When I sat down to write today, I noticed the common holiday themes circling in my mind. Words and phrases such as “gifts”, “miracles” and “it’s never too late” collided in my brain but nothing flowed from my heart. I could not seem to tap into anything worth translating through my pen onto the paper.
I closed my eyes, got quiet in my mind and placed my hand on my heart.
“You’re not alone” was the message that I heard. I say “heard” but in truth, it was more like a feeling that those words were reverberating through me. I meditated on this for a moment. While it’s true that physically I was alone, I wasn’t feeling any sense of alone in my soul. This tempted me to question why I had “heard what I felt”. I thought perhaps I should wait, perhaps there’s something else I’m meant to write about today. The feeling grew stronger, the message got louder and with that, the words started to flow….
In my posts so far, I’ve been sharing about the holiday challenges I’ve faced, since entering recovery four years ago. Last December, I was very sick with Covid but more than that, I was facing a far greater challenge. I was drifting into deep spiritual sickness as I steeped in the thought, “I’m all alone”. This thought created feelings of great despair and fear.
Day after day, unable to lift my head or get out of bed for hours at a time, I’d never felt so afraid. I had no idea how I would get through this, let alone do so while maintaining my abstinence.
I’ve never been one to ask for help, I’d decided long ago that I wasn’t ever going to rely on anyone or anything outside of myself.
You might think that having Covid would have changed that but in fact what strengthened my resolve even more was that I refused to impose on anyone during the holidays.
Both of my parents had been dealing with health concerns of their own and at this point, my father was still lying in a hospital bed, going on nine weeks now. My brother was doing all he could to help manage things at my parents’ house, while also managing his own life. I simply could not bring myself to impose added stress upon my family.
Despite all of this, my family and friends assured me “If you need anything, just ask”. With my unwillingness to ask for help, I had not yet discovered the gift in being alone. And then, my higher power intervened, sending the help that I needed whether I asked for it or not.
Help came in many forms, from deliveries of abstinent home cooked meals to groceries, from joyful videos of my friends’ babies to the support of my sponsor and fellows. Help came in the form of my recovery program itself, particularly in my ability to see that a power greater than myself appears in many different and unexpected ways. It turned out that the gift in being alone was learning that I’d never really been alone at all.
I opened my mind to the idea that needing help is not weak nor does it make me an imposition. When I surrendered to that, I was able to see my fierce independence with a new perspective. What I once considered to be my greatest strength was driving my spiritual isolation and keeping my false “I’m all alone” belief alive.
By surrendering this belief, I opened a whole new door in my recovery. With love and caring, I encourage everyone to close the door on self reliance. It is only by doing so that my recovery is possible and that I carry a message which in my heart, I know to be true.
While our challenges may differ, the message is the same.
“You are not alone”.