In her #Mindful Monday presentation on Facebook, Meadows therapist Joyce Willis reminds us what forgiveness is and what it is not:
“Forgiveness is about bringing peace to ourselves. Forgiveness is a way to end suffering for ourselves and others and to bring dignity and harmony back into our lives. It is fundamentally for our own sake, and for our own emotional health. It is one tool that we can use to let go of the pain that we carry.”
In AA’s Big Book, the 4th step calls on people in recovery to search out ‘the flaws in our make-up which cause our failure,’ and understand that ‘self, manifested in various ways, is what has failed us.” The book goes on to identify the number one failure of self as resentment.
However, for people who have been abused or mistreated, resentment is perfectly reasonable feeling to have toward the perpetrator (or perpetrators.) When people with histories of emotional trauma approach this step in their recovery, they can sometimes feel stuck. Some interpret this step to mean that they have to find a way to accept some responsibility for what happened to them—that they have to somehow find their part in allowing themselves to be victimized.
This notion can most certainly be counterproductive to trauma survivors’ processes of healing. And, it can intensify the shame and self-blame that likely fed their addictions and behavioral health issues in the first place. That’s why there has to be some nuance and balance to interpreting this step for those who have experienced physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse.
No one is responsible for someone else’s decision to abuse them. In order to heal, it’s not the abuse that the survivor has to accept responsibility for but for the ways in which they may have acted out as a result of their feelings related to that abuse. If a trauma and abuse survivor realizes through their work in recovery that they have behaved in ways that were harmful to themselves or others, they can ask themselves “What other choices did I have? Could I have done better given the circumstances?”
All in all, forgiveness is not about absolving the abuser of guilt or letting them “off the hook.” Instead, it’s about letting go of feelings and beliefs that prevent a survivor from living the full, connected, and authentic lives they deserve.
Forgiving is not easy. It is not something you can do in an instant. You can’t simply decide to forgive and then expect all of your anger and resentment to instantly disappear; it is something that you will have to work through over time, by letting go of a little bit of your anger each day.
You may need more than meditation to help you let go of resentment, especially if you have been abused or mistreated. Therapy and self-care can also be crucial to forgiveness, but meditation can play a key supporting role in the process by helping you cultivate your capacity for love, compassion, and healing. Meditation can help you access and accept the past as it is, and help you gain a deeper understanding of the thoughts and beliefs that are blocking you from having a full emotional life and reaching your full potential. More on Mindfulness and Meditation
Check our Facebook page every Monday for a new guided meditation led by one of our experts. Coming up on Oct. 31, Joe Whitwell, MAC, LAC, CCTP and Therapist at The Meadows Outpatient Center will present a mindfulness talk and exercise on Anger.
And, for a more intensive experience, consider registering for or 5-day Mind & Heart: A Mindful Path to Wholehearted Living workshop. For more information call 866-494-4930 or reach out online.
Meadows CEO Sean Walsh recently sat down with Dan Griffin for a conversation on faith, spirituality, relationships, leadership, and recovery as part of Dan’s “Men in Recovery” video series.
In the interview, Sean talks about his childhood trauma, and how the biggest turning point in his sobriety was the third step (i.e. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.)
Sean and Dan also talk about how faith gives them permission to experience feelings like doubt, fear, and insecurity—feelings that men in our society are often discouraged from admitting that they have.
“We can’t have much faith when we are operating in fear,” Sean says. “To really operate in faith, means walking through those fears.” To Sean, having faith also allows you to have a personal identity that is not tied to status or positions or materials things. Through faith, you can rest in the knowledge that you are not defined by your social status or profession, or by the fears and insecurities you have. Instead, you are defined by your higher purpose.
Watch Sean and Dan’s entire 15-minute conversation for even more insights and inspiration.
If you need help with addiction or mental health issues—for yourself or a loved one—please don’t hesitate to call us at 866-350-1524. We can help you find the faith and courage you already have within yourself and heal from trauma and emotional pain.
We want to hear your story and share it with others. 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 email@example.com, or share them on Twitter and mention @AndreaSauceda in your tweet.
Two years ago, we opened the Meadows Outpatient Center in Scottsdale, Arizona with the goal of taking everything we’d learned throughout our 40 years of delivering world-class, quality treatment programs at The Meadows, and applying it to an outpatient setting.
Today, we are thrilled to announce that The Meadows Outpatient Center is now an in-network provider for all Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance carriers. Blue Cross Blue Shield is one of the largest managed care companies in the United States. By partnering with them, we can make the cutting-edge services and resources we offer through The Meadows IOP more accessible to more people than ever before.
The Meadows Outpatient Center offers comprehensive outpatient treatment programs for emotional trauma and related mental health issues like drug and alcohol addiction, mood disorders, personality disorders, and co-occurring disorders. There are also programs available that focus specifically on the needs of young adults (ages 18 – 26) with addiction and mental health issues, and men and women who are struggling with sex addiction.
