01-21-2005 I began my recovery when I had a spiritual experience where I felt LOVED that made me want to change my life. #rantwarning
Life did not get easier, life got much harder and I needed the relief that I believed only alcohol could bring. To someone else, my slips might not mean that much, but I had made a commitment to God to be different – so to me, picking up a drink felt like a betrayal to the love that I believed saved my life.
06-09-2013, after my mother’s death, I committed to staying sober under any & all conditions, regardless of how hard life got, but it never felt like my ‘clean’ date. My clean/change date always felt like the day of my spiritual experience. The day I wanted to change and recover and felt the power within me to do it. The day I started to try so hard, I was willing to ask for help. I made mistakes, wrong turns, etc from my dysfunctional ways and ideas of thinking - it was all part of the path. It all worked out once I embraced that this was my own path and no one could walk it for me. I couldn’t have learned my lessons any other way. It is all a part of my recovery.
I needed my 12 step recovery to learn how to walk that path without picking up a substance. I needed tools, but I’m feeling like the message lately is limiting my thoughts.
Lately, it feels like a glass ceiling under which people have the right to shame me if I am making choices that feel guided by my God, but do not live up to living “their way.” It feels oppressive. I will not be oppressed or silent about what I believe is right. That said, within that right, I have the right to correct and apologize if I feel I was mistaken on some level. I apologize for my part and am utterly disappointed when the other person does not acknowledge their own.
But I also have the right to be true to myself and be guided by my God in the present moment and not have that right taken from me. I have the right to speak and ask questions and be curious. I am a person that speaks up and has a voice when I think something is wrong. My voice has led me to be an advocate for actions that directly impact people’s lives. I like that part of myself and I will not allow her to be silenced to be liked because to speak to be liked opposes the need for having a voice at all. If there was no fear, I would not require courage to speak what I believe to be true.
I check with my God before I speak my truth – I don’t have to check with anyone else. I answer to GOD. I will continue to make mistakes, speak out of passion for things I VALUE. I allow myself the grace to make as many mistakes as I need to learn my lessons in this life.
Recovery is not only a 12 step program. Recovery is finding what was lost. A part of what I lost was my voice trying to people-please people that would never be pleased. Trying to earn their love. Love does not need to be earned, it is given FREELY.
My victory lies in my surrender not to play the game. To not care if you respect, value or approve of me if I do not respect, value or approve of you. That is where people-pleasing ends, when I realize the only power you have, is the power I give you.
A direct result of me practicing recovery – and it is a practice - a meditation - a daily trying to be different — is that I do not accept being shamed today. Shame is the problem, not the solution. I feel shame when MY actions do not line up with MY values - not when my actions do not line up with YOUR values.
Time did teach me how to make a commitment and stick to it. Interesting thoughts, but I’m allowed to think and speak for myself - aren’t I? My recovering is to allow myself to be all of myself without needing to hide in a drink, drug, food, cigarette or relationship to be okay. To ask and allow my God to help me forgive people when they hurt or offend me, but also help me set boundaries to prevent the same actions (or worse) if the future. This is my truth and I’m okay with that. I accept myself.
I hope you can be all of yourself too, without hurting yourself or putting yourself in a position to be disrespected, devalued or otherwise oppressed.
In Love, Loyalty & Service,
Author | Counsellor | Advocate
Frances Stone is the Author of A Reflection of Love ~ A Different Kind of Love Story, a Recovery Counsellor and a Radio Co-Host of Talk Recovery Vancouver, a show about addiction and recovery issues, located in the DTES of Vancouver, BC. In her spare time, she does laundry and mothers three clever, curious and challenging little humans.