Yesterday I was with some friends in recovery, hanging out after the long holiday weekend. Somehow the conversation got onto engineering and math geeks and I mentioned I had come up with a personal formula for recovery when I was in treatment. (Earlier post with my initial formula)
I showed it to one of my fellow geeks and after looking at it, she blurted out “but you’re missing one thing — other people.”
I about fell on the floor.
She was SO right.
And this isn’t about being right or wrong…it was just an amazingly quick but insightful observation that spoke volumes to me…it cut right to the heart of what I’ve been experiencing lately…or missing lately.
As I look back, I still have a tendency to keep my distance from others, carefully guarding my inner struggles with a mask of “fine” or “ok.” When I do get into a tough situation, my natural pattern is to isolate and try to get through it on my own. These are the patterns that have helped me survive thus far in life (on one level…), so it’s natural I fall back on them. But, I know from my own experience thus far and from what others tell me — that approach won’t work going forward. This is a “me” program that we do together. I need the experience, strength, and hope of others around me.
I also realize that when I do hang out with others, I am not investing as much time and energy into getting to know them as I could. The power of a question…asking about their experience. Or just simply sharing about life. Or doing things together. It’s been so long since I’ve built healthy friendships, I am not used to going beyond the initial surface…moving beyond the shallow but necessary “where are you from? etc.” crap that can lead to a deeper friendship. It’s hard to just let go, experience, share and be. As one person reminded me, “come early and leave late…hang around the rooms.” I do that on one level…but I need to spend that time interacting and getting to know people. Connecting…
But, I’m open and willing…they tell me that’s what I need to grow and (re)discovery who I am.
So just for today, I will seek out others. I’ll revisit my formula and acknowledge that it IS missing one thing…the other people in my recovery.