While leading a shift strong call, one of the SHiFT community members expressed feelings of grief and sadness. Another member offered poignant feedback in one simple sentence. “Let your fellows accompany you in your grief”.
“… accompany you…”, the words flowed with graceful beauty and within the context of grief, they tugged at my heart. Yet hours later, the word “accompany” still rang in my ears. Contemplating it’s meaning, “to go somewhere with (as a companion)”, I suddenly felt its gravity, within the context of recovery.
Addiction isolates us in several ways. Social isolation is easily noticed. In the physical sense, it literally separates us from others. Emotional isolation is inconspicuous and in my experience, far more deceptive. It can happen regardless of who and what exists in our everyday life. We may have family, friends and even a well functioning social network yet somehow, we seem to be lacking something. We can’t understand how even when life appears to be full, we get a sense that we are hovering in a space of emotional distance.
At some point in life, we may have gotten the message that it is safer not to share our thoughts and feelings. If expressing our true feelings and ideas continually led to an aftermath of painful emotions, the price was too high. In order to survive, we had to adapt by learning to avoid sharing feelings. With a lack of emotional interaction, comes lack of emotional support, this renders us unable to
share our feelings and thus, incapable of genuine connection with others.
Beyond this, emotional isolation has the potential to completely numb us. Disconnected from our bodies and our thoughts, we may find ourselves unable to even identify our feelings. But there is hope! With the right support, we can reestablish and develop all of these vital connections.
Recovery requires connection.
Peer support (fellowship) is a beautiful first step towards connecting with others. A bond is created when fellows discover they are not alone. Fellowship provides opportunities to be present with each other, to practice listening and to have the courage to share personal experiences.
Fellowship is not meant to judge, control or counsel but to lay a foundation of safe emotional interactions, upon which genuine connection can be built.
Let your fellows accompany you in your recovery. Let them go with you to the places that are painful, scary and unfamiliar. Let them go with you to the places that are enlightening, healing and loving. Let them go with you to all the “somewheres” that lead you to your highest, connected self.
P.S. If this post resonated with you and you’d like more support developing your highest self, I encourage you to explore the weekly mindfulness and meditation classes with Gina. As a participant, it has been a significant addition to my program of recovery and self care.