Intermediate Recovery: Releasing Certain Recovery Labels
I received news this week, good news, in the form of a package in the mail. News towards which I have been working for nearly 3 1/2 years, longer even than my sober time.
In the interest of privacy, and brevity, because the story could fill the pages of a novel, the package in the mail put a final period on the sentence: The consequences of my addiction. Hmmm… come to think of it, that isn’t even a sentence. Oh well.
Someone once joked that the period of time waiting for this package was longer than the period of active addiction; depending how you define active addiction, that is an accurate statement.
So how did I celebrate this milestone? Did I call every person I know, shout it from the rooftops, rent a billboard along I-95?
None of the above; some friends or family may in fact be finding out the news by virtue of reading this post (sorry guys).
So what gives? I’m not sure, and of course, I am using my old stand-by of this blog to help me figure it out.
The first thought that comes to mind when I pose the question why aren’t you more excited about this incredible blessing is: disbelief. It’s been so long in the making, there have been so many setbacks, I feel like doubting Thomas, needing to put my fingers in the side of Christ before I believe He has risen. The paperwork is in my hands, and I’m still making phone calls in order to verify its existence, for Pete’s sake!
But I think, skepticism aside, there’s something deeper at play here, and, ironically enough, I think it has to do with fear. Ironic, of course, because the very post before this one I wrote how I can’t figure out how fear plays out in my life. Be careful what you wish for!
So of what am I fearful? I’m still uncertain, I mean, really, it’s only been a couple of days since I wrote that I don’t understand fear, how much could I have possibly learned in a couple of days?
On the most obvious level, while the package represents the end of the most tumultuous time in my entire life, a good thing, by extension that means it also marks the beginning of a new era, and change will be afoot as a result. Who isn’t a little fearful of change?
There is also a fear in trusting a process to do what it is supposed to have done, and I can say with certainty fear in trusting that process is an issue. Human error occurs all the time, I know I make mistakes, what if I trust this process and I wind up getting burned? It’s like jumping out of an airplane and trusting that the parachute is actually going to work, certainly that fear is going to run through your head at least for a split second, right? It might even keep you from jumping. Note to self: now that I’ve written that, I will not let this fear keep me from jumping, dammit! See this solution-by-blogging thing is already working!
Finally, and this is the part that is still somewhat elusive, almost hazy, in my mind: I think there’s a fear in letting go of this part of my identity. Which is a really strange thing to say, given that it is an entirely negative identity (I mean, I’ve labeled it consequences of active addiction, the title alone should indicate how negative it is). For the first year of my sobriety, I struggled to come up with a solution for resolving the consequence, the second year, I did the hard work to resolve the consequence; the last year and half was the fight to get my hard work recognized so that the resolution would actually happen.
And now it has, and, I don’t know, there’s this crazy, almost empty feeling. Really, really strange. And yes, now that therapy that I keep “dissing” will come in handy, perhaps my therapist will help me better understand. I hope to have a positive update to resolving this hazy fear next week!
There is a wonderful new website, addiction. com, I highly recommend you check out. And if you choose to do so, why not start with an article that’s got my ugly mug in it? Here’s the link:
Posted on April 8, 2015, in Intermediate Recovery, Recovery and tagged Acceptance, Addiction, Alcoholism, Change, Consequences, fear, Labels, letting go, Recovery, Sobriety. Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.