Several times in June, I was asked to bring my particular point of view about recovery into new venues. Both organizations wanted me to propose a new point of view about recovering (from something) and adopting a new perspective about the journey ahead. Both presented a challenge.
One organization wanted me to take a workshop that I had facilitated previously and make it fit into a theme that seemed like an impossible stretch to me. The other organization had nothing to do with recovering from a substance use disorder, but had everything to do with recovering from a life threatening and potentially fatal disease.
After all was said an done, it simply came down to one simple strategy - Loving yourself into a new story. So many of us come into recovery, or into some other difficult and challenging period of time, with very little idea of what loving one’s self is all about, and how very necessary it is.
I came into recovery with no idea of how to love myself. Not only that, but I had so little self-awareness that I had no idea what my favorite color was…or my favorite food…or my favorite anything. My self esteem was based on what you thought of me, how hard the accomplishment was, and what the acknowledgement of that accomplishment might be.
When I found myself at my “bottom” (what I hope will remain the lowest point of my life) I had no idea who I was dealing with. It took months of painstaking self-examination through re-working the 12 Steps that I began to understand who and what I am. I had to learn that taking care of me meant having more to give, not less. I had to learn that taking care of me sometimes meant saying, “No,” and that “No” is a complete sentence. I had to look at the choices I had made, the times I sold out, and the fantasies I had been chasing. Then I had to find the good parts of me.
Then I recognized what I had really accomplished in my life, and that selling myself short didn’t serve me. I recognized that the best example I could set for my sons was to be a sober, relatively successful, and happy human being so that they would know what that looked like. I had to re-frame my life as an heroic journey.
Which is what I shared with both organizations.
I hope I was successful.