by Brenda T.

My work in recovery has been very humbling, energizing and healing. During the past 14-plus months I’ve often find myself delighted by the simple beauty of the program. It has not only relieved my alcoholism but also given me tools to address body issues that haunted me since my youth. Unlocking the prison I built around sexual trauma and abusive parents has been a revelation.

Walking with women in graceful recovery has gently loosened the tight corset of addictive behaviors that provided me with false confidence and temporary comfort. Allowing voice around my pain let me connect with others struggling with parallel addictions from trauma—a breath of fresh air in a garden of recovery. 

I just wanted relief

At my lowest point, I felt suicidal and so broken. I was given the chance to heal, to listen and to rest from running away. At first I was scared, sick and seeking anything but another day of isolated drinking. I just wanted relief. Shedding my obstinacy concerning A.A. methods and listening at my Kaiser outpatient treatment program helped. I found a better way to live.

I used to think that because I had a successful business and attended all my sons’ events at school made me “functioning.” Yet counting the hours until I could get home to drink most nights meant I wasn’t spiritually conscious. My old corset of behaviors kept me from finding spiritual solutions. The outward reflection was diametrically opposed to the actual reality of my insanity in alcohol and eating.

Weaving my new cloak of recovery

Allowing my language to naturally form around my spirituality loosened the tightly wound threads of addiction I held on to for so long (workaholism, pride and codependency). Breath through prayer, meditation, walking and dance have given me relief from my compulsion to drink and opened up a beautiful, natural world in recovery. Surrendering to the power of acceptance is so empowering. Cultivating a beautiful network in fellowship through service has given me a new hope and relaxed my depressive and manic reactions.

I laugh a lot easier now

Life has still shown up in painful ways: COVID, family, food, business barely recognizable in this “new normal,” death, divorce and a friend’s serious illnesses. By the grace of God-Universal love, light, compassion, forgiveness and hope, I have found myself more comfortable in my spiritual body. I no longer need that constricting corset anymore. God is also the Great Out Doors, music and my Home Group. And my concept of a higher power is still expanding. A.A. has a wealth of literature and Zoom options to explore individual paths in recovery. Now I have more tips for loosening ties to old behaviors.

I often look at the faces in my loving home group, Each Day a New Beginning, and feel like weeping at the power of our work. They are like spirit boxes: safe, compassionate windows of hope at all different lengths of time in their sobriety journeys. I laugh a lot easier now that I am showing up more authentically. It’s a blessing to release the secrets of abuse. The cloak of addiction I held on to in survival mode was so ill-fitting and uncomfortable. It is great to know I can always access serenity in prayer and service. Weaving my new cloak of recovery blankets me in much warm love and colorful hope.

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