Yay! I made it! Year one of my recovery is now forever written in the book of my life. What a year it has been! I have been healing and seeking my truth, all this while bearing witness to the 41 years I had already lived. As I reflect upon the immenseness of it all, I stand in a place of awe and wonder while being simultaneously amazed that I made it this far. I am also genuinely humoured that I started this journey on the 1st of March, the first day of spring (in the northern hemisphere, that is). This is a day declared as the day all new life begins. A part of me must wonder, was this a part of the grand plan or just as a simple case of happenstance?
The decision I made a year ago to heal was not made lightly. It took time to sit with myself and consider my reality. It took immense courage to be honest about where I stood and take ownership of how my behaviour affected my loved ones. Once I knew the magnitude of the alternatives, I chose life and the work that was about to be done!
In the days leading up to this life-altering decision, I had taken a bold step and asked God to shine light into my darkest places (I warn you, asking for this ranks up there with asking God for patience), and He did exactly that. He threw open the windows to my soul, shining light into every dark, dusty, history-filled corner of my being, He revealed everything. He dug up all my skeletons and left them out in the open, He then lay bare the wounds of my heart. He left nothing hidden. Even though I knew what I had asked for, I had no idea that what I had asked for needed so much mending.
Admittedly, any other time in my life, I would have thrown in the towel and run straight back to what I knew, but I didn’t, not this time. No, the conviction in me was absolute; this was not the same as all the other times I had tried to walk away from the destruction of addiction; it was almost as though a different version of myself was standing in my shoes. This version of me had made up my mind, and nothing was going to get in my way. It finally happened; I had aligned myself with the truths I had been speaking over my life. I took hold of the prayers I prayed so faithfully and allowed them to run like wild horses, totally free and unhindered by worry and pain.
At the beginning of my recovery, I learned that this journey was not just about giving up substances and behaviours; recovery is about healing. It is about surrendering misplaced control and providing the real you with the space you need to grow. Recovery for me has been about falling in love with life again. It has been a renewal of relationships and the development of new connections. It is the process of handing over control to God and giving myself over to the realness life offers. Little did I know, I also needed to get to a place where I understood that even though I will forgive many wrongs, I must also seek forgiveness for the wrongs I have caused. This was a tough one, but a reality worth facing because love comes flooding in when you get to the other side of this one.
Did I do this alone? No, no, I did not! Before I even asked for any of this, the people I would need, meet and journey with were already positioned, each perfectly set in place for the path that laid ahead. I would not have made it without my recovery team. I had the support of my husband (this man is an angel, I promise you); he has loved me through it all! Our two beautiful children (God bless their beautiful souls) watched as I went from a mother high and drunk most days to a mother healed and whole. My parents, brothers and sisters, aunties, uncles, cousins and friends poured love into me every step of the way. I had my sponsor and sober friends, add to that a community of people who live a life centred around recovery—and before I knew it, I was surrounded by a group of like-minded people who willingly shared their love, patience and wisdom in the kindest of ways.
Today I stood at the threshold of my new year, and I took account of the year that has just come to an end, and I am genuinely humbled by it all. I say with the deepest gratitude that I am celebrating the wins of every one of those days. I acknowledge that what I had endured did not destroy me; it built me. There was hurt and shame that needed tending, but once my wounds were washed clean, I could shift into a space of healing and take account of the beautiful life I have been living. The unrelenting magnificence that has been revealed in this life has proved to be priceless and worth holding on to. The hurt has long faded, and the joy of life has coloured my memories and brightened my days.
I finally see my truth in these recollections. And I am overcome with gratitude as I realise that my life is overflowing with answered prayers and love everlasting. I have so many days that have the sound of laughter as the tune to which I dance. I can still remember how love took the lead while barefoot dancing under the oak tree and the sound of our giggling babies as we play in the rain. I hear conversations with my parents where wisdom was imparted, and I can feel the familiar arms of friends wrapped around me, holding me strong while tears fell. I can hear the hearts beating in times of joyous occasion. I think of the moments in time that my brother’s and sister’s presence is etched out into. I am grateful for the ones I love, those who are present, and those whose paths have crossed my own. I am thankful for the strength we draw from each other, and I am looking forward to the adventure that is yet to come.
Photo Credit: BM Nicholson Spring of 2022
Theme song: Lauren Daigle – Hold On To Me