Recovery During a Season of Grief

Recovery is hard. I’m not going to sugar coat it as anything other than hard work and tenacity. There are seasons of rest and joy and celebration when the work pays off, but there’s also a need to be honest with myself about the pain that has driven me to do the things I do and make the choices I make and a willingness to work through the pain I’ve spent decades avoiding because the only real way out is through. But those times I get that victory, and those hurts get healed…it makes every step of the journey worth it.

And then, I suddenly find myself an orphan. And the one person who had been there from my first memory isn’t there anymore. Suddenly, recovery becomes like trying to drag a 50-lb. boulder tied around my waist up a steep mountain on a path I can barely see anymore. It takes concerted effort just to put one foot in front of another. It takes a lot of setting aside time just to sob uncontrollably in a safe environment so I don’t lose it in a public place. It takes relapsing and running back to food to find some comfort when there’s none to be had. And then it’s shame because I feel like I failed, and I’m right back to step one…again and again and again. Recovery is hard. Recovery in the midst of grief is a battle. I lost a few skirmishes along the way. But I kept fighting. I’ve been bloody and bone-weary and felt like giving up. But I kept fighting. I’m still so very sad, and I miss my mom so much sometimes it is a palpable pain. But I keep fighting. I keep taking one step at a time, even if it is just an inch, because I know the fight is worth it. I know there is still hope and healing in honesty. I keep trusting the process. And I put my hand into the hand of the only Parent I have left because I KNOW He cares for me, and He will never leave me. And the journey continues.

Recovery is hard. Grief is hard. But I do not walk through either one alone. I have a team. I have encouragers. I have those who just sit with me and let me cry. I have people who pray. I have a coach who tells me the truth even when I don’t want to hear it and never gets upset when I say I’m not ready to talk about something. I have mentors who have walked the path before me. I have those who reach out when they haven’t heard from me in awhile because they know my tendency to isolate and shut down when I’m hurting. And I have a few friends that stick closer than sisters. I am not alone. Because I know I’m not alone, I know I can keep fighting. I can do the hard, “one day at a time, one moment at a time”.

Who Am I?

It never ceases to amaze me the contemplation that often arises for me from the fanfiction I read. Maybe it is because I am drawn to fiction about the broken characters with whom I relate in entertainment media, whether it be literary, television, or film. After a long stint in Star Wars (Reylo stan, that I am), I have returned to Sherlock and my beloved Sherlolly ship. I have been reading a two-parter by LaMorenaReina on AO3 entitled, “Molly Hooper, The Reigning Queen” (I want to give her the credit she is due), a post-TFP fic where Molly spent time finding herself after she realized that she had completely lost who she was in loving Sherlock. After their friendship is restored, Sherlock expressed how he felt like he had reached a “crisis of identity” where he is struggling to figure out what is truly him, and what is the persona he had put on for self-protection. Molly acknowledged that she understood, and that it was “scary and frustrating”. I have been processing a conversation I had with my sponsor the other day about how IMPERATIVE (she usually emphasizes that word) it is for me to find out what I like and who I am, and it suddenly dawned on me that this is exactly where I am.

I keep thinking back to a conversation I had with a family member who told me that I was starting to “rediscover” that strong, independent, happy child she remembered as a toddler, and I was dumbfounded because she was describing me as a person I do not remember. I still struggle so much to see myself as someone who is not weak, scared, and unwanted. Yet, if the perfect storm of situations in which I have found myself the past few months have proven anything to me, it is definitely that I am NOT weak. I have discovered many things about myself over the past three months; I am stronger, wiser, and more capable than I ever thought I could be. So, what do I do with this influx of new information about myself? How do I let go of this view of me I have had for almost four decades in the face of such contradictory evidence? I have this real fear I do not know myself at all. To what level, in my desire to be known and accepted and loved by others, did I give up my own personhood?

To be continued …


So, it’s been awhile since I posted anything. I can’t say it has all been bad, or I’ve been depressed, because thank Father, that has not been the case. And I’m thinking how I posted I was going to share the reality of recovery which includes the good and the bad, and yet, I haven’t been doing that. I want to change that.

The work of recovery is hard. Is it as hard as not dealing with my junk? I waffle on that. Gaining victory is worth it, and I am always glad I did the work when it’s in the rear view mirror. When I’m in it though, I still struggle with the desire to hide away from it; the pain, the work, reality. I struggle with taking that first Step. I recognize that I spend less time hiding than I used to, but it is still my first response. I have hope that one day that will not be the case.

This week has been filled with trigger after trigger, and I have not always dealt with it well. But I have been using my recovery tools. One of those tools is an exercise my sponsor taught me to take my fear (specifically in this case, although I guess it can be used for any emotion) and continue to break it down by what comes next if that fear comes to pass until I get down to the core belief that is driving the fear. Almost every time I do this exercise (which I have made abundantly clear to my sweet, patient sponsor I absolutely HATE doing!), it comes down to the same core belief. I do the things I do out of fear of rejection because somewhere deep down I believe I am unwanted and not worthy of love. So many choices I make, often unhealthy for me, in regards to other people are done to please others and keep them from rejecting me. I spent years unhappy in legalism because I wanted to be accepted and loved. When my unhappiness couldn’t take it anymore, even then my husband had to be the one to make the decision to get out of the situation because I could not bear the thought of losing people I loved. And I did. I’ve made multiple financial decisions that have been detrimental to us because I thought I needed to “earn” love, or I wanted to shower those who did love me with my appreciation in the hopes that they would stay. I didn’t say any of these decisions were rational. In fact, I am learning that lies that have become core beliefs rarely operate logically because they come from a lower part of the brain function, more automatic response.

All of that to say I came face to face with this particular core belief multiple times this week. I realized just today that I hate doing this exercise so much because it causes me to see a part of myself I don’t like. And I struggle with wondering if it really is a lie. And that’s the crux of it, the reason I don’t like seeing it…because of that little voice that whispers, “What if it’s true?” So I asked Father, “Is this true?” Scripture after scripture flooded my mind:

“I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:14‬ ‭

“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭5:8‬ ‭

“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;”
‭‭I Peter‬ ‭2:9‬ ‭

“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
‭‭I Peter‬ ‭2:4-5‬ ‭

“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:29-30‬ ‭

All of these Scriptures combine to tell me one thing…something spoken by a dear old saint that has resonated with me ever since I first heard it… “God doesn’t make junk.” The mere fact that I am alive and breathing conveys worth to me. The fact that the Son of God willingly gave up His rights to come to earth as a man, suffer humiliation, rejection, torture and death in order to return me to relationship with Father conveys value to me. The fact that I am redeemed not as a slave or a servant but adopted as an heir, a co-heir with the King of heaven…what does that say about my worth to an infinite and holy God? And not because of anything that I have done or haven’t done. Simply because He made me. That is a concept I am, really for the first time, beginning to contemplate and try to get my head around.

“He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:32‬ ‭

“And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.””
‭‭John‬ ‭8:32‬ ‭

Celebrate Recovery, even when I don’t feel it

I’ve had enough for today. I am feeling very overwhelmed. Leaning on the knowledge that I go to CR two very specific times…when I want to, and especially when I don’t. I would rather crawl into my bed, pull the covers over my head, and stay there the rest of the day. Maybe sleep until a new day dawns. But instead, I will take a shower. I will brush my teeth. I will get dressed and drive across town where I will rehearse with the praise team. I will sing to my Father because I know He loves me even when I struggle to feel it (thank you, Lauren Daigle, for putting that into a song). I will rest in knowing I am not alone, and I am with people who understand, maybe even some who feel the same. I don’t feel it, but I am doing it anyway.