No doubt one of the most offensive things said to me in my early recovery turned out to be one of the best. I was at a retreat surrounded by people who were all participating in their recovery. We were surrounded by beautiful mountains and the fresh air of Lake Tahoe. I went for a hike with the person who said the most offensive yet profound thing I’ve ever needed to hear. I was going on and on (and probably on) about all my troubles. I was lost in all the reasons why my life was so hard. This other person patiently waited for me to be through, listening to every word. When I was done he simply replied “you’re special darlin’, but you ain’t unique.” WHAT?! I couldn’t believe my ears.
I’m sure I turned a few shades of red, somewhere between fury and embarrassment. I tried to refrain from either ripping his head off or curling up into a little ball. My ego felt like a balloon that got popped, out came all the air. I was left deflated. It was years before I looked back on that day and found gratitude in my heart for those words. I once thrived on my problems, they made me who I was. I didn’t know what to do without them. I thought I was cursed and never stopped to think maybe God gave me those problems to one day overcome them and help someone else.
Some things that happen are much bigger than just a problem, like losing a loved one. But even in those times if we don’t have a clear head, someone to call and people to share our struggles with we cannot face our problems. Bathing in our problems will never be the answer. If we continually think we are different, we will find every excuse not to face what’s in front of us. Look to those who have gone before you in recovery or in life in general. Letting go may not be as easy as it sounds, but the power it gives you to be free of your pain is worth a try.
“Recovery is not a place we arrive, but rather a state of being”……… Jean Irvin