Recovery will change your life and it will give you peace. But this peace may not be what you expected. It will be uneasy.
What is peace?
You might think of answers like an absence of war, a lack of anxiety or a feeling of calmness. Peace can be each of these things, but it is much more. Peace is uneasy.
When you begin your healing journey you long for peace. Or more correctly, you long for an absence of big, gut-wrenching emotions and inner turmoil. These emotions are unhealthy and dangerous to your recovery. You want peace, you want to change your inner emotional world.
You might want to improve your mental health, recover from addiction, heal from trauma or other emotional wounds. The desire for peace can drive you. It is a positive goal, but it is also elusive. Your recovery and your life will change when you realize that peace is not an emotion. Peace is a stance that you take as you live your life.
Ask any performer, soldier, writer, or leader will tell you that inside they feel the same fear and anxiety that you feel. Their personal skeletons are rattling their bones loudly, just like yours. Yet, they take a stance of peace and they are ready to move. They are at peace but they don’t only feel the happy, positive emotions. They feel it all, but they are at peace because of their stance towards life. They accept their place and the steps that they need to take.
You may be at peace, but also feel uneasy.
How is peace uneasy?
Recovery will bring you peace, but it will take you places that you may never have imagined. You will need to face demons and skeletons. Not just because Halloween is around the corner, but because you will need to face your internal demons and personal skeletons:
- Fear and all manner of anxieties. Living without a substance to protect you from your emotions can make you feel like your life is coming apart at the seams. Facing down chronic depression, anxiety or flashbacks can feel like an impossible task. For more on how depression is like a personal terrorist, follow this link. Recovery will push you out of your comfort zone in ways that you never expected.
- Shame and self-blame. Shame is a vulnerability killer. We believe the messages that we are somehow more damaged than the next person, or less worthy of love and attention than others. Shame is a lie that will keep you trapped in unhealthy wounds and unhelpful ways of thinking.
- Wounds that you can’t seem to let go of.
- Internal messages: you suck, you are a loser, you are a nobody, you do not deserve healing/recovery/a good life.
- Secrets that you fear may tear your life apart. Secrets that you find difficult to admit to yourself and that you have not told to anyone
- Living life unplugged – I love listening to unplugged albums because they are more raw, but life unplugged can be damned unsettling. What do I mean by unplugged? This is life without the filter of substance use to shield you from emotions. It is life without avoidance or isolation. It is life without a victim mentality (For more on how to change a victim mentality, click on this link).
It’s worth repeating: Recovery will take you places that you never imagined. Peace is not the absence of fear, but it is the stance that you take towards life. Consider the following 12 stances you can take. You may not feel peace (an absence of anxiety or fear or vulnerability) but the stance that you take will radically change your life and your emotions (adapted from the 12 steps):
- The stance of acceptance
- The stance of belief
- The stance of deciding
- The stance of searching
- The stance of admission
- The stance of readiness
- The stance of asking
- The stance of repair
- The stance of involvement
- The stance of persistence
- The stance of connection
- The stance of waking up to life and helping others to wake up to life
Today, be at peace and remember…
Keep it Real
Photo by Jacob Botter