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Keep Coming Back

by | Feb 15, 2022 | ComLine, Voices of Recovery

These three little words have formed the foundation of my recovery. Like my North Star, they point the way when I feel lost at sea. In typical adult-child fashion, my recovery has been full of high highs and low lows. Especially at the beginning, I found myself swinging between hopeful elation and hopeless despair. I would hear two opposing voices in my head. When I felt good, I would hear “See? You’re all better! You don’t need this program anymore. You were just creating problems in your head. Your childhood wasn’t even that bad!” When I felt low, I would hear “What’s the point? It’s been over two decades, and you’re still suffering. Nothing works.” The goal of both voices appeared to be the same: to find reasons to quit ACA. I needed something to keep me tethered to ACA, something that didn’t shift with the winds of my changing moods. For me, that has been setting the recovery bar very low: Just keep coming back. That’s all you have to do. If nothing else, just show up and listen.

For 18 months now, I have attended my regular homegroup meeting every Saturday. Rain or shine. Happy or sad. Grateful or begrudging. And, by showing up every week no matter my mood, I allow my ACA group to see me and accept all parts of me. ACA is the first place in my life where I have felt permission to show up just as I am. Growing up I had to hide most of my authentic self—the sensitive parts, the angry parts, the hurt parts, the selfish parts, the irrational parts, the fearful parts, even the joyful and silly and confident parts. In ACA, I can be angry or sad and people won’t recoil in horror or scold me. In fact, my shares are often met with empathetic looks, slight nods of recognition, and even an outreach message or two.

ACA has given me so much, but its greatest gifts are ones that I did not receive in my childhood: consistency and acceptance. I find great comfort in knowing that my home group will always be there, week after week, listening to me without judgment, like a loving parent. And if for some reason my home group closed down, I know I could find another meeting to attend. In fact, I know that I can move anywhere in the world and find an ACA group who will instantly “get me” in a way that I never thought was possible. In short, it’s provided me with a stable home.

By coming back, week after week, I recognize that I am neither “too good” nor “too bad” for this program. I am not fully healed or beyond repair. I am a work in progress, and that’s okay.

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