It has been 6 days since I watched Netflix’s new release, Recovery Boys, yet I am still haunted and encouraged, sad and grateful.
The year of my life spent in that home and on those grounds was truly definitive in my development, and transformative of my understanding of life, loss, and love.
“New and Marvelous ideas are looking for human collaborates, every single day. […] Some exceedingly patient ideas might wait years, or even decades for your attention. But others, wont, because each idea has a different nature.” States Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, in her newest book, Big Magic.
Brookside Inn is where I truly learned to cook, to laugh at myself, to see writings’ very real-world stakes, and where I became simply “the world’s worst bar tender.” It is where I ate and helped prepare meals that literary transported me to my gramma’s kitchen table, opened rivers of tears, brought distant memories close, and soothed old wounds.
Similar to my experience at Brookside Inn, my experience watching Recovery Boys left me feeling very much the same. Transported into the world of friends and love one’s life-long battle with addiction, my river of tears turned to grateful understanding that the home which once healed me and others was also the home that had borne witness to its unfair share of death, love, and loss.
As I observed this home almost as familiar as my own, and truly as deeply loved, I was thankful for the human collaborates who have brought new life to this retreat, respite, and rock. I was enlivened by the memories of my time there yet still sadden for the loss that lead to its newest human collaborators. What was so striking and moving to me, was how little the spirit, or the idea, of the property has changed since it opened as a summer retreat over 100 years ago. Life is not a straight shot down hill, easy coasting. Neither has been the life of the home and property that is now Jacob’s Ladder at Brookside Farms.
“New and marvelous ideas are looking for human collaborators, every single day.” I can tell you from experience, it is worse not trying, than failing. The loss is less when brought beside the memories and love. I am sad that I don’t have the same relationship with the building that I once I had, but the fact of the matter is that the building simply hosted the woman who shown a light on each of these parts of me. Nothing can take or shake the transformative lessons and love learned there.
When Dr. Blankenship states in the film that he wanted a place for these men to recover, working side by side with truly good people, my husband and I both yelled “YES!” I have never met people, like the people of Aurora. It is a place where the spirit of the Mountaineer is evident at every turn They are the kindest, hardiest, smartest, most self-sufficient people I have met. They not only make life work in a beautiful wilderness, they fight for each other, their children, their community.
Now, as another fight is upon us, to ravage and degrade our communities, Recovery Boys puts the viewer, in their shoes. There is no simple solution. There is no guaranteed happy ending. But we must start somewhere, and I can think of no better place to start then a moment of true empathy both personally and as a culture.
Long story short, go watch Recovery Boys.
A Snapshot of the Past: Brookside’s Beginnings
Birthday Dinner with my Mom at Brookside Inn, April 2013