Saturday, November 29, 2008

Seeking recovery

When I first found SLAA I wanted to end the pain of my obsessional behavior, but I don't believe I honestly wanted recovery. I wanted to feel better about myself, but I kept turning to the disease in search of the only source of "feel good" I'd had in a long time. I had no foundation at that point to have faith in anything, even though the promises recovery offered sure sounded good.

I did come to believe, after the insanity continued, that it was going to take something bigger than me, bigger than any human power to save me. But, I wanted to be rescued from my insane behavior, not work for it. I had made a lot of half-hearted attempts at turning my will and my life over to the care of God as I understood God. But I was scared to death to surrender that illusion of control. I was seeking a self-made solution, but I had not been willing to follow the path to recovery as outlined in the AA Big Book and our SLAA text. I just wanted the source of that recovery to "appear" in my life and rescue me. I spent a lot of time in this particular phase -- thinking that if I just showed up that was going to be enough, that eventually the recovery would show up and I'd embrace it. And it's true that the fact that I just kept coming back did eventually get me to look around and say, "OK, all these other people are getting it ... what's going on with you?" And when I did that I began to truly seek recovery, rather than wait for it to find me.

The word seek means "To try to locate or discover; search for; To endeavor to obtain or reach; To go to or toward; To inquire for; request." The bottom line of all of those is some form of effort on my part. Seek doesn't mean to sit still and wait for it to land in my lap. One definition of recovery is "restoration from a condition of misfortune." Before I surrendered my will and my life absolutely, I wanted someone to just give me that restoration, so I could go on about my life. I was seeking serenity, a lifting of my desire to act out, great relationships and all the things that recovery offered, but I didn't have the willingness to work for them. After all, wasn't I entitled? I had been horribly victimized as a child, and my acting out was all about me trying to deal with that.

I heard something today that described my condition then: "Doing the right thing brought momentary happiness, but it was not enough to sustain me." I can stop acting out, but that's not enough. There's more. What?!? More. Isn't that enough? Withdrawal and avoiding relapses was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life! There's MORE???

Just as I have to eat three meals a day to keep up my energy; just as I can't exercise once a week and expect to lose two pounds; just as I can't read a single chapter of a book and expect to know its contents, seeking the path to recovery means working a diligent program of recovery throughout the day every day. It means building a foundation of faith by seeking a relationship and intimacy with myself and my Higher Power, not just once a week when I sit down to do step work, but through regular prayer and meditation -- improving my conscious contact. It means learning the tools that work for me and using them consistently, not just once but again and again and again, even if it makes me want to vomit.

Today I am seeking recovery not only because I want the restoration, the peace, joy and freedom it offers, but because I have surrendered my fallible ways and need to know what steps to take in an onward direction. It took every step I have taken to get here, and it will take one step at a time to go forward. I'm simply thankful that I can clearly see the direction is forward, because I am doing the work offered by my Higher Power to propel me ahead. The path is outlined in many texts including the AA Big Book, the SLAA Text and any number of religious and spiritual volumes. There are many people in my life and in the 12-step rooms who are willing to help direct and guide me and you. All we have to do is seek it.

Thanks for listening and being a part of my journey.


vicariousrising said...

This post gave me chills. It is so eloquently written and true. You have come such a long way and I am so glad I've been following your journey. You inspire me. Thank you.

Marilyn said...

Hi--I am an alcoholic who has been in recovery for 12 years. As they say, one step at a time, because I can't believe it has been so long. I STILL go to meetings because if I don't, that "alcoholic thinking" comes back which tells me I can drink normally again. About 18 months into my sobriety, I met a man in the rooms of AA and I gained another addiction, sex. I even wrote a book called Crazy in Lust, which chronicles the total insanity of this very abusive relationship. I finally gained the courage to detach from him. My book shows that you can be addicted to a person as well as a drug or alcohol.

Anonymous said...

I was really moved by this post. I too wanted relief, not "recovery," whatever that is. I certainly didn't have a clue.

Thanks for sharing your journey

Michael said...

Thanks for sharing

MargauxMeade said...

Beautiful post, Rae. I really admire your dedication to healing--you're working so hard and it really shows. Keep up the fantastic work!