July 21, 2024

Freedom to Heal

Page 209

"Gradually, we come to experience freedom from some of our deepest wounds. As we begin to clear up some of the confusion and contradiction in our lives, we can move forward with less of the baggage we brought in with us."

Living Clean, Chapter 4, "Sex"

Freedom for any recovering addict begins with not using. But as the fog lifts, our emotional turmoil becomes more apparent. To stay clean, we need a different approach to deal with our underlying issues. We understand we can be free from active addiction--but can we be free from our deepest wounds?

We'd love that answer to be a resounding "absolutely!"--and for some, it will be. But for many of us who've suffered traumas and abuse, the more realistic answer is: We can heal. We can move forward. We can gain more freedom than we have today. Recovery from addiction is a process, and so is letting go of "baggage," especially the burdens we never asked for and, no doubt, the ones we inflicted on others.

That process can be fierce, terrifying, sometimes beautiful, often unexpected. We gain freedom from working Steps and sharing about our past with each other. We get relief through meditation and prayer, perhaps through outside help, through the passage of time and patience with ourselves. We try not to avoid or disconnect from painful memories. Instead, we deal with our baggage as best we can and realize that some of what we've been carrying isn't ours. We come to some acceptance and healing, finding forgiveness for ourselves for not letting go. And, equally as important, we help others to do the same.

While some wounds may never fully heal, they don't overwhelm us today. They don't run our lives--or our relationships with others, with our bodies, and with the world. We can learn how to relate to others and respond to their needs without sacrificing our own. We can be vulnerable and explore physical and emotional intimacy. We can find freedom, lose it a little, and regain it by digging in again.

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My pain doesn't define me, and I can use it to help someone else heal. I will find both refuge and freedom in the Steps and in my fellow addict.

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