Thanks, guys--sorry this won't be a funny poem:

I also plunged into an intense kind of "recovery" years ago--it was too much, too overwhelming. I, and probably my therapists, believed at the time that what you had to do was relive as much of the pain as you could, as quickly and intensely as you could, to "get it out." I fell apart emotionally and ditched the entire idea of recovery for many years. I built a life for myself instead.

I used to think I was playing hooky from the work that I needed to do, but that time off, just living my life, was part of the process. I'm stronger and readier to face the dragons now.

I don't believe the same things about recovery that I used to. It's not a series of flaming hoops you have to jump through, a minefield you have to cross, and someday, you're done, assuming you make it out alive. It's the act of facing what went wrong, opening yourself up to support and guidance, forgiving yourself, celebrating what's getting better, and sometimes, taking a long break. Maybe it's doing what you always do, but with better understanding and more compassion. Maybe "recovery" slides imperceptably into plain old "growing" and it never stops.

A couple of days ago, I wrote out a list of every major thing that went wrong in my family -- every disaster that could be the subject of lots and lots of therapy. I couldn't read the thing when I was done--it wouldn't even work as a screenplay. But I tried reading it again this morning, and got depressed and overwhelmed. ("No way is this my life!") Eventually, I got up and took a long shower, got dressed and went for a walk, blasting some cathartic music (Marc Almond). I feel better now, and Sebastian, the cat, is purring on my lap as I'm typing this.

That list of stuff, and getting overwhelmed, are recovery. But so are the walk, the music, and the cat.

If it's too much now, Frog, if the work is "consuming" you, a break may also be recovery.

David