Services at The Meadows Outpatient Center are based on the renowned Meadows Model for treating trauma and addiction. They include 12 hours of group therapy per week, individual counseling, psychiatry consultations, Neurofeedback, Somatic Experiencing, EMDR, art therapy, trauma-sensitive yoga, acupuncture, family therapy, and yearlong aftercare.
"We are extremely proud of the quality and caliber of service offered at the Meadows Outpatient Center,” says Meadows Behavioral Healthcare CEO Sean Walsh. We truly feel that it is unlike any other outpatient program in the country. Our in-network relationship with Blue Cross Blue Shield is an exciting step which allows us to be a resource to a greater number of those in need."
The Meadows Outpatient Center is available to all patients with Blue Cross Blue Shield effective immediately. So please don’t hesitate to call one of our Intake Specialists at 866-356-9801 or chat with us online to learn more. We’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about our outpatient program and your Blue Cross Blue Shield benefits.
by Michael Lewis
What does being fearless in recovery mean to me?
It means not walking away before you get a chance to know who you are.
In my life, I’ve had traumatic experiences that ultimately resulted in an eight year run with addiction among other diagnoses. At one point in my life, I identified as an addict to such an extent that I thought I’d never be anything else.
It wasn’t until I decided to give myself a chance to get to know myself outside of my shame that I discovered something I thought was long lost, and to some degree, nonexistent.
I discovered a person that doesn’t believe this world is just some purgatorial dimension where I’m supposed to drown in misery for all eternity. I discovered a person who could once again look up at the stars and see the light shining through the darkness, illuminating the path I once thought to be a desolate road. My journey allowed me to see where my heart truly lies.
In the time of the Tang dynasty a Chinese philosopher and teacher named Confucius said, “If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?” I believe this quote to mean that a good heart lies within every person, and once you get to know your heart there will be NOTHING left to fear.
It’s fairly common for people in recovery to accept the labels of their life struggles as their identity. I’ve learned in my own recovery process, and now being a therapist myself, that we’re not defined by our diagnoses or symptoms. Both could very well be a big part of who you are, but we don’t walk around saying, “Hi! I’m addicted and mentally ill Mike, nice to meet you!”
If anything it would be more like, “Hi I’m Mike and I’ve struggled with addiction, trauma, and depression. I know what it’s like to walk the unseen path. How can I be there to help?”
A psychologist by the name of Erik Erikson once said, “The more you know yourself, the more patience you have for what you see in others.” To have patience for others is to have compassion, and to have compassion, is to be enlightened, and to be enlightened is to be unwrapped from a shroud of fear and darkness.
This is what being fearless in recovery means to me.
By Peter Charad
It's one of those memories that feels like it happened yesterday.
Tuesday evening, October 5, 1976, I had checked into the Sheraton Hotel in Hong Kong. As I arrived at my room I heard the phone ringing.
I was excited as I assumed it was my Hong Kong pals phoning to tell me what the arrangements were for the evening.
I have never been able to describe the feeling when, as I picked up the telephone, my ex-brother-in-law told me that my brother had taken his own life.
Colin was the family hero; my personal hero. My belief was that when all else failed he would be there to catch me⎯and he was gone!
I couldn't breathe, I felt nauseous, and then an enormous, scary howl screeched out of me. I started sobbing uncontrollably. I felt so alone and in dire stress; completely out of control.
A colleague had been phoned before I was phoned and very shortly arrived at my door with a bottle of XO Brandy. He poured out a very large glass for me. Those powerful feelings began to subside.
Early the next morning I bought the first 10mg Valium tablets, of many to come, and booked my journey to Johannesburg for the Friday funeral. There was no direct flight so I was booked to leave in the evening via Australia, a 37-hour journey that I survived on alcohol and Valium!
I made it to the funeral and returned back to Hong Kong two days later to continue on as if nothing had happened. The reality was that it hadn't happened on a “feeling level.” I had gone way up into that space where I couldn't feel hurt anymore and I continued to live up there for another 12 years surviving on alcohol and drugs.
I entered a treatment facility in November 1988 to help me stop using these substances. It worked; I was there for five weeks and thankfully haven't found it necessary to use alcohol or any other substance since.
However, little did I know that all the feelings I had numbed before, over and over again for those 12 years were waiting to be felt and processed. It was overwhelming at times; I did not think I would get through it. But, little by little, those enormous feelings began to ease and slowly, after three and a half years of sobbing and screaming I began to surface feeling calm⎯not high, just calm.
It allowed me to emotionally bury my late brother with love and then start healing from all the pain and find the real person under all of that trauma. I am so grateful that I stayed and found mentors who shone lights for me when everything looked so dark.
In honor of National Recovery Month, we want to hear your story and share it with others. 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.