Raw but no longer bleeding when I emerged into early recovery, everything appeared new to me. The grass looked a bit greener, the clouds had more depth, the sun shared more warmth. The sunrise had sound, it seemed to me I had never really noticed that before. I’m not sure I had even witnessed it before.

Words of well-meaning etched themselves into my heart-“Practice honesty in everything”, “Let go of your past, embrace the future”, “Find a sponsor, go to meetings”, “Get going or life gets going without you”. “Be Grateful”. “Love the process”. “This too will pass”. “Take the cotton out of your ears and put it in your mouth”

I dove in. I listened to everyone; I was desperate to stay sober and in recovery. But as my brokenness was healing, other’s words were like swords, cutting new wounds and opening old scars. “You’ll get through this,” someone offered. Get through what? Life? I didn’t want to just ‘get through’ this, I wanted to learn how to live this. I was different now, without any idea of who I was-I had lived a life defined by alcohol, what was I without that?

I went back to school and dove in with all of my heart. I still went to meetings, but now I had fresher eyes. I began to see how broken we all are, even in recovery. I didn’t know that was possible, to be so broken, teaching through a fractured lens. I began to understand that my brokenness was not unique, or all that different. I began to see that I was not the creator of the bad in my family, the sole proprietor of bad relationships. I was a part of it for sure, and my reactions to bad had been escaped, with a trail of tears and destruction behind it, but the bad continued even though I now chose a different way. Imagine-choice. And I began to be OK with that.

Today I am not defined by what or who I used to be, except by a few who remain by the smoking embers of a fire long since extinguished. I am still me, but I am awake. I learned to guard my heart-to thicken my skin, but protect my heart because who I am is defined by it. And I am beginning to hear the music in the sunrise. As always, my hopes are for your hopes and dreams….T