course: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”