If tears are a form of prayer then I prayed a lot during my 20 days in rehab. Good, healing tears. In front of other people. And I survived to tell you about it. I also wrote more in my journal in 3 weeks than I did in the previous 3 months. It was good to have a place to process my thougts and feelings. It was my first experience of having to lock up my journal in case others might read it. At home I leave my journal lying around because we respect one another's privacy.
If I ever needed confirmation that I was where I was supposed to be, I got it. My second day there I passed a bulletin board and was stopped in my tracks when I saw a prayer from a retreat I spoke at 18 months ago. I gave every woman at that retreat a copy of it and the one on the bulletin board was the exact piece of paper I printed it on with my handwriting on the other side.
I have been a caretaker extraordinaire. My body's been trying to tell me that's not a healthy choice. It really got my attention after an evening of unconsciously trying to be the emotional caretaker of loved ones. I woke up the next morning hardly able to function and so short of breath I couldn't talk and walk at the same time. I had to phone my loved ones and ask them not to visit me the rest of my time there because it took too many spoons. That whole experience was heart breakingly eye opening. Who knew my spoon supply was being depleted by my being a caretaker, people pleaser, perfectionist and martyr far more than any physical demands I put on it?
After 10 days of walking a huge building I stopped taking the elevator and took the stairs. I have more physical stamina now than I've had in over 4 years. I have a new way to listen to my body and a new appreciation for following through on what it's trying to tell me. I find that both liberating and sad.
Having someone else cook for me was absolutely wonderful. Every time someone complained about the meal I just reminded myself what a treat it was to not cook. Because of my food allergies I basically was able to eat just like I do at home so it wasn't much of a change, other than salad, soup and dessert at every meal, too.
One day I was so pissed off at a group of people that I yanked open the dessert case, took out a brownie and thought to myself, "piss on it, I'm going to have this even if I am allergic to it." The next moment I thought, "I'm not going to give them that much power in my life" and I put it back and chose something else. That was progress. What an 'aha' moment when I saw my addiction operating so smoothly. AA says alcohol is cunning baffling and powerful, so is compulsive overeating.
Despite being fed so very well I managed to drop some weight. Enough to fit into clothes I haven't worn in a long time. I hadn't expected that. I found myself eating slower and more mindfully than I have ever done. Whenever I found myself pacing in a "Give me something to eat otherwise I'm going to blow up at someone." mode I became aware of my pattern of behaviour and the need to stop and deal with my feelings. It means I can no longer indulge in comfort food eating. Feeding my feelings instead of dealing with them will take me down a road I can't afford to go. I find that liberating and sad, too.
Did you know good isn't a feeling? We had a four page list to choose from every day of how we were feeling and good was not on it. Neither was fine. For two solid weeks I chose words that described emotional pain of some kind or another before I was able to honestly write on the board the word peaceful.
Which I think came about directly because of your prayer support. Dearest one would drop off emails and comments from online so that I could read and gather strength from them. There were several stretches where I could really feel the support. There is an abundance of people out there who have no one to support them in their recovery. They leave rehab and have to find a whole new support group and have to cut ties with family, too. I feel blessed to have a strong support group both at home and online.
However, I did not want to come home.
The treatment center was safe and predictable. I was able to practice the things I learned in a supportive, caring enviroment. I was overwhelmed much of the first two weeks in treamtent, and overwhelmed when out on pass. So much so that I chose not to go out on pass after the first time. Leaving the center on Friday found me scared and bewildered. Lingering sadness is my feeling phrase for today.
Coming home Friday night felt like culture shock.
I'm still adjusting.