I’m feeling that this needs to be talked about tonight, so here it goes…
So for the past couple of years, I think that one of the greatest struggles I faced was learning what recovery was. By recovery I mean, that word people often use to describe overcoming any sort of unhealthy lifestyle that consumed you at any given point in time. For me, it was recovering from the symptoms that reflected my greater internal condition that was not liking, even less, loving who I was. When those symptoms finally erupted to the surface, the immediate medical response was to bring a cure into the equation. And so from that moment, I began to wrestle with recovery. And here’s what I learned from that wrestling match:
I was first introduced to a concept of recovery that entertains the idea of adopting a life divorced from any attribute or attitude of the problem. That didn’t really seem like something I wanted a piece of, and I was enormously turned off from recovery; to also add that I was comfortable in the facade of a life with control. I didn’t want to think of letting go of something that I held so deeply and so tightly to. To the point of feeling as though that was the only thing that defined me. So I closed the door on that.
Then I was kind of shoved into recovering. Amidst in my rigidness, I complied to test the waters; to see why everyone would rather label me under a recovering addict than hear my SOS under the false identity I had adopted because I felt like a barren wasteland.
But what followed this encounter were only months of uncertainty. Months of trying to discern whether the reason I was where I was, was because of my own doing, or if I had simply allowed my identity to be shifted from being defined by this “problem” to the goals I was coached into reaching, also making me believe I was doing better. Don’t get me wrong, though- I know that where I am right now would not have been possible without this vital time in my life. It’s so important to have people that love you surround you and definitely coach you and support you through adversity. Actually, I’ll just side note here that, it’s absolutely essential to be in community if any sort of recovery is on the agenda (and I’m positive that this community will also strive to assure the well being of its members, so growth will always be an awesome player within these relationships). But there was a disconnect within me when I went down the checklist that marked my physical freedom from this struggle and the whipping that I felt each time I made myself crawl onto the scale at the gym, or letting the numbers dig their taunting fingers into my heart. So recovery kind of took on the same mask that I had previously been putting on anyway: looking perfect on the outside, kind of a big huge mess on the inside. I lost trust in anything that stood for recovery, as I did for recovery itself. (The awesome part that I didn’t see at the time, though, was that for the first time ever, I recognized I was a huge mess on the inside, and that that really affected me; that it actually really hurt me).
But anyway, I took what I thought was recovery’s better side: relapse. And my hair started falling out again, no excessive amount of brushing teeth could wash away the smell of stomach acid, and I dressed in anxiety and deceit every time I could get out of bed.
So that’s what recovery is not all about.
Let me tell you what recover IS all about:
From what I’ve learned, it’s the process of rekindling the desire to live. And what and how that looks for you, well, that’s your story. And it’s an awesome one.
Recovery, for me, was was erasing that line that was made between an “unhealthy” and “healthy” living style or the common ideology that recovery means divorcing yourself from the person you were. Then, it was taking a first breath and saying, “today I’m going to ask for a hug”. And then the next day, taking another breath and saying, “today I’m going to ask for two hugs”. It was pulling out of the very pits of the gut I had hated the very love that I was made with and created for. It’s taking off the mask, and allowing to be drenched in a commitment to recovering the right and passion to live even if and when the dark hole keeps circling its promises to suck everything out of you. It’s recovering your right to live, because even when your mind says you’re not worth it- your spirit and your heart are screaming the truth: that you are valuable, you are worth it, and your essence is intact and ready to explode in all its beautiful glory the moment you acknowledge that you are love, that love will make you whole; love trumps all lies, and that means that you were created from the beginning for the purpose of breathing, no, absolutely screaming that declaration of victory over those lies of worthlessness.
You’re worth it.
I’m worth it.
It’s not about divorcing anything, breaking anything, leaving anything. Recovery is all about being knit all over again in and with a love that honors your dignity, your life. And knitting, my friends, is the art of unraveling and tangling, unfurling and rebuilding.
Let’s reclaim our right to live, and carry out the reason we are here: ask God for a hug today, and maybe even a whisper to have Him remind you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:13-14).You are worth it. I am worth it. Let’s reclaim our right to live.