Spiritual Growth and Recovery are Painful
I've always had the desire to contribute to the growth of others. Time, energy and lots of money were thrown to the wayside in order to make other people happy. In retrospect, this was my way of not dealing with my own issues … taking on the role of ‘the helper’.
It’s been almost 10 months since I entered a treatment facility to deal with the aftermath of a manic episode that lasted the good part of the last 3 years. I now know that I wasn't in as good space, even though at the time I thought I was being ‘productive’.
By making a conscious decision to discontinue coping with drugs and alcohol, I've begun to see life in a new light. And this light continues to illuminate many issues I've been depressing for years.
The fog has lifted. And I've only begun to deal with the many emotional issues that date back to my early childhood. But I have to accept them, accelerate through them and conquer them. Period.
Q – What’s the best thing about recovery?
A -We get our emotions back.
Q –What’s the worst thing about recovery?
A -Yup, we get our emotions back.
My desire to truly know what love is and having the ability to give it unconditionally is very high on my ‘growth list’. My past relationships have been more like possessions; taking prisoners if you will. ‘Do as I say and I’ll be happy’.’ Don’t cross me and everything will be fine.’ They were the epitome of superficial relationships based in fear, convenience and self-centeredness. Not having the ability to appreciate people for who they are….Looking at people as objects vs. loving human beings. I would unknowingly judge them on their potential. While at the same time always hoping they would ‘come around’ …. Develop into who I wanted or needed them to be. Not cool.
Looking outside of my ‘self’ for happiness has also been a thorn in my side. Trying to fill the ‘God hole’ with possessions, success, acknowledgements and money is a recipe for disaster. And I’m dealing with the consequences as I write this. Money and success have been major motivational factors for as long as I can remember. I now know I was programmed to think this way and by the grace God I’ve been given the opportunity to adjust my game plan and remove this illusion from my consciousness.
The Remedy is Love
The only way we can be ‘whole’ is to look within vs. without. Nothing external is going to fulfill our desire to be loved. We must love ourselves first. This takes compassion, acceptance and humility … traits that I’ve never considered important until recently. I’ve always had a ‘kind heart’, a trait I can trace back to my mother (and father). But unfortunately this ‘kind heart’ frequently had conditions.
Conditional love is the work of Darkness. Constantly reminding us to take all we can get without thinking of others. When selfishness is inadvertently instilled in us at a very young age, it’s a difficult habit to break. But once broken, we finally have the ability to think of others first. Give of ourselves and not look for anything in return. This is the true essence of Love. In the book, ‘The Road Less Traveled’, M Scott Peck defines Love as “the extending of one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth”. Wow.
Not taking the opportunity to face my demons would be a tragedy. A tragedy because of what would be lost. I need to take advantage of the opportunity to assist others in working through the same emotional issues that have plagued me for years. When it comes right down to it, I've had to snap out of the ‘blame game’ and use my new found knowledge to access the infinite wisdom that is embedded in my DNA. There are no shortcuts. We can’t wait on others to save us. We have to ‘attack the day’ and endure the pain that comes with spiritual growth.
Looking at pain as a ‘price of admission’, we ultimately realize that spiritual growth is a gift. Spiritual growth is luxury that requires us to accept the necessary pain that will lead us to the joy of recovering from our past. Accepting this path to enlightenment, we will ultimately feel gratitude for the wisdom that we've attained.
It’s difficult to embrace change. Change is hard. Change is scary. But change is the only thing in this world we can count on. Nothing stays the same…ever. We can reminisce about what we had or where we've been, but always knowing that it’s the journey we need to focus on. Change and growth are painful. And to take a quote from the movie, ‘Prometheus’, “The trick is to not mind the pain”.
Wayne Dyer often speaks about ‘enjoying the mystery’ of life. Once we realize that life is both mysterious and painful, we open ourselves to all the joy that life provides. So many of us are scared of growth and the pain that comes with it. To finally take the first step towards healing the past, enjoying the present and being optimistic about the future …. This is the true meaning of liberation.
Courage is being scared to do something and making the choice to do it anyway. So do it scared. It gives us the opportunity to smash our Ego and break the chains that have been holding us back from fulfilling our destiny. We must embrace the pain, move through it and look forward to the joy that awaits us on the other side.
Posted by Gregory Montgomery, Jr.