When we are immersed in recovery, our healing journey is a moment by moment experience. Over forty years ago, I was introduced to the Twelve Step program because I wanted my husband to quit drinking. It was evident his behavior was destructive. The Al-Anon program revealed that mine was crazy too. Unaware that my fears were at the heart of my co-dependent behaviors, I was sure that if he changed, I would be happy.
When I started recovery, I wanted simple things like having enough money to support me and our three children. Often on Friday nights my husband would stop at the bar and cash his paycheck. He would give the bartender a portion (so he could go back the next day and get it) and drink the rest. Sitting on the front stoop of our house feeling forlorn and beaten, I would hope that this night would be different. My prayers focused on him coming straight home from work. As I recall this memory, I feel compassion for all of us. That is not what I felt at the time. My actions were fueled by the hurt, fear, and self-pity that was stored in my mind and body.
Now I know that we were all acting out of our preconditioned ways of being. Since I am analytical, I would try to figure out if the alcoholic activities were caused from me not being good enough, genetics, environment, or culture. Seeking someone or something to blame for the predicament I was in obstructed my progress. Accepting that my behaviors, thoughts, and feelings were enabling the addiction cycle was my new challenge. Changing them has been my ongoing mission.
Through Twelve Step meetings, counseling, retreats, and reading self-help books, I began to learn coping skills. To let go of my deep sense of embarrassment and shame, I slowly came to admit that I could not control anyone. It was freeing to know that I was responsible only for myself and I could be happy. The Just for today I will be unafraid and Act as if slogans were useful. Repeating these mantras got me through many trying days.
As part of my initial recovery, my smoking habit became a top priority. Many times, I had tried to quit yet was unsuccessful. The You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay book introduced me to the power of my words. When I incorporated affirmations like “I can” while walking and ultimately running, I started feeling sooooo good. My body and mind were being retrained in positive ways and toxic energies were being released. Joy was intensified as healthy results became my new reality. My heart was opening.
Recovery still means all those things and more. It is realizing that trauma is at the heart of addiction. Not only is it stored in the mind and body, it can be passed down from one generation to the next. Addictions come in many forms, yet the one common denominator is they all destroy a person’s sense of well-being and wholeness.
Embracing the nature of our being and channeling our energies brings victory into each experience. Indigenous healers believe that close to any poisonous plant, is its’ antidote. That closeness is within each one of us. Wherever you are in your recovery, know that you are exactly where you are supposed to be. If you think about it, how could you not be?
Our minds can be perpetually in motion trying to relive the past and project into the future. Minds cannot handle this constant barrage of stress; we are meant to live in the present moment. As a kindness to yourself, it would be good to listen to your own self-talk. Meditation and other mindfulness practices are great ways to increase your awareness. As your true nature is revealed, you heal naturally.
In your recovery, may you feel connected to life so you can relax fully into its’ mystery. One thing I know for sure is that my rational mind does not have the answers. It must surrender to a life force that is unseen yet felt in everywhen, everywhere, everyhow, every what and everything. Directing this energy while feeling the unlimited well of love can enable you to experience possibilities that seem outside your reach. In this Oneness, you can never be lost.
Ellie Peterson teaches individuals how to listen to their own mind and body so they can increase their addiction recovery success. The 2017 University of Minnesota research study found that her Meditative Movements™ technique reduces anxiety, depression, and fatigue, while improving emotional and functional well-being. Visit ppworkouts.com for more information.