By Leah Bell
At Inspire Recovery, we have created a completely out-of-the-box addiction treatment program. Since day one we have integrated art, music, journal writing, mindfulness, outdoor activities and nutrition into our weekly groups. As an LGBTQ-focused rehab, it’s also very important to us that spirituality has a presence within our facility that can be defined by the individuals who seek recovery here. Today’s article is inspired by the New Moon in Sagittarius and contains a writing exercise that can empower you to “release your old story.”
For many who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, pansexual, transgender, queer, questioning, gender neutral or any other identity on the gender spectrum – the experience of growing up in what we refer to as a “heteronormative” society can be part of the root causes of someone’s addiction. The term “heteronormative” is defined as, “denoting or relating to a worldview that promotes heterosexuality as the normal or preferred sexual orientation.” This means, if your life experience is out of the “normal” definition than you could easily face family rejection, bullying at school, low self-esteem and other examples that can lead to using drugs and alcohol at a young age.
At Inspire, we are well aware of this situation. We are dedicated to creating a safe space for personal expression, acceptance and a celebration of the diversity of our clients and staff. The individualized care that we provide has a lot to do with the way in which we are able to easily and without judgment validate someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. These aspects are core to a person’s life. When you’re at Inspire Recovery, you are not the elephant in the room. You are a part of the rainbow that brings light, joy, and hope to our center. Your recovery from drugs and alcohol is instrumental to how our center thrives because your transformation to feeling whole and complete without having to live up to society’s definition of “normal” is the true essence that makes Inspire Recovery what it is.
Today is the New Moon in Sagittarius. Astrology can play an incredible role in one’s recovery – as the messages are constantly empowering us to “release what no longer serves us,” live our true authentic lives [i.e. without drugs and alcohol], and to “plant seeds of intention” for the lives and dreams we want to bring into reality. Astrology can play a part in your spirituality, for it is the universe that our world lives within, and no matter who or what your Higher Power is – it is likely to be a part of this universe. The following are messages that are aligned with the New Moon in Sagittarius, we hope they empower you to shine bright and be loving and kind to yourself and others.
YOUR PAST DOES NOT HAVE TO DICTATE YOUR PRESENT OR YOUR FUTURE
For many people in recovery from drugs, alcohol, codependency, sex & love addiction, gambling, family dysfunction – you name it – it is our intense clutch on the past events, traumas and challenges that form the foundation for our addictions. By working the many different 12 Step programs available, it is possible to move out of active addiction and live your life in recovery free from that which previously made your life unmanageable. This is not without hard work and determination to transform your life.
This New Moon in Sagittarius is asking you to release your old story – the one you reply in your head and tell a million times – the one that is the “why” it is so hard to stay sober, be successful, get the job you want, the relationship you long for, etc. We always want to have somewhere to place blame, because taking responsibility for our lives and actions is a lot of work. On this day, write down a list of “whys” that you often tell yourself, your sponsor or other people in your recovery program. “Because my teacher told me I was stupid.” “Because my parents never asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.” “Because I didn’t have the same chances to succeed as the other kids in my class were given.” Keep writing and releasing these statements until you feel all your “whys” have been revealed.
Being defined by our past makes us think we are less than who we truly are. On another piece of paper, write down all of the attributes that you love and appreciate about yourself. Be fully present with yourself, your progress but not your perfection. Clear the negative self-talk by writing every word that comes to mind – not only about what defines you in a positive way, but also the ways in which you WANT to be defined. Your life is not defined by your past, you can become anything that you set your mind on. If you want to be kind, compassionate and generous – write down these words.
Now write how you FEEL when you think of yourself as kind, compassionate and generous (or any of the words that you wrote down that you are aspiring to be). Write about the FEELING… how GOOD it feels, how INCREDIBLE it feels to be a generous person. What does a generous person do with their time, energy, resources? Begin to see and feel yourself in a state of absolute possibilities. No longer held back by the story that you tell yourself about why you are not worthy, not loved, not successful. Take the paper you wrote your “whys” on and crumple it up. Tell yourself, “I’m done with this old story, it does not serve me, it does not help me achieve my goals in life.” And throw that paper in the trash. Leave it in the past. Take the trash to the curb. It’s leaving your life in a small physical way that can easily impact your life in a major way if you stay present to what it means to AGREE to LET IT GO.
Write down 5-10 words that will keep the energy of your empowered self in the present moment so you can focus on healing from the past and take action steps to create the life of your dreams! Write these empowering words on your mirror, in your Big Book, in your 12 Steps notebook, tell your sponsor next time you see them, “I am a kind, compassionate and generous person. I am going to achieve my life goals in 2018 because I believe that I am worthy of living a happy and healthy life.” Anything to that tune will help you transform the old story into something that is not only empowering for you – but can begin to make an incredible impact on your fellowship, as well. You’re not alone, recovery is a community. Remember the more we grow, the more we shine and share our light and our wisdom with the world. Your life experiences are your most important lessons, don’t let them be your biggest restrictions.