Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Rewards of Recovery Work

I had a glorious weekend. I am grateful, joyful, and healthier because of the people with whom I spent the weekend meeting, talking, befriending, and praying. I learned a lot about recovery - there were workshops and speakers, meetings and more meetings, and there were conversations. It is the conversations that tend to have the lasting effect on me. A one-on-one or within a small group, there is an opportunity to speak and share honestly about a situation or issue. I tend to share more about my story, and to hear about another's. It is that time where intimacy is created and the authentic me is seen. 

I crave this kind of relationship, and I have been fortunate to usually have this in my life. I reflect on those women who are part of my story, who knew me best during different stages of my life. Childhood friends share in the discovery of everything from boys to independence. High school friends share in the memories of testing that independence, discovering our interests and ourselves outside of our families, and creating memories unique to those years. In college, I was fortunate to have close friendships in my roommates and my classmates, and the memories abound from those adult-developing years. 

It is during college that I met Tony. Life changed dramatically, and the friendship-forming changed just as much. I didn't become best friends with my husband. I so envied the relationships that had that kind of bond. I knew he did not confide in me nor was he completely honest with me. I say that now, but remained in denial for many years to this truth. I withdrew into myself for I had neither the intimacy of my husband to replace the closeness of my girlfriends, nor the liberty to have the same kind of bond with women that I had prior to being married. That hole and conflict plagued me most of my marriage. 

Today I am at a different and new place. I am feeling freed to truly be me, to nurture who God created me to be, and to express the authentic me. I have been fighting for that Sara for a long time. There was so much pain yet so much numbness that allowing her to truly come forth was too much of a risk. This is where daring greatly has had so much impact on me. I am getting more confident in taking risks, showing myself with all its flaws, and willing to face rejection in my relationships. My joy is returning. 

For that joy to be uninhibited, I am also uncovering that which has been ensnaring it. That includes the pains and fears of previous rejection, isolation, and even anger. To get to the joy, I've got to be willing to forge through those issues, memories, and stored up feelings. This is what we just call "work" in recovery. I've been working. I'm glad that I have many cheerleaders who support me day in and out, and those who truly care and love me. It helps so very much. 

I review my life over the past ten months and the changes that have happened. There are many. I am most thankful for the return of close relationships and the intimacy I freely share. My heart seems to have an unlimited capacity for this now. I never imagined that I could love so many, and be loved so greatly in return. This is the reward for this hard work. And it is worth every tear, every fear confronted, and every difficult moment when I thought I couldn't get past it. I write this to remind myself when I need it, for the work is not over. But neither are the rewards. 

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