The Importance of the Fellowship

run-crawl

“When you can’t run, you crawl, and when you can’t crawl, you find someone to carry you.”  from the TV Series Firefly, episode “The Message”

 

I just had the opportunity to re-watch some episodes of Joss Whedon’s Firefly.  In the episode “The Message” one of the characters remembers what Mal and Zoe told him on the battlefield.  As he said it, all I could think about was the support we all get from the rooms and our fellows.

In my addiction, I was isolated. I thought I was running.  In a way, I was running.  Running to my destruction.  As I hit rock bottom, I lost the ability to run.  I also lost the ability to crawl for a while.  I needed somebody to turn to.  I went to my first meeting because my desperation to be sober outweighed my fear of the rooms.  What I found was support.

There I found someone to carry me.  I found folks who had walked in my shoes.  Folks who had seen the bottom and were carried back from it.  I thought I was so unredeemable, so unique, so broken.  What I found in the rooms were people who could relate literally to my story.  They were on the path to recovery, and I could to.

I needed someone to carry me in those first weeks.  Even today, as I struggle with everything else in my life, I need to open myself to being carried.  That is one part of what the fellowship gives us.

The other part as I have told newcomers every now and then is a knowing ear.  There is nothing that you can tell someone in the fellowship that will shock them.  That has been my experience.  That gives me the faith that I can share anything with the group.

The room may be the first time you have shared your secret with anyone, including yourself.  There have been things I have said in the rooms that I had never said out loud, even to myself.  This was powerful to me.  The fellowship has never reared back and said “that is too much.”  The fellowship never will.

I don’t reach out as much as I should.  I know I should do it more.  I have trouble getting over my feeling of burdening someone else.  It is also hard to admit weakness.  Even though admitting weakness is strength, or at least I believe that now.

I need to be open to being carried along by my fellows.  They will accept me and they will guide me gently along my path.  I hope they will be there for the rest of my life.  I hope I will be there for them.

As I stumble in my recovery and lose my ability to crawl, I will open myself up to being carried by my fellows.  They will always be there for me, and I will be there for them.

 

 

The Ones Who Love Us

love-fear

Do I want to be loved, or do I want to be feared.

A few weeks ago, someone came into the room and gave me a gift.  The gift was the quote for today.  That day was an example of my higher power giving me something that I needed.  The gift came from someone who was just visiting the area and I have never seen them again.

Everyone in recovery has people that love them.  I have many people that love me and want me to succeed in my recovery and life.  My early recovery was a struggle to hold on to things and relationships, not a recovery of myself.  When I heard this said, I reflected and realized that I was manipulating people around me to fear me to keep me.

As addicts we are all self-seeking and selfish people.  The world and the universe revolves around us.  When in our addiction, everything is viewed with those eyes.  Even in recovery it is hard not to view life with those eyes.  I think this selfishness feeds into the quote as well. Fear is a means of control and it is something I have had to let go.  Forcefully at first, but willingly now.

Love is a means of surrendering to our recovery and accepting what life brings to us.  Wanting to be loved is an affirmation that I am the best person I can be today and I am working towards better.  An affirmation that by working on myself, I am working towards being loved on life’s terms.  

I spent a part of that meeting and after reflecting on the fear that I used.  Did I want to be:

  • feared that I will hurt those around me
  • feared that I will betray their trust
  • feared that I will give up on my own recovery and throw in the towel
  • feared that things and thoughts will overwhelm me
  • feared that I will relapse, do the wrong thing
  • feared that the dark thoughts will take over and never leave

I don’t want those things for the people that I love.  I know they will always have fear in their life about me.  I can’t control that.  I can’t control anyone’s feelings.  Therefore I can only control myself.  

I want to be loved.  Therefore I will do the things that make me better and love will come.  I can’t control love, but I can control my acts and my feelings.  I can go to meetings, work on my recovery, try to find my own light.  That is all I can do.

I also have to have acceptance that even if I do the right things, the things I want may not come to me.  I may want to be loved, but that love may not come to me.  That is where serenity comes into play.

Today I will do what I can to deserve love and not fear.  I will also accept that while I am worthy and deserving I can not control other’s feelings.  I will accept life on life’s terms and still be the best me.

 

Surrender and acceptance is so much a part of our recovery.  In our relationships this is so as well.  We have to surrender to our Higher Power and accept the future as it will be, not how we want it to be.  By causing fear in our relationships we are still trying to control and be the center.  

We have to accept that we can’t cause anything in our relationships, actually.  All we can do is control ourselves.  I am in recovery to be a better me, now.  I accept that I can’t control the people that are in my life or out of it.  

 

Pray to God, But Continue Rowing To Shore

Pray to God, but continue rowing to the shore.

– Russian Proverb

Being in recovery sometimes means not being able to see a path forward.  It means that with the uncertainty of the future we get bogged down in the today.  I have struggled with the thought that I can give up the future to my higher power.

The struggle is not with my higher power.  I have come to believe in a power greater than myself.  It is what gives me strength when I allow it.  It is what gives me serenity when I have none.

My struggle is the practical side of life.  The acceptance that while I can give up the worry I still need to do the work.  I like this quote because it really encapsulates it in a visually stunning way.  It is more impactful to me than “Let go and let God.”  Not because that hasn’t worked for me.

It is impactful because I can visualize it and understand it at a gut level.  If you are rowing to the shore and are tired and defeated you can pray that God will reach down with a mighty hand and push you along.  It may even happen.  That doesn’t mean that you can throw your oars over the side.  It also doesn’t mean that you lack faith.

You need to do the work.  The work will open you up for guidance and help in the most unexpected of places.  A friend who only comes around every few years accepts you at face value knowing now the secret you have held so closely.

Having faith doesn’t mean that your Higher Power will come down and remove all barriers.  I wish it would happen in my own recovery.  I mostly accept that it will not happen (we can hope, though, can’t we?).  Faith means that if you open your heart, your Higher Power will make it no harder than it needs to be.  That your worry and anxiety can be given up.

As you walk your own path to recovery, ask your Higher Power for strength.  To take away the anxiety. But if you don’t keep rowing, your chances of making it to the shore are reduced.  I continue to do the work in recovery and mostly in my life.

I hope that today brings you strength.