"We want to be great - immediately great - but that is not how recovery works." ~ Julia CameronMany of us in recovery, in this search for ourselves as we allow our children to find their way out of addiction, many of us are examples of contradictions. We are procrastinators and perfectionists. We are dreamers, yet fearful of what success may bring. As we let go of so many "musts," "have to's" and other controls we had placed upon our addicted children we just cannot seem to give that gift to ourselves.
When we are in the deepest chasms of our childrens' spiral into addiction we do our best facing almost daily bad reports from the school, early morning calls from police, the screaming, confrontations, catatonic mornings leading to missed school - the nightmare that becomes our lives. We deal with the nightmare in the only way we know. We return the volleys from our children with equal control, force, threats and confrontation intensified.
The moment we begin our recovery is often etched indelibly in our minds. This is the moment when our sons' and daughters' addiction had us beaten. We were laid bare. We had nothing more.
As Tom Hanks' Chuck Noland said in Castaway, "(We) had power over NOTHING!"
It is a powerful lesson and an equally powerful image from the movie, this feeling of powerlessness that falls over us when we are defeated. We have nowhere to go but outside ourselves.We cannot force the issues that interfere with our recovery progress any more than we can compel our children to take the steps to begin to live lives free from drugs and alcohol.
So where do we go for help? We are taught always to look within. We are taught to draw from the power deep inside ourselves to pull ourselves out of whatever abyss into which we have fallen. This may work on the field of play, but we're not talking about a soccer match or baseball game here.
We're talking about our lives.
Instead of looking at what is "deep within" we can visualize a Power outside of ourselves, greater than ourselves, a loving, gentle Power and say to this entity, "Please, take this burden off my shoulders." We can then in our visualization give these burdens, little by little, to this Higher Power.
We can call this Higher Power God, Universe, Great Creator, Nature, Mother Earth, Great Spirit, or we can simple imagine a force, a presence out there that is greater than ourselves. We can take this small or large leap of faith so we may begin to bring at least, at the beginning of this process, a semblance of sanity onto our lives.
We're not ignoring the issues that have us blocked. We're simply acknowledging and facing them in a different way. We cannot do battle against this disease. We need help, a Partner.
It's freeing. It is letting go. It is not doing the same thing over again and expecting a different result - and we all know what that is!
If we're not careful this not-forcing-the-issues thing will reach into our lives outside our recovery. Like a walk through a forest we've been countless times, for once, when we put our day-to-day struggles aside and for once, allow ourselves to become fully immersed in the moment of that walk, we notice things we never saw or could never have seen before. We see opportunities, chances, angels, that can and are willing to lead us along our path to recovery, to living our lives. We may, when we're ready, take advantage of these opportunities and allow these angels to show us the pathway with their light, their blessed guidance.
And as we walk this proverbial trail we will begin to look for and strive to find those special sightings for which days, months or years before we not ready. In magical moments some will jump out at us like deer often do, refusing to be ignored as a not so gentle reminder of where we are traveling, the beauty of our journey we had up to this point refused to see.
It is a amazing thing, one of those counter intuitive moments we can experience if we let go of our need to control, force and manage. The Universe will come through for us if we are willing to get out of the way and see the opportunities for recovery all around. As I mentioned once to a mentor about my recovery, "It's scary and exciting at the same time."
Aptly put I must say by a fearful procrastinator perfectionist dreamer.