Monday, June 9, 2014

What My Recovery Looks Like

Years ago, I functioned under the assumption that recovery was what my husband did for his problem.

And my recovery?  Well.
It would naturally sort of take form when Danny's STUFF was all taken care of and his hands were brushed clean, hat doffed, all that.
It was like waiting for the three good fairies to come and spell me into a slumber of ignorance... only to awake when all the crap was over and done with.

Thorns cut?
Fight done?
Dragon slayed?  
Sweet, NOW wake the princess.  But not a minute before...

It makes sense.  It does.  It makes logical sense. 
But it doesn't make actual REAL LIFE, HANDS ON sense.  I found myself in the bulk of life -in the day to dayness of it all -just completely and utterly toeing the line of insanity.  One soft nudge, one gentle breeze and I plummeted. 

I can't tell you how many times that happened.  I really can't.  It wasn't once.  It was a lot more than once.
While it does tug at my heart strings that I seem to need to fall REPEATEDLY before a light bulb flickers dimly over my head... I DO take heart in the fact that -no matter how long it takes me to figure it out -I eventually will start moving away from The Cliffs of Insanity.

And while I feel the hungry itch to put what my own recovery looks like into words tonight, I will start by saying, "It's not at all like sleeping."
There's no fairies.

My recovery is simple.
And it's not easy.
THAT'S how I know it's right for me.  If there's ever anything in my life that is simple and pushes me... it's usually TRUTH.

My recovery means surrender.
It means finding myself in day to dayness and feeling insane.  Is it because I enforced a boundary?  Because I opened up to someone about my life and story and can't manage what happens next?  Is it because someone snapped at me in the line at Wal-Mart?  Is it because my house is messy and I suddenly find myself the butt end of my own shame jokes?
And the beat goes on, by the way.  Plenty more insanity where that came from.

My recovery comes in at that point.  Those situations are inevitable.  When they come up, I have a choice.

or I can REACH OUT.

Reaching in involves everything that is indulgent and peace-but-for-a-small-moment.
It also kind of carries a demotivational poster that reads, "A moment on the lips, forever on the hips."
But I digress...

Reaching out is how I surrender.  I send up a prayer and connect with God.
Heavenly Father, I can not manage or control what it going on.  I can't.  I can't.  I can't. 
I pour my heart out and remind God that I AM BROKEN.
And then God reminds ME that I'm broken. 

At that point, I pick up my phone.
I dial.
I talk.  I talk to someone who isn't at the end of a facebook account.  I have to do more than that.  I have to put myself out there more.  I need to be willing to dial and say, "I am broken."
Whether into an answering machine or not... it yields the fruits of peace.

THEN I write.  Then I take to facebook or Amish pen t' paper.  THEN I send it out into the wild blue cyber.

Because every day.  EVERY day, I come up against situations that make me feel crazy, that remind me that I CAN'T and that put a beautifully clean mirror up in front of me to show me that though I walk upright on two perfectly capable size 9 feet and stand tall... I am very broken, and beautifully so.
The kind of broken that turns clay into pottery and paint into majesty...

I hate that mirror.  I love that mirror.  I sit in front of it and write copious notes.  I observe what I see and I write it down.  I pray to God and ask Him to show me what HE sees in the mirror -what He would like ME to see, and I write.
I share my findings with someone I trust.
Hear that? 

Using what I find, I begin the Clay To Vase Refining Process.
I prayerfully go about how to do it...
Who needs to be part of this process?
What needs to go?
What needs to stay?
What needs to be brought out?
What needs to be mended?

And then I put my feet to the pavement.
Sometimes it's an army crawl.
Sometimes it's a power walk.
Sometimes it's rolling forward because my legs have HAD it.

But any way you look at it, it's CONNECTION with the world around me.

 I have a swear.
Something I just can't allow.
It goes something like, "boot straps" or "big girl panties."
When it comes to recovery, these just do not apply.  Okay, Alicia?  There's no room LEFT in your BODY for emotions to be stuffed down. 
Picking up and carrying on and being big and not feeling.  NUMBING.  GOING IN and getting in my own head about my own shortcomings is just.
So damn futile.

Recovery is the art of connection, vulnerability, and intimacy.

It looks a lot like someone else's job.
But it just isn't.
It's wholly and completely mine. 

In truth: I try diligently to work my recovery every day.
Some days, I don't end up working it.  I get to the end of the day and find myself in a straight jacket plastered in splatters of Nutella, and then I remember.
Oh yeah.  Recovery.  Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda.
Which is 100% more awareness than I had in June of 2012, so I still count that as progress.
not perfection.

I have dailies to keep me on the path of serenity, to remind me that there's a better way.

Work step 12 at least once daily.
Read my scriptures first thing in the morning.
Give one thing daily (a hug, a smile, gratitude, babysitting, a hot pad...)
Email a list of what I eat each day to my sponsor (Nutella happens)

I have bottom lines I strive not to cross.

Don't make jokes about my weight.
Don't report my work outs to my husband.
Don't daydream or plan our 10 year anniversary (fantasizing and daydreaming are amazing at shooting me up with pleasant numbness)
No ring shopping (I have serious fantasy issues.  It comes with being a creative writer.  I should really be channeling my creative imagination into more profitable places.  Stupid Groupon.)

I fail a lot.
And when I fail, it is not fun to REACH OUT. 
But reaching out is the key to all of this: to breaking chains and forging bonds, to clearly understanding God's love and seeing it in the eyes of those I address as Sister and Brother.

The fruits are sweet, so sweet that "sweet" seems like toddlerspeak as I try to put words to how incredible the miracle of recovery is -how incredible The Atonement is.

I have the right to choose, thanks to my Savior and My God.
I choose to reach out TO THEM and to their children.

I choose healing.
Every day, I am given the opportunity to make that choice.

Thanks be to Crissy for putting to paper (Amish Style) something I flippantly joked about earlier... her willingness to sketch me with a cape is pretty much the best Amish stunt that's ever come my way.

Thank you, Crissy girl.
You make me feel like I have He-Man's power.
 By the power of Greyskull...

PS: do I spy a hatchet necklace?!  PRETTY sure I need this framed to go next to my Undefeated Woman trophy.  Awesome.  Just balls to the wall AWESOME.


  1. You, my friend, are amazing, inspiring, and I'm sad that your other friend put your sketch to paper before I got to it! I still might. :)
    Thank you for putting into words what I want to think and feel and experience, as you always somehow manage to do. And I will continue to reach out. Because you have taught me how.

  2. I adore you. Princess Bride references? Please please pretty please tell me you're coming to Togetherness in Oct so I can real life hug you?