I find myself trying to work the steps, remember my relaxation techniques and use other handy tools that I’ve picked up from various counselors, mentors and friends. It really shouldn’t surprise me how they work. Not only do they calm me down, but they also show me how my ability to be respectful and calm affects other people, particularly, my family.
A very wise woman told me to try and see my family and my past holistically. In my case, that means recognizing the strengths and the good times. I told her it would be really hard to remember good times with my sister, but then all of the funny and happy memories came back. I thought when I went home it would be just as bad as I remembered it, but that was not the case. I was not prepared for what I found. I saw how my actions affected others… I saw that when I chose to live in recovery, my family, namely my sister showed me respect and kindness.
I’ll be honest, it kind of made me mad. I am supposed to be the good one, the victim here. While there is no excuse for the truly awful things that my sister has done to myself and my family, I’m beginning to see how my complete unwillingness to forgive and strong desire for only pain for my sister has influenced my sister to continue to act in a hurtful way. I’m not taking responsibility for her actions, I don’t need that co-dependent sort of attitude, thank you very much. However, I saw very clearly how keeping my mouth shut over the things I cannot control and asking forgiveness when I know I did something wrong (something I have control over) actually lead to a somewhat enjoyable weekend. Now I’m not packing up my things and moving on over to PA…. sometimes distance really does make the heart fonder and the mind a little more sane :).
All of these good times only made it harder to shut the door behind me and drive back to OH. I don’t like saying good-bye. My sponsor tells me not to, she only tells me that she will see me later and she encourages me to do the same.
On the way home, wherever that is, I took a quick pit stop at The PEER Center in Columbus. I love and truly miss that place. While I really enjoy my current work, I found myself dreaming about what it would be like to be back at there again. There are no words to describe the impact that the people at The PEER Center have had and continue to have on my life. Every time I drive through Columbus, I remember that I left a part of my heart there.
But, then I thought, how could I leave Celebrate Recovery? I have friends and a sponsor. Multiple times each week, I interact with men and women who encourage, challenge and inspire me. Like I’ve already said, I try to work the steps and I find that indeed they prove effective.
So, I found myself in this tug of war wondering, “Where do I belong?” “If home’s where the heart is”, as the song goes, then I really am always “out of place”. My heart is in Butler PA, Columbus OH, Cedarville OH, Centerville OH, and to be honest, in heaven.
While I love every place on that list, I also remember the struggle that occurred at every location. At The PEER Center, I read every sign on the walls multiple times because I was so afraid to talk to the associates and the staff. Then there was my supervisor… the woman has this presence… she commands respect and scared the crap out of me.
Cedarville was no walk in the park. There are things I regret saying, doing, asking, etc. I remember how many times I went in and out of counseling only to find that the problem had not been addressed. My last CU counselor didn’t even make it through one session before I didn’t like her. There were so many sessions that I left barely able to keep myself from crying. I remember the absolute lowest moment from counseling where my world felt like it was collapsing in on itself. Ironically, it wasn’t even close to the point where I finally started co-operating in counseling.
I don’t even need to explain all of the things I regret and have done or the things that happened to me in Butler as most of these things are the reasons I have been in therapy off and on for going on 6 years.
However, now I look at these three places with love, respect and fondness. While I left part of myself there, parts of these places, good and bad, stuck to me. I guess that it’s not that I left these places and they are gone forever. While God has the power and authority to wipe these cities and the people in them off the map, the impact that they have had on my life cannot be erased. Similarly, while God has taken my father off the map, so to speak, his impact on my life can never be taken away.
I am a fuller and better person for all of the struggles and triumphs that I have experienced in these places. Now, to convince myself of the benefit of current and future struggles… Here’s to wishing that I could learn the lesson and gain the wisdom without facing the struggle… as once again I storm the next castle.