By: Rachel Margolis
My immediate thought about the word "fearless" is of one being without fear. For years, I have been literally frozen by fear and pain from childhood trauma that rolled into adulthood. As a child, displaying any feelings at all prompted being shamed by my caregivers, who I was afraid of most of all. I dived into addiction in order not to feel that fear and pain. Eventually, I was unable to feel anything without feeding my addiction - and that soon ceased to work. The result? I found myself not even able to get out of bed. I wasn't afraid of dying - I was afraid of living. I couldn't feel anything and didn't want to.
During my stay at The Meadows this year, I learned to identify my feelings and "sit with them" opposed to minimizing, denying, and avoiding them. I was full of fear as I faced the darkest parts of my life and I did something so painfully difficult for me - I asked for help each step of the way. I took the risk to be vulnerable and trust people - my peers, my therapists, and my Higher Power. When I reached out for help, I found the "fear" became "less"!
Being fearless in recovery to me is taking the risk to be vulnerable - willing to be seen and to see and accept others where they are. Being fearless is putting one foot in front of the other and moving forward with openness, honesty and willingness, even when it's painful. It's being perfectly imperfect and accepting the humanity of myself and others - while striving to be the best me I can be, which will always be enough. I have discovered that my addiction and trauma are stronger than ME, but not stronger than WE! With that WE strength I know I can walk through the most challenging times that I might face.
In honor of National Recovery Month, we want to hear and share your story. What does being #fearless mean to you, and to your recovery? Tell us in a short essay (500 words) or short video (2 minutes), and we may feature you on our blog or Facebook page! Email your submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or share them on Twitter and mention @AndreaSauceda in your tweet.
By Dr. David Anderson, The Meadows Executive Director
Last week, on the Meadows campus, we dedicated a new flagpole and flag. It gave us an opportunity to honor and show appreciation for members of the Armed Services, and to reflect on the freedoms we enjoy as citizens of free nations and also on the freedoms we experience in recovery.
In 1941, Franklin Delano Roosevelt gave a state of union speech just 11 months prior to the beginning of World War II in which he proposed four fundamental freedoms that people the world over ought to be able to enjoy:
For those of us in The Program, we celebrate not only these freedoms, but also the fundamental freedoms we enjoy while living in the “Nation of Recovery.” These freedoms might be described as…
Of course, everybody’s journey is unique; thus, many of us may discover other kinds of freedoms as we continue along the path of recovery and transformation.
The dedication of our new flagpole intersected with our celebration of National Recovery Month. In honor of the occasion, a number of our patients created their own personal flags of recovery through their expressive arts therapy sessions.
These personalized flags represented their current freedoms and the freedoms they hope to continue to discover through sobriety. We asked the patients to “plant” these flags around the flagpole as a reminder of the support available in their communities and as a testament of hope and inspiration for themselves and others.
Each flag is a reminder of the courage it takes to choose freedom over bondage, love over hatred, serenity over fear, and recovery over disease. We are honored to have been given the opportunity to display them on our campus.