© by Robin M. Gilliam
The other morning I was blessed to witness a mother bird teaching her babies to fly. She stood proud on her perch as the babies practiced their take off and landings. And the amazing thing – it was raining. I asked her, “Why now, in the rain.” She said, “Because it’s time.”
Recovery is like that. It starts during a storm because it’s time. It’s time to face the desperation; the unmanageability; the near misses with death. Like baby birds that are launched from a safe nest over 20 feet off the ground and told flap now and flap hard, addicts are also launched into an unknown landscape called recovery. Absent our substances of choice, nakedly exposed to the world, we must learn how to use our wings to fly into our recovery.
At times the pain of life can be sharp as a knife. When we first get clean, our pain is from physical withdrawal as our bodies let go of poisons. Once through withdrawal, we experience mental triggers—a sound, smell, person, or place that can trigger memories of trauma, abuse, and/or neglect that can send us spiraling into very dark places—where the only answer seems to be to crawl back into the nest and safety of our substance.
But there is another answer – recovery. Recovering first our bodies and then our mental capacity to manage our addiction. You heard right – we need to manage our addiction because it is cunning, baffling, and powerful. It whispers lies that promise us relief and comfort from our own fears, doubts, and insecurities; delivering instead despair, self-destruction, and possibly death.
Artwork by Robin M. Gilliam ©
Like baby birds, we must spread our wings and flap hard to develop our ability to fly away from addiction and into recovery. We must own our recovery and nurture it daily by gathering tools that work for us, like the 12 steps, faith, slogans, and creative expression. Did you know that when we express our feelings through art, such as journaling, song writing, or painting that we can handle our triggers better?
One secret to strong recovery is knowing that triggers will happen – days, weeks and even years into recovery—and we do have the power to manage them. What tools are you going to use today to strengthen your recovery? Will it be a step, a slogan, your higher power, a phone call, and/or some journaling?
Robin M. Gilliam has been in long-term recovery since 2/6/91. She is the owner of Recovery Art Studio, which provides you with tools, tips, and tricks for long-term – STRONG – recovery!
Read her novel, Gift of Desperation, a powerful story of how trauma affects addiction, desperation fuels change, and recovery offers hope.
Keep coming back to learn how to claim peace of mind because
addiction cannot thrive in a quiet, serene mind.