Today has been exactly two years since I left The Center for Change. When you leave CFC each girl writes a letter of hope and reads it to the girls. Last year on my first year anniversary I wrote a second letter and now on my second anniversary I write another one.
Recovery. Two years of recovery. I never thought I would see this day. When I walked out of my last residential treatment stay two years ago I did so hesitantly I had been assured by my therapist that I had changed. That I had found hope. She believed that I was going to live but I wasn’t certain. The world was so new and still so terrifying. And last year when I wrote this letter? I was still living in terror 99% of the time. Hope was there yes but my grasp on it was so fragile that I spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital for suicidal thoughts which really just translates to hopelessness.
So where am I today? Where do I stand? I have hope tattooed across my wrist as a reminder to never loose it and for the first time in my life I live with hope more than I live without it. How did that happen? I’m not exactly sure. I wish I could tell you so perhaps if you live without hope you could maybe have a fool proof formula to escape from the dark (God knows I wanted one). I suppose it was a combination of letting myself crawl towards the light instead of existing in the comforting but terrifying darkness and simply beginning to forge a life for myself.
Today, I have begun to scrape away at the walls I have formed around my heart and my existence to create some semblance of living instead of merely existing. I’m learning that living in recovery is much, much different that living into it. Living in recovery means making the right choices to prevent falls or picking myself up after the fall and going on. It means living a life focused on recovery because it is the only thing I can only focus on else it will all go to pieces. In contrast, living into recovery means living life focused on life while being in recovery. My focus in not solely on recovery but instead on living. On creating a world that exists outside of appointments and coping skills. Yes, those things exists in my life but they are integrated into my life instead of the main parts of my life.
For me, (and I can only speak for me) living into recovery looks much different than shaping my life around recovery. Recovery is my life and it is becoming more and more seamless and integrated. I’m not totally there yet but in the last few months I’m can see where my future is headed. And it is a future that I can only picture while living in recovery. Yet recovery is no longer separated from my life. They are becoming integrated into one. Life is beginning to equal recovery and I can see no way around it whereas before I could hardly imagine a lifetime of living in recovery.
So, where do I go from here? I keep learning how to live into recovery and create a life that is fulfilled through passions and dreams instead of avoidance and hiding. And what hope do I have to offer? I suppose the only hope I have to offer is this: I’m a different person now than I was two years ago, one year ago, one month ago. I have changed and the changes have been good. We avoid change because we are scared of it but without change how can one reach the light? I have learned that without moving and changing I can’t move from the terror of the past into the possibility of the future. So, reach for the light. I have and I’m discovering just how much I am beginning to enjoy living in the light.