Recovering Like a Bonsai

The interesting, at times exhausting, point that I’ve found in recovering towards wellness is that I am never fully ‘recovered’. Although I’ve learned to live without the use of substances, I still have many other areas in which I need improvement. In 12-step meetings, many of my peers say ‘I came for my drinking and stayed for my thinking’. Most of us enter into recovery to stop one detrimental habit that did not serve us well, often finding many others.

In the March issue of the Collaborative Support Programs of New Jersey (CSPNJ) Words of Wellness newsletter, Joe Meany’s piece titled The Bonsai Tree relates to this same thought:

“Bonsai is a Japanese art in which, using a variety of tools and training methods, any tree can be turned into a beautiful, healthy, work of art. Wiring is used to shape the branches… Shears are used to trim the tree… Cutters and repotting keep the roots healthy for growth. The shape and style of the bonsai is up to the one applying the tools.” (Meany, 2020, p.3-4)

May we always remember that recovering towards wellness is a journey and not a destination. May we always remember that there are tools available for our growth. May we always remember that like a Bonsai tree, recovery takes a lifetime, full of twists and turns, requiring discipline and faith.

Take a minute and read Joe Meany’s ‘The Bonsai Tree’ and consider your own journey of wellness.

Meany, J. (2020, March)

The Bonsai Tree, Words of Wellness Volume 12 (Issue 3) Retrieved from