writingforserenity

love+hope+strength=recovery

Shit-storms and Rainbows


I’ve been feeling down.  First my sexual trauma history and emotions got triggered in the how I live in, and then I got sick.  I’m just off.  It’s okay though.  Recovery isn’t just rainbows and butterflies, it’s actually staying present through the crap.  I really hate it, but it’s so much better than the crap used to be.  Today I can stay strong through the shit-storms.  Maybe after this there’ll be a rainbow or two.

Today I can appreciate the small things


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I used to not enjoy the small things: a two second hug from a child, a text from my parents, an e-card from a friend, a cup of tea, a comfy blanket, or a smile from a passerby.  I was so wrapped up in myself and my misery I could not gain any pleasure from the little things.

Today is different.  When I am having a bad day, I live for the little things.  I love it when my dog checks in with me at the dog park or in the house.  She just comes up to me, sees me, wags her tail a little, and runs off.  I can enjoy a good cheese or a comfort food snack.  A driver waves thanks to me when I let them into my lane, and I feel good.  I don’t need to look far for these little things, they just happen.  Today I can enjoy the small things.

Growth


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For a long time I felt stuck.  I was stuck in myself, stuck in my negative thought loops (not just patterns, but loops), and stuck in my behaviors.  I needed to get stoned before I left the house, tell myself how messed up I was in comparison to everyone I saw, how much worse off I was, and how poorly I was doing, and smoke more weed and drink to get rid of the feelings of the day when I got home.  I was afraid to leave my apartment and made up imaginary threats everywhere I went.  There was no room for change or improvement.  I was caught and needed help even though I was trying very hard not to admit it.

Today is different.  I can see myself and my behaviors more realistically.  I can ask a friend if I am acting inappropriately if I am concerned.  If I did something inappropriate or acted in a way I’d rather not, I can hold myself accountable, apologize, ask if I can do anything differently in the future and move forward into life no longer doing that behavior.  I don’t have to beat myself up for it.  I no longer get stuck in those loops of self-denial, self-hatred, and fear.  Today I can grow.

I can be GOOFY


I can be GOOFY

http://www.google.com/imgres?q=GOOFY&um=1&hl=en&client=safari&sa=N&rls=en&biw=1024&bih=702&tbm=isch&tbnid=dg1uvThqOkIbmM:&imgrefurl=http://www.chamois.k12.mo.us/JW%25208th%2520Grade/Georgie%2520Wilbers/goofy.htm&docid=IwjAYtqWcNFILM&imgurl=http://www.chamois.k12.mo.us/JW%2525208th%252520Grade/Georgie%252520Wilbers/web%252520page%252520pics%252520ummm%252520disney%252520charecters/goofy3.gif&w=421&h=507&ei=p0pJT_KVNc7UiAL0ivHaDQ&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=492&vpy=326&dur=155&hovh=246&hovw=205&tx=131&ty=158&sig=109302609273438516943&page=1&tbnh=139&tbnw=115&start=0&ndsp=18&ved=1t:429,r:9,s:0

Today I Can Be Goofy


I used to behave how I thought I should behave, not how I actually am.  I repressed my spontaneous and carefree side in order to maintain a certain image of maturity and put-togetherness, even though I was anything but those things.  I had less fun and no authentic connections to things.  Even when I was stoned, while I could appreciate others’ humor and spontaneity, I never attempted it myself.  I did not behave goofily out of fear, fear of rejection, fear of looking stupid, and fear of my own self-criticism.

Today is different.  Today I can be goofy.  Today I can pretend, talk in funny voices, and share my half-formed witticisms with a good deal of people.  I still don’t do it with everyone, but I do it with those who would appreciate it—those who are goofy, too.  I feel light-hearted and have fun.  Today I can be goofy.

The “Fix-It” Theory


When I first went to a treatment program in January 2010, my parents wanted me fixed, and I thought I could be fixed, too.  I tried, I really did, but that’s just not how it works.  My therapists all seemed to think I was ready to go out into the world just 30 days later, and I wasn’t.  I struggled, I was in dangerous situations, and I ultimately could not live.  I went into treatment again with the same philosophy.  One of my therapists explained it: “you aren’t going to be fixed, you are going to know how to manage the stressors of life and your emotions.” I tried to explain it to my parents and they still don’t really get it.  AA is founded on this principle to some degree.  The program is the solution but not the cure.  I’ll never not be depressed, I’ll never not be an addict, I’ll never not be a trauma survivor, and most importantly I’ll never not be me, imperfect but whole.

