Thursday, March 19, 2015


Recovery is not an open meadow full of wildflowers and docile puppies. Recovery isn't a sky so wide and bright that you almost want to go inside because my! How difficult it is to take in all this wonderful sunshine! Nope. Recovery is a struggle every single minute of the day.

Or at least three times a day. Recovery is about waking up feeling unsure about whether these breakfasts you keep eating are really necessary. Yes, you feel more clearheaded after a meal, but that also means you have awakened emotions you were starving for oh-so-long.

It worked, too. The emotions disappeared as quickly as your physical body. The less food on your plate, the less the frustrations in your brain. But you also had less joy. Oh sure, you had the euphoric highs at times which were most likely caused by chemicals in your brain from fasting for so long. Those highs are devious, however, and they are always followed by the other extreme -- crippling lows.

Everything is off-balance and you feel like an alien. It freaks you out at first and you don't feel like yourself. But then again, how do you even define yourself? Have you quieted your mind enough to uncover and discover this elusive self? Or are you allowing yourself to be defined by others? Hey, you think, if others define me then I am off the hook. I don't need to make decisions or own any actions. I can be a vessel. I will sail around without a compass and hide below deck whenever storms approach and the waters become choppy. I will let someone else take care of steering the ship to safety.

And then one day you suddenly sink. Of course, it didn't happen "suddenly." There was a leak for a long time, you just became very good at ignoring it. But there comes a point when you can't ignore the water around your ankles and you definitely can't ignore it when you are in neck-deep. Especially since you can't swim. You never learned. Hiding below deck doesn't work anymore. Hiding above deck won't cut it, either.

The only thing left to do is survive. How do you do it? If you can remember one thing in this situation, it is to not panic. Panic is cement. Panic will drown you. So act. Look for a life vest. You never noticed all of the life vests on this ship before. In fact, they are everywhere. You are practically tripping over life vests. Grab as many vests as you can. You aren't being greedy, I promise. Now start treading water if possible. (Hint: You won't know if it's possible until you try.)

Launch distress flares. Make yourself known. And for heaven's sake, don't be ashamed or embarrassed of drawing attention to yourself. You are sinking, remember? No more hiding. No more hiding. Allow help to reach you. I'm proud of you for making these efforts. I'm proud of you for struggling to survive. I'm proud of you for showing up.

And help will show up. Help is eager to take over during this highly vulnerable time. It is prepared. You will be rescued. Please trust me; more importantly, trust yourself.

Your old, unreliable, foreign vessel will sink. It will lie rusted at the bottom of the sea. You will miss the dark corners where you used to hide at times, but those longings pass the longer you stay afloat. There will always be treasure down there in the wreckage. When you are ready you may even consider diving down and exploring the gold which lies beneath. You will have your wet suit and flippers and oxygen tank. You will be prepared and you will gather riches. Until then, let yourself be warmed on deck with nothing but the open sky above.

You are here. You survived. You are loved.

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