The Recovery Group

A Personal Recovery


Hi all,

I've been listening to John Denver this morning, largely because at the party on Sunday we played a lot of his music and it kind of rekindled the interest in listening to him again.

While listening to him, the thought struck me that his songs were mostly about appreciating the "moments", either leaving the comfort of home to go out and earn a living, or returning home from earning a living, home being that place of comfort and safety. My thoughts went back to the early hunter gatherers, when "making a living" was gathering food and supplies to simply survive. The value of work was obvious, it meant living another day, raising children so our legacy would be passed on and ensure the survival of our species.

Our value and our worth was directly linked to how well we were able to adapt to our environment. Social skills and learning to work in groups, and asking for and offering help when needed to ensure the group survived and remained viable, safe, and nurturing.

We haven't changed all that much in ten-thousand years have we? We don't have to spend so many hours a day now accumulating the stuff we need to survive, our skills to acquire food means pushing a shopping cart down an isle and simply picking out what we want, within our limits to afford it of course, but all in all, we have it pretty easy. Now there has been times in my life when I couldn't afford much, when there was nothing in our cupboards, and when I resorted to stealing what I needed from the store. I rationalized it as my need to survive, and what it showed me about myself was not very pretty. I blamed a lot on my circumstances, I had been hurt at work and laid up for over 2 years, our income had dropped dramatically, but did I ask for help? No! I could have applied for workman's comp benefits, for state help in the form of food stamps, rent assistant, etc. but I did not. I was too uninformed about the help that was available to me, and since I hadn't asked for any help or explained our situation to friends, no one knew we were in need. I was too concerned about what others would have thought, that I simply hid our circumstances from them, pretending everything was okay. I have come to believe that our circumstances do not make us who we are, they "reveal" to us who we are. I didn't like what was revealed to me.

What I found out about myself was that I was basically a very dishonest person. It would take me 35 years to say this out loud. It would take mountains of food to cover up the inadequacies I had been forced to glimpse in those moments. It would take another 500 lbs. added to my frame before being put to my knees to ask for help. I did not choose this disease, I discovered it. I tried other forms of escape, alcohol and drugs, but what did it for me, was FOOD.

That was my escape to a place of comfort, of safety, but I always had to return to "life" and it became more and more painful, and my thoughts kept going back to that place of comfort, if I could just stay there, I would be okay. The trap of course is that nothing good happens there, no growth, no learning, nothing positive happens in this vacuum.

There is a quote I have been looking for a while now, and it has eluded me, but it goes something like this: "God whispers to us in our joy. He speaks to us in our sadness. He screams at us in our pain." Living in the disease becomes so painful that it either moves us to change or kills us. I heard at meetings and from sponsors and from speakers, that when the pain becomes great enough, we will change. It worked that way for me. This disease was about to kill me, and I was about to let it. It was a conscious decision on my part, because I had lost all hope of ever breaking the cycle. I had lost hope of finding acceptance from myself for myself. I felt unworthy to be alive. It was a bleak place to be. Only by God's grace am I here today. A faint glimmer of hope was able to survive in me, but I grabbed on, and chose to finally surrender to some Higher Power. I believe that my Higher Power put that little glimmer in front of me, yet again, and this time I reached for it and held on. The sadness in my daughter's eyes as she wondered why I didn't care about her enough to stick around was the turning point for me. It was heart wrenching for me to think about leaving her behind, saying I loved her, but not showing her by staying with her.

My most precious moments are those where my daughter will come and snuggle in my lap, as she used to when she was just a small child. She's 13 now, 5'6" tall and still she comes to curl up on my lap. It makes my heart glow. Even as she explores her own independence from us, she still comes back for those moments of comfort and safety in my arms. I melt. It's moments like these that I cherish now, knowing they will not last forever, and that I am able to savor them only for a short time.

Life is made up of moments. Accepting them for what they are is the key I think. Knowing that none of them are going to last forever, the "This Too Shall Pass" makes them more and more precious. When the hard moments come, knowing that "This Too Shall Pass" is a comfort as well. The Yin and Yang of living. Acceptance of the way things are, and finding moments to hang on to has made this life worth it.

There is a sadness in me today, but there is also great Joy. I am learning to experience the full range of my emotions without being lost in them. It is wondrous to be able to do that.

On March 14, I will be three years abstinent and living in recovery. It has grown and deepened in me, and I am so grateful to be here and working this program.

Today I choose to follow my food plan. I choose to make my phone calls. I choose to read some positive program literature. I choose to pray and meditate and to believe that my Higher Power is guiding me. No matter what emotions surface, Today I choose to be happy.

Stay Strong!

love and hugs,

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