Today I can have resect for myself and others


When others abused me, talked down to me, and raised their voices to me, I used to think I deserved it.  I used to think that there was something wrong with me.  I let people use me, take advantage of me, and abuse me without a second thought.  In truth, a common theme in many books, it only hurt because I believed I was the piece of shit they acted like I was.  It was my agreeing with them that hurt me, not their actions.

Today is different.  I can recognize when others do not treat me respectfully, and I can respectfully ask them to treat me differently.  In the moment I still feel scared and angry, but at the end of the day, I know that I deserve to be treated with respect.  It doesn’t hurt me like it used to.  I assume it will hurt me less and less as time goes on, and I develop my boundaries and sense of self.  Sometimes I act inappropriately, but that does not mean I deserve to be treated inappropriately.  I try to remember to take accountability and set boundaries.  Today I can stand up for myself and take accountability for my interpersonal mistakes. Today I can have respect for myself and others.Image

Our Heroes’ Journeys: Harry Potter as a Metaphor for Recovery


The Harry Potter series serves as an extended metaphor for recovery.  Harry Potter travels the Hero’s Journey, a journey I believe each of us who struggles and sufferers (meaning all of us) has the opportunity to go through; We just don’t all complete the journey (some die valiantly, some for no need, and some simply avoid it, not truly living).  Harry Potter had the prophesy that unless he defeated Voldemort he could not truly survive.  He struggled to trust himself, his own strength, and those who loved him (Dumbledore, Hermione, and Ron), but in the end he gained clarity and grew into his own strength.

Like I have a sponsor, Harry had Dumbledore.  These private sessions of exploration about the self, the past, and a higher power (love) give Harry the information necessary to succeed.  It is difficult for Harry to keep faith in Dumbledore his teacher and love after Dumbeledore passes.  He has to go alone into the forest with his deamons, the death eaters.  While I sometimes lose faith I must carry on in the same direction regardless, because it isn’t the kind of thing you can stop trying at and survive.  Similarly to Harry, in the end its about me and I am alone.

Harry was a seeker, not only on the Quidditch field but also in life.  He sought truth, love, and serenity. He had genuine insights and dug for the truth. We all have to battle our Voldemorts: addiction and the underlying disease of the mind, body and soul or whatever yours is.

We share a common higher power.  God is Love and saved me, just like Love saves Harry.  In the end those who have passed surround Harry during his hardest times, and I believe the same happens to each of us.

Harry Potter’s friends serve as a support network like my friends do.  In his Dumbledore’s Army meetings he found a sense of strength and leadership.  Ultimately they were there to fight for him and the wizarding world when they needed it, even though handing Harry Potter over would have stopped the fighting.  This was a form of love.  What his family could not provide he received from the outside world.  He had to leave his studies to focus on his battle with Voldemort, not unlike me.

His history is also similar to mine.  Given his early childhood trauma of Voldemort trying to kill him, a piece of Voldemort’s soul was imparted on him.  Similarly, I was traumatized at a young age and sometimes feel like I was changed by that.  It isn’t just the PTSD, but something more like part of that person will always be with me.  It was Harry’s and is my fight to free ourselves from bondage.

Ultimately there is another side.  Although I haven’t found my Ginny and don’t have a happy nuclear family, I have faith that I will overcome and maybe I have.  It won’t be like Harry’s ending, but it is the peace that he found within himself.  I will never stop being an alcoholic addict, but the obsession will be lifted.

 


15 nominees:

 

7 Facts about myself:

1) I’m from Nebraska
2) Sometimes I pick my nose
3) The most potent experiences of a higher power I’ve felt are through animals (my dog and a sea lion)
4) I live at a sober living ins SoCal
5) I love desserts and can’t stop eating them because of a medication side effect
6) I have several learning disabilities
7) I’ve been depressed since I was seven

 Thank you to Inflected for nominating me.  You have an excellent blog and more importantly good and insightful writings.

Similarities


I used to listen to daily reflections books, speakers, and therapists and think what they said didn’t apply to me.  I was different and misunderstood.  By not identifying and not seeing the similarities, I made myself different.  I lacked unity and could not move forward.  This mindset creates isolation, a terminal uniqueness.  Part of the problem was that I was not exposing my secrets to others.  I was not letting them know what had happened to me and who I was because of it.  That’s not to say everyone needs to identify with everything.  Everyone is different and has different facts, but when it comes down to it, our suffering is universal.

I can learn from others’ stories.  I can identify and grow just from looking at how a daily reflection speaks to me or from listening to another person’s story.  The facts and details are always different.  We are individuals, but our disease is the same.  Today I can see the similarities.

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