I was recently asked about Recovery and the group I am involved with. It led me to think about what it means for me, and this blog evolved in my head…. Hoping it will make it to publication lol
We tend to live passively, with spurts of action when needed. coasting along where ever life takes us. As young adults, we make choices and most of us then follow where those choices take us. For many this works… for others we get derailed, life throws us curved balls or childhood stuff just means we can never meet our full potential
For a lot of people that leads to Recovery.
A word usually associated with dealing with substance abuse; but within the group I am in, it also means recovery from MH or non-substance addictions – damaging behaviours.
Recovery here doesn’t just mean living in sobriety
Addiction is insidious, and at its peak, it is all consuming. Taking people from where they thought they would be, to a complicated life, where they rely on substances or behaviours to get through. Often those behaviours don’t get them through at all, they just acerbate the problems, and lead to anxiety, rage, depression, self-harm, self-loathing or even suicide. Not all addicts have substance issues. Some have behaviours that cause issues with their health, family, friends and work….
Whatever the issue, recovery is how we deal with it and heal.
When I came into Recovery, it was for MH problems. Depression, anxiety, appalling self-esteem, insomnia, burnout – a whole host of issues. I was at my lowest ever. Felt like I was sleep walking, I was doing the bare minimum to keep things going. Finding no joy in life. Drinking too much, eating badly, spending hours on the couch watching crap tv. No motivation to move.
I accidently asked for help and then gave myself 3 months talking to a couple of people, and then I would resume life….
Ha ha ha. Readers, this is not how the story went…..
I “pink clouded” for a year. Thinking I was better. When in fact all I had done was swap 1 set of behaviours for another. Putting all my recovery in 2 baskets. In the same week I lost both. I hit my new rock bottom and had to start again.
I had started going to online recovery meetings – feeling like an interloper – because “I wasn’t an addict”, I wasn’t like the other people I had met. I knew I wasn’t addicted to alcohol; I had merely been self-medicating. And before anyone says I’m fooling myself, I have done a lot of work on this, with people I respect.
But, over the course of time, I realised I did have a lot in common with “addicts”.
The same view of myself as a fraud, unlikable, unattractive.
The same busy brain – we sometimes call it washing machine brain – always whirring.
The same over thinking ability – over thinking is at Olympic level for us.
The same insidious anxiety.
I found others who had lived their lives like a chameleon – a mask for every situation; changing ourselves to fit in, to be accepted – presenting ourselves as how we thought people wanted us to.
The same need to people please – to fit in, to be liked.
The same need to control everything and everyone around us. If everyone just acted as we need them to act – everything will be ok.
The same co-dependency issues.
The same negative voices in our heads – that mantra of you are not good enough; not smart enough; not nice enough…
The same feeling of running a marathon every day – just to manage everything we felt we were responsible for
I found people describing Me and how I saw the world – some never having met me. And THAT was the revelation that really started my recovery
I mix with 12 steppers; people who do SMART recovery; people who don’t do meetings, people who do.
People who have substance addiction, others who don’t.
Some who have hit a rock bottom or 3, and some who swerved before they hit the ground. (and no 2 rock bottoms look alike – not everyone loses their jobs, houses, families… sometimes rock bottom is the realisation that the life you lead is sucking the life out of you)
We find the common ground, not the differences. There is a HUGE comfort in realising you are not the only one who thinks or feels this way
So, what does living in Recovery look like?
A lot of the time it is just laughing.
The meetings I go to, are not a litany of how crap our lives were, or how much was drunk, or how many DUI’s were incurred, or how much money was lost through gambling… They are coming together to share how we are living Now, how we tackle those curve balls that life still throws, without them derailing us. How we accept the things that are within our control (just us) and the things that are out of our control (everything else lol)
My Recovery looks like choosing to live life on my terms.
I have found people who get me. And I take their counsel
I make choices of what and who I have in my life
I have learned to slow down; to breathe; to meditate.
I no longer have a bitch troll living in my head. She has been replaced by a group of voices who build me up. And quite recently “Chrissie’s Voice of Reason” – my new inner voice who reminds me of what in life is good for me
I spend way more time in nature – my serene place.
I no longer spend all my time pleasing others
I have found my voice
I have recognised my damaging behaviours and deal with them as and when they arise
I challenge myself – this year’s “word” is Fearless and I try to approach everything fearlessly.
My recent overseas trip was a whole exercise in Fearlessness. And as well as a physical journey, it was definitely a spiritual one. And somewhere along the line I went under a fundamental change. I have found a deep calm, that I am determined to keep recovering to maintain
I called this blog Life Chosen – because Recovery IS Life Chosen. No longer passively drifting through the currents. But choosing how We Live.
If any of this strikes a chord with you. If you are finding life too hard or you have behaviours you know are damaging, please reach out. On Twitter there is the #RecoveryPosse waiting to help you start your Life Chosen
2 thoughts on “life chosen”
Oh my beautiful friend on the other side of the world. I am so thankful for finding one another through #recovery posse on Twitter. Being along in each others journeys to become who we are. You are so inspiring to me – others too. Thank you for sharing your wonderful gifts with words.
LikeLiked by 1 person
Awww thank you. You too are an inspiration to me, and others… I have met some remarkable people I the last 3 years. 💜