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.
I like it because it’s something that just is. We can’t earn it by doing more, being more or having more. We can’t lose it by doing less, being less or having less. It just is. It’s an unconditional gift from your higher power! A gift we can receive and then someday pass on to others. It’s a solid stepping stone and the glue in our journey to sobriety and peace.
Most people who are in recovery have been at the depths of brokenness, including myself. That place of serious darkness, hopelessness and emptiness. Full of shame and crying out in desperation, we reach a point of wonder at how we can dig ourselves out of the blackness. For me that digging began with the acknowledgement of grace in the process of healing.
Crazy grace! It almost doesn’t make sense. It goes against everything taught in this world about being good and doing well and going for success and living the dream. It’s the opposite of the punish and reward system that defines so many. It goes against the need to hold on to shame and guilt felt by alcoholics and addicts. That nasty shame and guilt that has kept us down. Grace is the key that lifts us back up and out of that shame and guilt. Grace is letting go of expectations we place on ourselves and others and giving up on things in which we cannot control. It’s hard to grasp! Grace accepts us where we are at and appreciates our journey. It loves us just as we are and tells us we are good enough. It encourages us to press on and embrace our life lessons. Grace gives us the ok to be ok right where we are.
To reach out for grace in the depths of loss, confusion, failure and pain takes practice and faith. It means taking a risk. We must make the effort to understand that in our own power, attempting to fix everything and control everything is not working.
So what is the alternative if effort and self-will are not doing the job? The alternative is to allow ourselves some grace and to practice letting things go to our higher power and be confident in his ability to handle our lives. It’s OK to hurt. It’s OK not to have it all together. It’s OK not to be strong all the time. It’s OK to have fear. It’s OK to make some mistakes. It’s OK to question your path in life. It’s even OK to question God and what God is doing. Because grace covers all of it. And grace helps you to not stay in those places. It gives us permission to let the recovery process take its course. It’s bigger than our mistakes, its grander than out self-hate, it more beautiful than our ugliest defects of character.
So cut yourself a little slack, be gentle with yourself as you discover who you are. You have more worth than you can imagine. You deserve a little more grace for yourself in your life. Embrace the adventure ahead. Breathe again. Grace has got your back and will pick you up when you trip! So as you search and discover this life in recovery, know that the gift of grace is there and will bring you the peace and happiness and growth you so readily deserve.