Welcome to Charlford's new monthly feature!
Do you know a real live warrior?
Contributed by Laura Johnson
I've been lucky enough to meet more than a few warriors. They are women who are in recovery, and they are some of the bravest women I know. Since joiningCharlford House's Board last June, I have been repeatedly inspired by the stories the women have shared about their recovery. I am moved by their accounts of overcoming adversity to change their lives from deep lows to highs of joy and fulfillment. Recovery begins at Charlford House, where the women are encouraged to confront the their histories of struggle and tribulation. They deserve our utmost respect for revisiting their personal battlefields and defeating them. But their victory is not won in just one day - just as addiction is not a single-headed monster defeated in one battle royale - it is a continuous process of introspection throughout their lives. The women learn to face the disappointments and tragedies of life head on, in full consciousness of their emotions and reactions. A commitment to staying clean and sober requires a constant and vigilant attendance to life's pitfalls and seeking ways to manage the ensuing pain without turning to the numbing effects of substances. Many of us try to achieve this kind of self-awareness. We may strive to practice mindfulness, journal to make peace with our feelings, or go to the gym to work out our frustrations. But for some the following options remain: a glass of wine to smooth the edges after an argument with a spouse, or a “restorative” night of cocktails with the girls after a stressful week. Or we might simply choose to ignore a conflict while it bubbles away, unexamined and wreaking psychological havoc from below the surface. That avoidance could be a hazard to someone in recovery: their success necessitates that issues be dealt with before they become triggers for relapse. The women of Charlford House show us that recovery is a continuous journey requiring the discipline and courage of a warrior. It is pure bravery and I am in awe of them.