There are certain memories ingrained in my mind that pop up with the smallest reminder…
Like when we were putting a towel in a bowl to put cornbread muffins in for Thanksgiving this year…I was reminded of the countless times I did the same thing, only with a towel and a basket and dinner rolls, at my grandmothers.
Or tonight, when I used my grandmother’s dishes she had given me for the table I hosted at a ladies event at our church.
And now, looking at how the table was set, place cards and all, reminds me of holiday dinners from years ago.
Isn’t it funny how present situations or even objects can bring a flood of pictures from our past? Some are good, some not so good…A smell, a shirt, a song, a bowl of muffins or a table set just right…
When we’re having a rough time…going through a struggle…it can be easy to think back on those times and think how good it was then…
When life is good, it’s easy to feel relief for not being in that situation anymore…
Life’s all about perspective isn’t it? When life is rough we want it to go back to that time life was easy….or at least in our memory it was easy.
Sometimes we even think, maybe it wasn’t so bad when our husband was in the middle of his addiction…we weren’t so busy…he didn’t know or care what I spent money on…I made all the decisions, didn’t have to consult him about anything…and now…now he wants input?
It’s a slippery road, romanticizing the past…Because when we do that, we stop don’t we? We stop at the good things we remember. We don’t let our minds go to the dark places.
We weren’t so busy…because he was never sober enough to commit to anything.
He didn’t care what I spent money on…as long as there was money for alcohol…he didn’t expect a say because so often I was the only one working.
I made all of the decisions…how many times did I long to not have the weight of everything resting solely on me.
It’s a slippery road…don’t go down it…you will fall. Maybe not the first time. Maybe not you at all. Maybe your spouse…your child…Don’t romanticize the past because life isn’t what you dreamed it would be all of those lonely nights.
Remember those lonely nights? You dreamed of how life would be when he stopped drinking? You dreamed, but mostly didn’t dare to hope it would actually happen.
Life isn’t a dream. It’s better. We don’t script our lives like movies, the happy ending leaving everyone neatly perfect and all the strings tied up in a bow.
It’s reality. And y’all, reality right now is infinitely better than my dreams were back then. Because they were dreams…dreamt by a sad, lonely, broken soul.
And if romanticizing the past is a slippery road, reality is kind of like climbing a tree. You have to watch where you step, feel out each branch to make sure it can hold your weight, and a lot of trust. But when you get to the top—wherever the top is to you—because sometimes, just like climbing a tree, sometimes the top is four feet in the air and sometimes it’s twenty—when you get to the top and you get that exhilarating high…it’s a wow moment right?
The beginning of recovery can be like that. It’s a huge wow moment, when you realize you’re there. You’ve arrived! It’s all easy from here…right?
But, just like climbing a tree and getting to the top, you have to eventually come back down. And the climb that was hard on the way up will have just as many, although often different, challenges on the way down. Except sometimes we get a little confident don’t we? We made it up, we know the way, so maybe our steps are a little careless…perhaps we get so comfortable we don’t even test the branches, we just assume they will hold us?
And then there’s the whole accomplished feeling. We were so full of anticipation on the way up, our energy level was so high! But on the way down, we get tired. Tired of going back where we’ve already been. There’s no accolades waiting for us for getting down the tree… just the ground. The reality of the ground.
And so goes our recovery sometimes…maybe you’ve reached your one year…or your five year…and you start to think, Hey, I’ve got this, I’m good.
So you stop going to meetings, you stop hanging out with people who encourage and support you.
Maybe you even think you can have that one drink at the company Christmas party. Or maybe your cousin says, come on, one drink won’t kill you, remember how much fun we had three years ago when you weren’t all uptight about drinking?
So you remember…being the life of the party…the center of attention…you remember the good moments…
Let me tell you what you need to remember dear friend…Falling out of the tree. Wrecking your car. Crushing your three year old daughter on the way down.
Remember. All. The. Way. Through.
And then trust. Trust that no matter how hard things may seem right now, God has you. Trust in Him. Trust that His plan for your life is better than any dream you had of how your life would look…one day.
‘Tis the season y’all. There will be many temptations over the next few weeks. So remember. All the way through. And reach out. Pick up the phone. Go to a meeting. And if you’re not struggling, call someone who is newer in their recovery than you. Reach out to them. Offer to take them to your local Celebrate Recovery.
I promise you’ll be blessed. Merry Christmas y’all!
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To find a meeting, go to http://crgroups.info/
To learn more about Celebrate Recovery, www.celebraterecovery.com