When I was about to graduate from Celebrate Recovery, a 12 step program, I was supposed to draw on one side of a poster what I was before, and on the other, what I've become.
People from the addiction-spectrum participate in CR together. There are those who struggle with "conventional addictions" like substance abuse, chemical abuse, sexual abuse, self-harm, eating disorders, etc. But Celebrate Recovery recognizes that our "hurts, habits and hangups" all come from the same brokenness. So it's also a place for people struggling with anger, codependency, manipulation, over eating... and there was me.
I didn't fit in any real category except I knew broken from Grace's cancer. Somehow I had still managed to heal and after 9 months, I was ready to graduate the program. But I still didn't know what "hangup" I was graduating from.
I turns out I struggle with becoming a robot. And I've been struggling with it a lot lately. When I'm a robot I stop feeling and just make the motions. It can be so subtle that sometimes I don't even realize. I'm still functioning, in fact, I'm often functioning at 200%. On the outside. Inside I'm huddled in fetal position, lost in a cold, dark void.
This morning during prayer time (the first in a long time) I felt the Holy Spirit I became a robot.
- I'm really stressed out about the presidential election.
- I'm incredibly concerned that Cal EPA hasn't done anything tangible to enforce the cleanup of the SSFL.
- I'm stressed about finances.
- I haven't been exercising enough.
- I need to go back to the chiropractor but won't because of Covid.
- I'm worried that low-level radioactive waste could be deregulated and sent to regular dumps across the US.
- I'm worried about some of my friends who are really struggling.
- I'm weary from the kids homeschooling.
- My house is a mess.
- Luke's birthday is coming up and I have no energy for it.
- Home repairs have been never ending.
- Covid 19 restrictions have left me lonely and feeling helpless.
So when I saw the potential to get lost in a work project, I threw myself in, not even bothering to see how deep the pit was. It's a documentary about the Santa Susana Field Lab and how several Nazi scientists quietly worked there after WW2. Instead of keeping the project to it's proposed 8 minutes, I've expanded it to 24 minutes. I've spent countless hours pouring over holocaust footage and images. I've allowed myself to work 8-12 hour days. I decided to shoot my own historical scenes. I decided it needed amazing graphics. I've been so immersed in it that I became a robot.
The advantages of being a robot is that I could blame my exhaustion on being tired from working instead of admitting that life is frightening me. It became an excuse to justify that I was too busy to play with the kids. Too busy to pray. Too busy to relax. Too busy to taste my food. Too busy to feel anything.
God pointed out to me today that I'm concerned about many things, but I haven't picked what matters the most. I've lost myself inside the cold, metallic shell of overworking instead of allowing myself to be the bruised human that Iam. Good thing God knows where I hide and knows how to draw me back out. And I think because of Celebrate Recovery I thaw much faster whenever I relapse. It doesn't always feel good to thaw. And I know from CR I won't be able to do it without being honest with safe people who can help me.
The day before I graduated CR I finally realized what to write on my poster. On one side I wrote, "robot." I was a robot addict to avoid the pain, confusion, and the limitations of being a broken human in a broken world.
On the other side I wrote, "child of God."
In some ways they're similar. I am still bruised and sometimes bleeding. I am still confused, frightened, and frustrated about the problems in my life. But instead of trying to dull the pain in unhealthy ways, I am safe enough to feel when I know I'm held in my Father's arms.
And feeling is hard. Feeling is painful. But it's human. And when I can accept myself as a human I won't get as much done, but I will be connected again with the people I love, the things I love, and able to be myself again.