Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Process

We begin our journey into recovery by undergoing a process. That process takes us through stages of growth and change. As we move through the various parts we undergo a tremendous paradigm shift. We begin by seeing ourselves through our own myopic view. As we move along our path we come to see ourselves through the eyes of others. It is truly an illuminating experience. One only tackled by the bravest among us.

As we begin our expedition we may see an initial glimpse of how we are perceived by others. Our initial reaction may be one of denial. We may have a great deal of trouble accepting what we have experienced. There may be much shame and fear involved. Our defense mechanisms kick in to protect us from pain.

Over time as we repeatedly see these glimpses of ourselves and our behavior our defense mechanisms may falter and we may not be able to remain in denial at all times. This may produce pain. Our reaction may be to become angry. We may be infuriated at the thought that the world is not as we have perceived it. We may feel duped and shamed by our inability to discern accurately. We may be fearful of further disclosure. Anger protects us from feeling the full impact of our new knowledge.

As our anger subsides we may begin to bargain, with ourselves and others. Our defenses are again protecting us from the full brunt of incorporating our new knowledge. We may rationalize our behaviors, or the behavior of others as acceptable due to extenuating circumstances.

Eventually bargaining no longer protects us from the full impact of how we are perceived by others. We see ourselves for the first time with all our dysfunction. It is a painful moment. We may feel depressed as we process this information. But it is an important moment. We are at the true beginning of our recovery process. It is from this desolate place that we can rebuild into our best self.

We work hard, using our tools, practicing self care, taking three steps forward and two steps back, letting our higher power guide us along our path, coping with disappointment and frustration, having patience with ourselves as we falter. We rage and scream as we fight the changes that must be made for our higher selves to emerge. We may see no improvement for a time and then suddenly we see it... we have responded differently to a situation that previously caused us much consternation. We have changed!! Hope emerges like the sun on a rainy afternoon and we bask in the knowledge that we are succeeding. We have come to a place of acceptance. Our process works, we are secure in the knowledge that despite setbacks we will continue along our path, and our future brightens.

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