“My road to recovery is long and winding, but I am never lost or far from home. Either way. My recovery is my only responsibility.” IN LOVING MEMORY OF JOHNNY M. – LOVE, WENDY

As I continue to raise awareness on the brain disorders of addiction and mental illness, the more I learn of the everlasting effects that one’s behavior, albeit unintentional, has on one’s family dynamic.

I need to express this heartbreaking fact…

Those living with these disorders, including myself, now in recovery for nine years, stand in judgement of oneself feeling that we “should have” been able to stop, “if only I had” not scammed my family, if I “would have” listened to God sooner, etc., and beat ourselves up each day for the pain inflicted on ourselves, and onto our loved ones.

Yes, I was severely unwell for most of my life and did not have the awareness to recognize the severity of my disorders. I did not actively seek the treatment that I needed to heal from my own trauma until I began recovery nine years ago. This trauma was the catalyst for my substance use disorder where I self medicated for forty years. It occurred simultaneously with a variety of other mental health disorders. My toxic behaviors and actions deeply affected the trajectory of my own children’s lives and wellness, and sometimes, even all of these years later, I am treated as an outsider of the family.

So much “water under the bridge.” Sometimes I wish to drown in order to avoid the reality of these lasting reprecussions.

But…I move forward always keeping my children at the forefront of my mind. They were the reason that I asked for help to save my life in the first place. And I truly believe, and teach in my trainings that everyone is “allowed to feel whatever they feel.” Certainly my children have every right. Here, I practice acceptance. There is no choice.

Our families and our friends may not understand, or choose not to understand our disorders, and may forever stand in judgement and anger of our disorders, but nobody stands more firmly in that judgement and anger than one living with the disorder. The one living with the disorder experiences lifelong regret and self inflicted mental “beatings.” Every day I pray for strength and God’s grace to offer me peace. And, I always do the right thing for myself, and for my loved ones…even when that means standing at a distance, indefinitely.

These brain disorders are influenced by our genetic pre-disposition, our environment, and how we practice daily self care. In fact, these disorders are familial. However, when we finally have the awareness that we live with these disorders in our DNA, we can learn self regulating skills through a devotion to healthy practices, loving, healthy relationships, and through our deep and unwavering faith.

And, when we are not accepted into family functions or permitted to share in the day to day experiences of loved ones, we extend grace of more time and space for those who are still in pain due to the actions, albeit unintentional actions, that impacted their own wellness, to further heal.

I remind myself daily that I must meet others where they are, pray for their healing, continue on with my own healing, and practice acceptance. Acceptance promotes freedom.

I also remind myself that my life was saved for a reason. Therefore, I continue to speak my truth, stand in my deep faith, love others wherever they are at the present time, and lead by example.

There before the grace of God go I.

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

God knows my heart. He knows my remorse. He knows my pain. He knows my intentions. He offers to me loving, daily guidance and support. And I follow Him.

I am aware that I live with a brain disorder. I regulate my thoughts and actions through spiritual solutions and self care practices in order to manage my disorder, daily. Living with this disease is not my fault. This disease hijacks the part of the brain that is responsible for “decision making and analytical functions in the brain’s prefrontal cortex.” This brain disease is extremely complex and unpredictable. Even nine years in, I am aware that it is my responsibilty to manage any symptoms of this chronic brain disease, and to ask for help if and when my wellness practices are falling short of supporting my recovery.

My recovery is my only responsibility.

I have made amends time and time again. I move forward in a mindset of acceptance. I experience life in the moment. I find peace, love and joy in many moments throughout my day.

I too, have the right to feel whatever I feel, including peace, love and joy. Wellness.

I embrace the serenity to “accept the things I cannot change.”

I am either forever burdened with my disorders and my past, or I choose to use my experiences to heal, and to serve others, wherever they are on their journey, and if, and whenever they are ready.

Here is the space where I am given “the wisdom to know the difference.”

My road to recovery is long and winding, but I am never lost or far from home. Either way.

Today’s blog is dedicated in loving memory of Johnny. RIP sweetie. I see you.

Love and blessings,

Wendy

Wendy Blanchard, M.S., INHC, NYCPS