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Reflections from Therapy

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Some things I've learned:

This is kind of long y'all, but it's been awhile. Read it if you'd like, if not that's okay!

I've spent the last few months in recovery, healing from trauma...some from long ago and some more recent. As I make my way slowly back into a new routine, I want to remember and share some of the most important things I've learned along the way...

Higher Power. For me it is God, and I need him. I didn't create the universe, and I definitely don't know how to run it. He did, and He does. Therefore, I choose to daily surrender myself to Him. I ask for strength to make it through the day, and for the ability to make healthy choices. The Serenity Prayer says it well:
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change...the courage to change the things I can...and the wisdom to know the difference"
Because of my Higher Power, I know that I have value and purpose in this life. Which leads me to the next lesson.

Self Care. This is a tough one for me. If I truly believe I have value and purpose, then naturally I would want to care for my body, mind & soul. But I've been under the impression that thinking too much about myself or caring for myself is selfish. This isn't true. There's a difference between selfishness and self care. The Bible says in Matthew 22:39 "...love your neighbor as yourself". If we don't love and care for ourselves...how do we love others?

If I desire to pour out my life for others (which I do), then I have to be refilling on a regular basis. My mind, my body, and my soul are things I've been entrusted with to care for and steward well. So I will choose to read a book. Take a walk. Try new food. Play volleyball. Dance. Go for a hike. Do whatever it takes to make sure I feel loved and cared for. Which leads me to the next lesson...lol.

Affirmation. It is my job to esteem myself. Self esteem is an either/or: either you have it or you don't. It is my job to love and affirm myself. I'm not better than anyone else when I do something good or right. And I'm not worse when I do something bad or wrong. I am human. I do some good things. I do some bad things. And that's OK. I'm not perfect, never have been and never will be. I desire to acknowledge my imperfections and admit when I've messed up. I strive for more good than bad. It isn't anyone else's job to make me feel okay. They can help of course, but ultimately it's up to me. If I depend on others to esteem me, it creates instability. When I don't care for myself...the results aren't fun. Which leads to my next lesson.

Addictions. Most people think you can only be addicted to drugs or alcohol. Not true. You can be addicted to food, TV/movies/entertainment, relationships/love, gambling, etc. An addiction is something that you can't help but do because it gives you some sort of high or distraction from your pain. The problem is that the relief is only temporary. The deeper pain will still exist once the high wears off. And you can't truly deal with the deeper pain until you discover and free yourself from ALL your addictions. How do you know if you're addicted? Try going without (insert the possible-addiction here) for a few days or a few weeks. If you can't...be curious. Ask yourself if there's something that you haven't dealt with that maybe needs to be dealt with...sooner rather than later.

When I don't care for myself well, it leaves room for resentment, unresolved conflict, people pleasing, etc. Un-dealt with trauma, neglect, & abuse are breeding grounds for addiction. I choose to be more aware of my feelings and emotions, to acknowledge them when they come up, and deal with them appropriately. It's my responsibility to do so. Nobody else can do it for me.

If you've made it this far, thanks for reading. I still have a long way to go, the road of recovery is all uphill. But it's worth it. And I'm determined.

PS - this picture was taken at the top of Camelback Mountain in Arizona. It was a very difficult hike but the rewarding view was spectacular.

Huge shout out to my new AZ recovery friends that I've met along the way...y'all have been vital to my recovery process. Love you all and miss you already!!



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