Series Three: Blog Sixty-Two
Recovery is about connecting with yourself and others. Most addicts learn to distract and disconnect from experiences that create discomfort. I remember the church I attended growing up. I was forced to attend twice on Sunday and prayer meeting on Wednesday night. Then there were revival campaigns every night for two weeks twice a year. Sometimes the revivals were conducted in a circus tent in a vacant lot in town. During the revival what happened inside the tent resembled a circus. Cottage prayer meetings were organized to get ready for the torture of the two-week revival. The old ladies of the church would bring their best baked pie offering some relief from the torture of having to pray. I learned to distract and disconnect from unpleasant experiences early in my life before addiction ever bloomed.
I brought baseball trading cards and memorized statistics on the back of the cards of favorite ball players. I know it sounds boring but then you probably have never attended a cottage prayer meeting either. There was always sawdust spread out on the ground for the tent meetings that were conducted at night. During the revival meeting June bugs would fly in attraction to the lights. As a kid, I would bury the June bugs under a small pile of sawdust and see how long it would take them to crawl out from the bottom. You just did whatever was necessary to survive boring uncomfortable experience. Church was a primer to addictive behavior teaching me to disconnect and distract from discomfort.
In recovery, addicts learn to manage discomfort and reconnect to relationships by finding meaningfulness in everyday relationships. They learn that everything doesn’t have to be spectacular. They stop looking for a magic bullet and figure out how to sit with discomfort and make it meaningful. Connecting with others is a very simple art that can get lost with complicated plans for activity.
Learning to sit with discomfort and creating connection with those you love is a deeper road of recovery. It begins with connecting with yourself and includes engaging those you love with authentic intimacy and inclusion of those you love the most.
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