Recovery and Identity

As I have committed to radically pursuing healing, I have had to do a lot of soul work. I have attempted the twelve steps before, with differing levels of success. A few weeks ago, a friend and I went to spend some time in the stillness and quietness of a local wildlife park. As we sat and stood by the water, watching the birds, we had some deep conversation. As I drove my friend back to her house after the magical time with the birds, she showed me a new book that she had picked up: Russell Brand’s book “Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions.” My friend had been drawn to his work because of his rewording of the twelve steps that made sense to her. I totally connected to Brand’s work myself. It had to do with the fact that he is rather irreverent, blunt, from England, and his overuse of the word “fuck.” This dude is real. He’s one of my people.

Father Richard Rohr says: “you can tell a lot about someone by what they do with their pain – do they transform it or do they transmit it?” I have gotten to the point where I want to transform my pain, I have no desire to transmit the same pain to others. Brand talks about Recovery being recovering who we used to be. That didn’t quite resonate with me because I lost my innocence before my first birthday. I have many repressed memories from very young, and I used to think I wanted to remember all of it, as if that would give me power. But I’ve begun to realize that whether I ever remember it all or not, healing is my responsibility and I have to heal for myself whether I ever get closure.

So instead of recovering who I used to be, as the little girl that never was innocent, I’m going to work on recovering the person that God created me to be. I’ve been discovering who that person is in the last eighteen months, but there’s so much more about myself and who I am than what I’ve learned so far. Right now I walk in authenticity of the parts I have already discovered, but that authenticity also means that I still mess it up and end up not being authentic and then have to try this whole authentic thing all over again. I’m a deeply flawed human being, but I’m willing to grow into my identity as I discover that identity, and for right now, that’s all I can do. Soren Kierkegaard’s quote “with God’s help, I shall become myself” really speaks to me here. I’ve been using this as a life quote ever since I discovered it.

In order to radically pursue healing, I have to admit that the issues in my life that I need healing from are unmanageable, and that I am powerless over them. As I walk in towards that healing, as I value wholeness, I am learning that honesty with myself and with others is vitally important. And for me, a huge part of this healing is walking in a new identity, or really the identity I always had in Christ but never knew.

We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable. ~ Step One.

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