Recovery Reflections

Becoming Fully Alive

It seems to me that those in early recovery need to be conscious of their goals.  Staying clean and away from the substances that so damaged their lives is obviously the first one; however, that alone will not be enough – for recovery means so much more than abstinence.

Here at Talbot House we suggest to our residents that they consider the notion of working toward becoming “Fully Alive”.

Many times we looked at others and saw what they had and how they lived and we thought we’d like to have the same. At other times, we may have thought, if only I could stop using my substance of choice then everything would be fine. However; hopefully in recovery we begin to recognize that it is not about what we have, or how we appear; but rather being fully alive is all about what we experience within and about ourselves.

This of course can’t happen all at once, but as enter recovery and discover that we have real feelings and allow ourselves to share these with others, we will become more aware of our truest selves.

This is why we always encourage people to gradually begin to trust and share, to come slowly the realization that alone we are empty but with the help, support and at times guidance of others we can become well.

This wellness takes the form of starting to find some enjoyment and pleasure in the gift of the moment and the day. Laughter, smiling, and acts of kindness are all ways that we begin to have a sense of meaning of life and living. Not taking ourselves so seriously and listening to the struggles of others are all ways that we become more connected to others and to all of life and this in turns leads us to the pathway of becoming more fully alive.

Fr. Paul

Be a Someone

Listening in our daily reflection group is usually a powerful experience which has the power to profoundly impact everyone in the circle. Today I was reminded of the experience of feeling that I was lost in the midst of life. In fact, not only did I feel lost, but as well, I wanted it to be this way; I desired to vanish and hoped that people wouldn’t notice me.
For most of us times like this are a temporary condition brought on by a crisis or trauma; and in time we with the help of friends, family and faith we are able to move forward.
However, in group I came to a deeper realization that there are many people in our world and at times in our own small circles who have felt this way for a very long while. Many within the world of addiction have lived with this sense of being a nobody for much of their lives. In fact, this is such a permanent feeling for them they have come to believe that they are unimportant, irrelevant and meaningless and so they live as Nobody’s.
Recovery begins in the experience of reclaiming of one’s own self worth and value. I cannot imagine how recovery can begin to take root in one’s soul unless there is some sense that I am worth becoming well.
One of the first steps in this process is finding one’s voice. For so long many addicted felt that they have nothing of value to say, that no one is listening and that their whole life experience is meaningless.
Of course, this is not true, no matter where our lives have taken us, there remains true value in our life experience. We have something to say about what life means and we need people who are willing to listen to us.
This is precisely why the 12 Step Process is such an important avenue for those who seek recovery. In these meetings one begins to have a sense that they have a voice and what they have to express matters not only to them but to the others in the group who are equally searching for meaning and hope in life.
And so if you are struggling with this sense that you are a nobody; I encourage you to consider finding the places and people who can be a part of your recovery from nothingness to the gradual sense that you too are a Somebody.
Go to a meeting, find a counsellor, sponsor or friend who will listen and stop listening to your voice that only tells you that you are a failure.
Be a Somebody and start today……..

Fr. Paul