None of us is all that moral

“Am I willing to believe that there is something out there that is bigger than me? I wasn’t 100% sure until I started really [coming to] terms with my insanity.”

By the Book

For people unfamiliar with the recovery world, declaring ourselves “insane” sounds, well, kind of crazy. Who says that about themselves? But often it is true. Maybe it is not the kind of mental crisis that results in treatment, but I believe insanity is on a spectrum. Just because no one is locking you up, does not mean you are A-OK!

In the recovery world, we talk about insanity like this: doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. Can you relate?

I have a friend who is struggling in her marriage. She keeps going to marriage retreats with her spouse but nothing is changing. I suggested they consider adding other resources to support their marital mending. Her pastor told her good Christians do NOT go to counseling.

I pointed out that I did not know that many good Christians. I hang out with the ones who struggle. They mess up. Like me. And I could see no downside to adding a voice into the mix of marital mayhem. What could it hurt? She thinks that it would hurt her reputation at church. And, get this - people might think they are having issues!!!!! THEY ARE HAVING ISSUES AND EVERYONE ALREADY KNOWS IT!! So this brings me to a question that seems to always apply: in your journey, what holds you back from getting the support you need? Does your reluctance make sense - or might it be your disease talking? Or your pride? Or your fear of change?

Source for the quote is found here: https://www.nacr.org/center-for-12-step-recovery/by-the-book-doing-the-twelve-steps/by-the-book-step-2 at 1:38.

Getting Our Affairs in Order

A few months ago I received word that some blood work I had drawn during a routine physical came back with some “anomalies.” Further tests were conducted and I waited to hear more news. The news could be good - no problems detected. It could be annoying - we need to run more tests. It could be manageable - here is what we found and this is how we fix it. It could be bad - you have an un-treatable condition, get your affairs in order. These were my options. It turns out it was all good news and there is no reason that the blood work would indicate that Pete should go shopping for a replacement wife.

This was not my first rodeo with a “get your affairs in order” speech. When my eating disorder was at its worst and my heart began to have issues I did not get my affairs in order despite dire warnings from my cardiologist; I continued to compulsively starve myself for months. I can say from personal experience that when I was at the “get your affairs in order” stage of sickness, the nature of my sickness meant that I was poorly equipped to follow advice and heed warnings.

Eventually, reluctantly, I began the healing process but it was messy and slow and relapse-prone. Eventually, my metaphorical blood work began to improve. The level of insanity was down; not normal, but down. I heard others speak about their own experiences and I opened up to the possibility that I did indeed have a condition I would manage for the rest of my life. I was reasonably confident that I could not handle it on my own. I was absolutely certain that my best efforts were not enough to save me.

I had a decision to make. It needed to be a different decision than all the other times I had made promises to myself and others and made commitments I was incapable of keeping. What was I going to do this time that I had never done before? Have you ever been at the end of your rope? How did you climb out of the pit? Are you there today? Who could you ask to help you start the long road back to wellness?