It’s easy to focus on the destruction of a rock bottom when you are lying in the crater of it. It’s easy to miss the tiny key of freedom that’s given in exchange for having our world turned upside down.
In recovery rooms across the globe the phrase “Let Go, Let God” is plastered across the walls, adorned and hung in every nook and cranny. For longer than I care to admit I strictly focused on the “Let God” part of that four-word limerick. For the first few years of recovery, I was angry and hurt at the “God” in “Let God”. Gradually with the help of others, I processed through my hurt and as it turned out, it wasn’t God, rather the members of his house who hurt me. After I dropped my resentment toward him, I resorted to pleading and stomping, upset that after all that, God still wasn’t engaging with me. It was only after more pain that I was brought to a place where I could finally “Let Go”.
Many times we’re not even aware of what we’re clenching so tightly.
The pain of gripping tightly to what we’re holding onto serves this uncomfortable purpose. It’s one of the many gifts of suffering, when pain loosens our grip and gently pries open our closed hands and we can let go and hold something new. Many times we’re not even aware of what we’re clenching so tightly. This is why human relationships are the key to recovery. With the help of others who know us intimately, utilizing the practices we’ve been taught, we can often Let Go without the impact of a rock bottom. Let’s not forget, however, that some of our most poignant lessons were learned on our face.
The tiny key that opened the door to freedom was found lying next to me in the wreckage of my suffering. A common sentiment of recovering people is, “Don’t rob someone of their rock bottom”. When I first started on the awkward and uncomfortable path of recovery, I was horrified that other recovering people almost cheered on someone’s descent to rock bottom. I thought it was a macabre display by calloused souls. But, I quickly learned that someone being brought to their knees might be exactly where they need to be.
Maybe the pain is a healthy part of us crying out for something different.
While my heart hurts for those in suffering, my hope lives in the reality that pain has a purpose. Maybe the pain is a healthy part of us crying out for something different. After all, it is a courageous plea to ask for more from this life, let go of what we know, and step in to the uncertainty to find it.