Friday, December 9, 2011

Recovery Topic Day

Yep, it's another weekly somethingorother.  Right now, I think I'll just try to say something about a recovery topic once a week, but not on any particular day...

TOPIC:  "Let Go, Let God"
I have pondered this slogan for years - long before I knew it had anything to do with addiction or recovery.  I have many friends who use this phrase in passing, and I have often wondered what that meant to them.  What do you DO when you "let go and let God?"  Keep in mind, I am using "God" as they use it in AA and Al Anon - as shorthand for my Higher Power.  The "God" of my youth and religious training is not nearly broad and all-encompassing as my comprehension of Higher Power, but it's still easy shorthand for me to use the title God.  As a side note, however, I absolutely love when one of the daily readings that we discuss at meetings refers to God as "she"...invariably, the person reading stumbles over that.  I smile, not at the reader's stumble, but at the writers little thump on our heads not to be restrictive in our comprehension of anyone else's version of a Higher Power.  Anyway, the folks I heard use "let go and let God" always seemed to me to be sitting on their butts waiting for something to happen for them.  I used to rant at my husband "so when is God going to pay our bills and ferry the kids to daycare?" if I should decide to "let go" myself? 

Fast forward to last June.  I learned one Friday afternoon that my husband had relapsed and needed to go to detox or a hospital or treatment that day.  Now.  About six hours later, my children in the care of my sister, and my husband sitting the hospital awaiting the physical start of his detox hell, I was shaking my head in shock and shaking inside over the decisions and situations that were all on my shoulders.  When I called my mother, almost her first words to me were to remind me that the last time I lived through this with Sean, six years earlier, I had said "never again" and she wanted to know if I was going to stand by my words.  I did not expect that reaction from my mother.  A lot had changed over six years and I was in no position to make that decision. 

Fast forward to 30 days later.  I had just started the recovery process for myself.  But one of the very first things I learned, and embraced, was that I could let things go and stop worrying about them, if it wasn't something I had to face that day (a mix of "let go and let God" and "one day at a time").  Whenever I would start to spin about what was going to happen to my marriage, I just stopped myself and said "I don't have to decide this today."  Fast forward to another 30 days later.  My husband was still in residential treatment and I still didn't have to decide how I felt about my marriage or about him coming home.  I had another 30 days before that was going to become reality.  Another 30 days went by, and I went for his "exit interview" with his counselor about five days before his release.  Without even really realizing it, I was so ready for him to come home.  He was embracing change and was committed to me and to the kids.  It was a no-brainer by that time.

Fast forward to today.  I have a little over six months of recovery work under my belt.  A lifetime journey to go.  But what I believe this slogan means for my life is exactly what happened with the issue of my decisions about our marriage.  I let it go and when it was finally time for decisions to be made, the path was clear and it was easy.  Somewhere I read that when you ask your higher power for strength, you don't get handed strength but you get handed the opportunity to be strong.   I don't believe you get the "let go" of your bills or other obligations, because God isn't going to write checks or drive your kids to dance practice, but very likely you will find the strength to get through it if you take a deep breath and let go of whatever resentments or insecurities or fears that are holding you back...

And so we go - one day at a time.


  1. I like the 'you don't have to decide that today' part, Sarah. I have always struggled with the let go let God thing. I first discovered it when Becky died and 'letting go' meant forgetting, putting it behind, not thinking about it. How could I? It seeped out of my pores. Since then, that phrase raises my hackles somehow and I always have to walk myself back.
    I do like the idea of not having to decide something right now. I can put it off and off until it is time to decide. That sits so much better with me.
    I am sad your mom's response was a reminder of your words. That has to be so painful and like if she was told her husband right now was doing something wrong...would she leave him too? I feel so bad that I was trying to be supportive of you and then when Sean was finally coming home my fear for you and the girls just took over and I made some comments that I wish I hadn't. I know you have forgiven me (at least I hope so) but that showed me that I can think that I am all supportive and caring and stick my foot when gut reactions kick in.
    Thank you for an insight that I need today. Love you my friend.

  2. You were forgiven from the start (as was my mother), of course. I understood your anger completely, and I appreciated it as you definitely 'had my back'! Love you.

  3. I, too, have a big problem really embracing the let go thing, type A agnostic that I am. I like the Lego reminder; you'd think I'd be a Letting Go Guru for all the reminders around my floor.

    I totally agree that one way Letting Go works is when you can put it off and decide later. When you know, you know. I try to remember that in my own daily struggle when I berate myself for not taking an action I have pressured myself into thinking I need to make.

    Also like your weekly recovery topic idea, may I steal, if I ever get going here?

  4. Ann you of course may share my idea. It also reminded me that I intended to do this Recovery Topic on a regular basis...


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