Monday, May 6, 2013

the power of group.

I'm not attending a recovery group right now, but I have.  I believe firmly in their power.  It isn't just about accountability or about like-minded people.  There is real power in having validation from others of your feelings.  Validation from people who are at all kinds of stages in their journey.  Maybe it's just my degree in Sociology, but I found it extremely fascinating how often I would hear the same stories, or versions of them, repeated.  We think we are so alone in our journey but we don't realize until we are in the safe place a group provides that someone else has been through something awfully similar as well.  We think the things we are most embarrassed to share or most ashamed of are unique to us....but, guess what, they're not.  It's true that no one person will have the exact same experience of another because we all bring something different to the table and we all have a different backstory....but when you're feeling a little bit crazy it sure is nice to know you aren't.  Also, I feel like so often the Lord works through other people.  I cannot tell you the incredible number of times I was struggling with something in particular that I had not yet shared with anyone but in my prayers and then someone would share something that was exactly what I needed to hear.  Just as journaling helps clear the mind so does talking it out...or helping someone else talk theirs out.

Here in Las Vegas there is an ARP group for unhealthy eating patterns (you can find the schedule as well as any other ARP/PASG meeting time & location here).  I went for a while and found it very useful.  It was never about peer pressure to be one way or another, as I worried it would be.  It was all about having a place to vocalize yourself and receive validation in return.  There is a reason that you are told to pray vocally.  Trust me, I have a very hard time with that.  I can't explain it but it does something different, and it makes a difference, to make it vocal.  It is hard.  At the time I was also facilitating the PASG group too.  Eventually I got a new calling in my ward and my schedule also with my kids just did not allow for me to attend either meeting anymore.  I had to very carefully evaluate whether that was me making an excuse for myself in an attempt to avoid recovery.  In the end, I decided that it was not.  It was about me having a balance in my life and being able to have a 'downtime' night at home.  Balance is critical to being healthy.

I guess I'm just saying that I'm glad to have found a group that I can participate in even with my busy schedule right now.  I can't believe I let myself go so long without one thinking I could just change myself. While I did still continue to grow and improve over the last year, it was with vast more difficulty and I feel like it was easier to let Satan in my head without one.  What's that scripture? "It is not good for man to be alone." ?(pretty sure that applies to women as well) It is good to have a 'safe place', to have validation, to have accountability, to have support and encouragement.  I'm in a good place and I'm glad to be.  I know I won't always be.  I'm glad to know it's okay that I'm not perfect, and that people who look like they are actually aren't either.  I'm glad to be trying and acknowledging that I will mess up from time to time at the start.  That is empowering.  Perfectionism is paralyzing.  Trust me, I know.  Far too often I have put off starting something (weight loss, cleaning, projects, a conversation, etc) because I let a fear of falling short get in the way.  That's not what it's about.  It's about a journey forward.  It's about one small step for mankind.... oh wait, that was something else.  But it is about being okay with the progress and the setbacks because you see the bigger picture and know you are still facing the right direction.

I killed it in my workout this morning.  So much so that I puked afterward.  That's a first for me.  I ran out of my acid reflux medicine a few days ago and I've got it bad.  I could tell the weight lifting was aggravating it but I was determined not to let that get in the way again, as it has for me before.  So I puked and then I laid on the floor in front of the fan, and then I was fine.  And now, now that it's evening, I can hardly even remember that I worked out at all.

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