Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Is your loved one recovered in body but not in spirit? Are you?

"What? Are you describing me?" is what the last person I asked this question to answered.

If this applies to you, you'll know. You'll feel it in your bones.

For others, the question is, "huh?"

Recovered in body but not in spirit is more common than we'd like to think. It's about a dry drunk - the alcoholic who no longer drinks, but hasn't done any inner work to change her state of mind. Though the alcohol bills have gone down, and there aren't any bottles hidden around the house anymore, her mind is still caught up in anger, resentment and fear, often unexamined, hidden, and bursting at the seams.

It's about the codependent husband who no longer yells at his wife for using, but isn't thinking, speaking or behaving in a loving manner from deep within. The anger is still there; the resentment for all of the pain caused by his wife's addiction; the fear of what the future will bring. But it isn't expressed or focused on outwardly anymore. Instead, he is seething underneath the surface, under a plastic smile of tolerance.

Of course, these are just examples. Fill in the details of someone you know to get a better understanding of what recovered in body but not in spirit looks like to you.

So, what does recovery in both body and spirit look like?

It too, is highly individual in its manifestation. Generally speaking, it feels like a cool summer breeze, refreshing and relaxing.

It's the codependent spouse who detaches from the alcoholic's behavior with love, the alcoholic who no longer drinks or the addict who no longer uses and their minds are at ease. They have turned away from lying and cheating and stealing; manipulating, controlling, and resenting. They have a calm about them. They remember their past both as a tool to help others and to remind themselves not to return to it; not as a tool for self-loathing, shame, resentment, or guilt. They live in the present serenely, facing each of life's challenges peacefully, with wonder and acceptance. They face the future with curiousity and courage. It's not that nothing bad or challenging happens to them; it's just that they have access to Inner Resources that they know will get them through whatever they are facing. And as for the mistakes they've made, the people they've hurt? They've taken inventory of their failures, made amends when appropriate, and have a way of monitoring their behaviors to keep them moving on a positive path.

For some, it's 12 steps. For others, a WRAP (wellness recovery action plan). For others still, a strong sense of their own life purpose and how to go about manifesting it. Just as there is no one drug or drink that suits all, there is no one recovery path that fits everyone.

But being recovered in body and spirit is possible for everyone, each in their own time, each in their own way.

What would being recovered in body and spirit look like for you or for your loved one? How might you go about making it happen beginning today?

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