Renovating Your Life: A Recovery Metaphor


I woke up this morning with the house to myself.  I was going to either just lounge around or clean but there is this room, sitting there for weeks, that I started painting and pulling off the wallpaper.  I decided instead to get a little more done in the room today.  I have had to put it on hold because of pain issues after a few neck surgeries, but I was feeling plucky this morning.

As I am tearing wallpaper off and scraping I realized it was a lot like my life.  You see, I am a recovering addict in a Twelve Step Program.

I felt like this room was one of the pieces inside of me that I decided to work on for the day after letting it sit partly torn apart for a long period of time.

The wallpaper is like peeling away the layers from my past to get to a new surface to graft new ideas and a new life.  Some parts are easy and peel away in chunks, some parts are stuck and I have to put a lot of effort into it, some parts aren’t ready to come off today or I am in too much pain or too tired to work at it.  No matter what, however, removing any of it requires some form of action.  If I just sat in the middle of the room and made a decision to change it and followed with no action, the room would still be sitting there making me uncomfortable, not how I want it to be or wish it to be.

My sponsor has said several times since I’ve known her, that the only person who walks your entire journey with you from beginning to end completely, is you.  It made me think of how I have had to ask people to come help me at times with the project.

I had to first let people know that I was doing some work in this room for anyone to even know I needed help.  Some offered with no asking, some I had to ask a few times before they finally came over, some couldn’t because they didn’t know how.  Some of them were there at the beginning and some later on.  Some people were better at helping and some tried but didn’t have the experience and I had to go back over those parts again myself.  Some made things a little worse than when I started.  Others still could not help and then some sat and watched and did nothing as the walls came down right in front of them, knowing I needed the help, after I had asked them and they were capable, but they were unwilling to help or too stuck in their own mess to even notice.

I didn’t finish it today and that is ok, I even left it a mess but swept a little bit to organize.  It will be there when I am ready to do the work, and God knows I will need help.

I will go through pain after making these changes today and that is ok too.  That is the beauty of living Just For Today, there is always a tomorrow.

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