We have great news here at The Retreat! Our new National Center for Women’s Recovery is now open to lovingly welcome women suffering addiction into a beautiful space to heal! And it’s amazing! I had the absolute privilege to attend an event this past Friday with about 20 other women to break in the center with amazing energy. We wanted to do this so that the energy from women who have been on the journey before could breathe in healing for the women who are to come next. To be in this new space and surrounded by women who have a passion for recovery and a desire to share their unconditional love and energy was heart changing to say the least. As we embraced this new place for community together, we entered each room and blessed the walls with a love and purpose I cannot put down in writing. The new walls are nothing short of extravagant, but what moved me more was the bursting of love from this group of women in preparation to open the doors and welcome home new family. I have often said there is something magic in these walls at The Retreat that is indescribable, that fact most definitely has not changed even though the paint on the walls and the beams that support the walls are rebuilt.
There is something extremely satisfying to me when I look out the window first thing in the morning after a new snow and see the perfectly clean state of the world. No dog prints, no dirty sand sprays from recent plows, no half melted snow forts. It’s just pure, un-touched perfection! I feel this way often when I know I am starting a new day and living an authentic life to the best of my ability. I don’t get perfection like that crisp morning snow, but I do get a clean and un-touched slate every day! And I do get to take advantage of that fresh slate to practice living in my truth.
As we enter into yet another new year, it’s hard not to look back at what has taken place over 2018. But for me, it’s even harder not to look forward with plans and questions of uncertainty for the year to come. I try to live one day at a time as best I can, but reflecting on a new calendar has me “what if”-ing in wonder and veering off the track of living for today. Some of the wonder is exciting. But honestly, some of the wonder is scary. The un-played days of 2019 haven’t even started yet and my mind wants to prepare for them. Truth be told, I tend to lean into fear. Maybe rightly so, I have a past riddled with pain and hurt. Everyone does. It’s not fun. And my ego wants to avoid painful stuff and control its very existence. The problem is…I don’t get to!! But hey, check this out…I also have a past riddled with joy and triumph! Life comes with both! And isn’t this really just a question of practicing the choice to focus on the joy over the pain anyways? Isn’t it just a practice in letting go and acceptance? A practice of choosing faith over fear? I think so! Its 3rd step genius!! “Gods will not mine” is the brilliance of realizing we get to choose faith over fear. I have that choice each and every day in each and every situation.
Life is hard sometimes. When I entered the world of life in recovery, I thought it was about just not using and redeeming what I thought was my horrible, weak character. Years later, I now know that it is much more. Life, whether through addiction recovery or any other adversity, is about reaching a chapter of spiritual growth. So here’s the hard truth! Spiritual growth does not blossom through the easy, peasy moments. It is birthed through adversity and hardship. And nobody escapes life without adversity and hardship! Here’s the thing…life and people and circumstances are not out to get you, they are out to grow you!
I can’t tell you how many conversations I have had with a woman embarking on recovery that is traumatized by abuse in some way, shape or form. I think we can all agree that the word abuse riles up a certain distain in each of us. But have you ever thought about yourself as the abuser? Ouch, tough question and I bet most would say no way! However, the same women I talk to are also abusers of themselves. This is not an accusation I state lightly as I am also an alumni of abusing myself. I am talking about negative self-talk, self-hate and self-loathing. Regardless of its origin, I believe we are all guilty of this on some level. I used to beat myself up with demeaning and horrible statements when I didn’t live up to my unrealistic expectations. Calling myself a stupid this or an incompetent that. Even for an accidental toe stubbing! Can you imagine if you stubbed your toe and I hollered at you that you were a total moron? Have Mercy, that’s not even logical or remotely loving and respectful!!!! My friends….is this not verbal and emotional abuse? I had to ask myself, would you say these things you claim about yourself, in your head, to another living human being? Heck no!! So why is it ok to have this running commentary in our heads and spirits about ourselves? It’s not!! Its verbal, emotional and mental abuse towards ourselves and by ourselves. And it’s not ok!
Facing the new and the uncomfortable can be hard and terrifying work! This life in recovery has so many blessings and rewards, but it’s not always easy to walk the path in front of you in order to reach deeper understanding and more beautiful moments of growth in life. We must move through the hard and uncomfortable, knowing it is temporary, to keep growing spiritually and enjoy the blessings that await.
Hello my name is Kara and I am addicted to self-will!
Page 62 of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous states “So our troubles, we think , are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves, and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot”…..um….bummer! I don’t know about you but I have never lived in peace and riot at the same time. Of course, I have given it one heck of an effort, but the 2 don’t mesh. Ultimately, through experiencing both peace and unrest, I decided I would like to choose peace. It’s one or the other. And I like peace!
I’m a big fan of the word grace. Not just because it’s a pretty and hopeful word, but because of the significance it holds in recovery and in life in general.