"You learn to speak by speaking, to study by studying, to run by running, to work by working ; and just so you learn to love God and man by loving. All those who think to learn in any other way deceive themselves."
Above the block of Seven Changes on the "Contact Us" page of my website is an invitation to share "Stories of Joyful Change, Stumbles, Laughter, Tears and Small Victories Toward Our Recovery." The "Contact Us" page is meant as a place for "Shared Exploits and Other Information for Your Journey." This is the place at the Depot to unburden. The words of the Seven Changes were chosen carefully and over time. I often wonder if these will have different meanings for different souls, with changed interpretations depending on where each soul is on his her her personal recovery journey.
I began with three words - Breathe, Trust, Laugh - then inspired by the video Celebrate What's Right in the World by Dewitt Jones I added Seek, Hope, See, Love to the trilogy.
Through this process I admit I began to see myself as a fraud and pretender when confronted with #3, "Laugh". This one is the hardest for me and the most difficult of all the "Changes" to work into my daily life and incorporate into my recovery journey.
As I was developing this core of Seven Changes, as often happens, I was inundated with readings and devotionals that seemed to provide answers to questions I did not know to ask. These seven, these seemingly unattainable actions, mindsets and disciplines for all of us whose children have been kidnapped by addiction, can be summarized in one overarching theme: IMMERSE!
Too often as we devote ourselves to controlling, fixing and curing our addicted children we become strangers to our own lives and well being. We have disappeared, stopped showing up and in many cases abandoned our lives for a misguided crusade to save the addict.
We remove ourselves from life, from our lives.
The word immerse is defined by Merriam Webster as: "to plunge into something that surrounds or covers, to plunge or dip." The word owes its derivation from the Latin 'Immersus", past participle of immergere from in + mergere, to merge.
OK, I know, enough of that please! I offer the definition only to explain the act of immersion as primarily a PLUNGE rather than a dip as in the second definition.
I often encourage my wife to dive into our pool rather than her preferred slow progressive step down the pool ladder. The dive, the plunge, I tell her, is a much more joyous experience. The sensation of the pool water as it "surrounds" and "covers" me is one of my favorite summertime experiences. For a few brief moments I allow the water to rush past as I experience in those few seconds the wonderful weightlessness of the "plunge". I am at the mercy of my surroundings! I allow myself to have little control over the process of the dive.
I offer the etymology as a reminder of the true meaning of the word "merge". To immerse is to become one with your surroundings. We are not apart from our lives, our surroundings. We are inextricably linked, merged with our surroundings, our lives. Or we can be.
To separate ourselves in any way from this truth goes against nature.
Do I always plunge into life's mysteries, merge with this beautiful God-given Universe surrounding and beckoning me?
Those of us who have begun our journey of recovery know that it's progress, not perfection, to which we aspire.
You can start by simply taking a walk. If you feel the need to listen to some soothing music make it background to Nature's majestic symphony. Love the people who love you and pray for those who may not - not so they change to your liking, but in hopes they find a peace within themselves. Seek laughter, feel the pain but exhilarate in your recovery, even your smallest of victories. Immerse, Immerse, Immerse. Breathe, Trust, Laugh, Hope, Seek, Love, See.
There's a lot out there for us if we're willing to take the plunge.