Last month I was literally chased out of a funeral.
I am talking out the door, down a walkway and across a parking lot.
Running with all that I had- running away from a drunken & belligerent woman (my mother) screaming obscenities. I wasn’t looking back but I could hear these words close behind me:
” You privileged hoity toity little bitch!” “You just think you’re better than me little girl” and that I had “Better run” —
(mind you I was running for my impending future career and my integrity, not fueled by fear)
Every bone in my body wanted to stop, turn around, and take my shoes off.
But my heart and my head told me to ‘get to the choppa!’
Fight or flight kicked in and I chose escape.
I chose my Recovery.
I chose my progress.
I chose my newly clean arrest record and reputation and finally being off of probation! (lol)
I chose to conduct my behavior like my new self.
Let’s gtfo of here!
Now before you feel sorry for me or label me an attention whore:
I ask that you don’t.
I chose to go, knowing that this is typical of crisis situations in my family of origin.
This drama is not anything new, it has been this way my entire life and I am not left traumatized. I made a bad decision to go, but….
I also made the decision to not allow any extenuating circumstances get in the way of my saying goodbye to someone who was very dear to me for 25 years,
even if that meant there was a possibility that I would have to run like a champ in cute purple wedges.
Also, my motive for sharing this publicly is to illustrate the importance of having a clear-cut plan in your Recovery. We never really know what (or who, lol) is coming our way.
Are you ready to face stress? How will you handle unexpected emotional situations?
Plans are important. Knowing what you believe, who you are, what you stand for and knowing what your Recovery goals are – is important.
So let’s call the above story, a ‘storm’…..
It is a day where I was met with a real-life problem.
The three main things that I wanted to share with you as a result of my taking a mine- filled walk down memory lane were these things:
1. Not everyone will understand or welcome your lifestyle change.
Change could mean accepting Jesus into your heart and life. Allowing change to take place as a result of that decision.
Change could mean deciding to cut people out, stop going to certain places, no more calling this friend or that one, creating distance for one reason or another- all benefiting your Recovery goals.
Change could mean a number of different things for you as an individual.
If you are diverting from what you normally do- expect some form of unexplainable resistance from unhappy people.
Not everyone wants to understand it. Not everyone will respect it.
Not everyone will want to support you.
That was one thing that was very hard for me to process and handle early on in my Recovery.
Why wasn’t everyone happy for me? Even after over 7 years in Recovery, I still have people who hate who I am. There is resentment and hatred like I have never experienced. (In the case of my mother, her mental illness is the roadblock and cognitively, she is not able to grasp, reason or cope healthily)
I have come to a place where I just don’t care about that anymore.
It doesn’t mean that I hate certain people, or that I need to treat them unkindly or disrespectfully if they aren’t cheering me on…
It means that I don’t stop what I am doing or completely change my plans because of them. I chose to take heavy steps forward toward my goals, despite of all of the opinions.
Your adversity will look completely different from mine, but expect it in some form.
Ultimately, God’s plan and opinion are what matter. My changes were drastic, but so was my life situation. Big change was necessary for me, but may not be for you.
Regardless – any amount of change will throw people off.
As hard as it may be, you have to stand behind your commitment.
You have to decide that you want it.
2. We have the power of choice.
A bad day only has power if we let it have power.
Anytime we are met with stress or unexpected barriers throughout our Recovery, we have choices.
We can choose to put our Recovery first, no matter what.
Just because I am in long-term Recovery doesn’t mean that I don’t deal with negative thoughts. I have learned what to do with them. I choose to focus on other aspects of the situation. I choose to believe science. Emotions are not always logical or rational.
They certainly aren’t going to be the basis of important decisions that I have to make… they may be a factor, but not the driving force.
In dealing with the aftermath of my ‘running in cute purple wedges’ day,
at first, I was left feeling completely drained. Empty. A tiny bit confused and angry.
I will never understand mental illness as much as I have tried and I have seen with my own eyes what develops after years and years of drug abuse & chemical dependency.
But after a few hours of being home that afternoon I couldn’t help but be happy.
I chose to be grateful for the life that I have now.
Choice has taught me that I am only in control over my own Recovery.
I have control of my emotions and I choose how I am feeling, depending on how I think about something.
I cannot change anyone else. I can only adjust my sails- for my own journey. I cannot navigate someone else’s, and I have also learned that It is not my responsibility to do so.
So remember -
Bad days will come.
This is real life and being in Recovery doesn’t mean things will be easy. Things will be harder- much harder. We have to learn how to face bad days—-sober.
Choose to stick with facts and truth during tough times, emotional times or times when you would have normally used.
3. Choose God’s love.
No longer do hurtful words stick in my mind or my heart, nor do they retain any power to affect how I feel about myself as a daughter, wife, mother or friend.
I know who I am and I am aware of what I use to be and -I know the difference.
I know that God knows my motives for making boundaries- he knows how I really feel about these people in my family who are sick and fighting personal struggles within themselves.
That’s really what I want people to know.
We have choices.
We can choose to believe truth.
We choose to think positively.
We choose to see the good in a bad situation.
Struggles are inevitable, but no matter what type of adversity, trouble, resistance, stress, or affliction that we have to face—- we can face it all courageously, with Him.
We can get through it, it is not impossible or hopeless.
It is completely do-able.
It won’t consume us, if we don’t allow it to. It may be bad, but it cannot break us.
It is not the end of the world, because we have Hope.
It does not define us because we know who we really are.
It may feel so powerful and strong, but we know we have something more powerful.
So in the middle of a life storm, always choose truth.
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power
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God is our refuge and strength an ever-present help in trouble.