This blog is about recovery from the extensive and progressive family diseases of alcoholism and drug addiction. And here’s the truth: recovery is hard. It takes courage, action, patience, vulnerability, and hope to get healthy. It can be a difficult process with no real finish line because recovery is something that you’re always working on. Don’t get discouraged, though! It’s not as bad as it sounds and I’m going to tell you the good part in a minute. But first, a little story…
I was on a run the other day…feeling the sun on my face, talking to my Higher Power (we chat quite a bit on my runs) and enjoying the early morning mix of endorphins and quiet time and nature. Suddenly, I came across a huge pile of shit covered in butterflies. Yep, that’s where this conversation just went in a hurry. It really surprised me too when it happened…
I literally then ran by five other huge piles of shit all covered in butterflies. Six piles of butterflies and poop, people! Back-to-back-to-back. And this thought just popped into my head:
Butterflies are symbolic of growth, surrender, and transformation as well as acceptance and faithfulness through the process of change. Butterflies are beautiful and peaceful and free; they’ve come out of their metamorphosis drastically different from who they once were…and even they have to get down and dirty sometimes and deal with shit!
What’s the point of me sharing this poopy epiphany, you may ask? Simple. It’s to tell you that recovery is not about perfection and easy-peasy everything from now on. That isn’t life and that isn’t this blog. Recovery is about progress. Recovery is about seeking out and trying a new way. Recovery is about rediscovering your own ability and power to create the life you want for yourself no matter what others are doing or have done in the past.
Recovery is not about perfection and easy-peasy everything from now on. That isn’t life and that isn’t this blog.
I have been on a healing journey for a while now and I am so much happier and healthier than I used to be just a few years ago. But you know what? That doesn’t mean I don’t have any problems anymore! (Excuse me while I howl with laughter at the thought.) And it doesn’t mean I have a “Get out of Jail Free card” for every difficult aspect of my life. Even with all of the recovery work I’ve done, I still have to deal with shit sometimes too. Newsflash: we all do.
The difference, though – and this is the good part I was talking about earlier – is that recovery has given me the tools to handle the difficult aspects of my life so they don’t become all-consuming and overwhelming. (I don’t know about you but just about everything used to be all-consuming and overwhelming to me.)
My recovery process in Al-Anon has given me slogans to rely on, literature to read and draw inspiration from, a new perspective on Alcoholism and Drug Addiction, a road map to personal healing and relationships (also known as the 12 Steps), a loving support system, a safe environment in which to “grow up” and mature in ways I definitely didn’t the first time around, and plenty of opportunities to practice expressing myself and voicing my opinion without being afraid of judgment and mockery. Recovery has also fostered a deeper, stronger, more loving and trusting connection to my Higher Power than anything ever had before it. I’d say those are some pretty awesome tools to have handy.
Whether it’s overcoming the effects of being raised in a dysfunctional family or being married to an Alcoholic or having a friend who is plunging deeper into drug addiction or, you know, just the fact that you ran out of toothpaste and spilled orange juice on your favorite sweater this morning. When life gets a little challenging, the tools you learn in recovery can help you navigate the difficulty with serenity and confidence. Because shit happens, right? It’s just part of life and you have no control over some things that come to pass. But you can give yourself the support and tools necessary to make it through and be okay. And that’s what recovery can do for you.
So what’s going on with you? Do you like this post? Do you forgive me for the gross factor of my story? Are you dealing with shit too – just like a butterfly? And are you overwhelmed by it or do you have the tools you need? If not, I’d say it’s time to get some, friend.