By: Marilyn L. Davis
How can you coat or frame the changes in your life to harvest beauty, brilliance, and wisdom?”
30 Years and Symbolic Transformation
I’m celebrating 30 years of abstinence-based recovery today. Curious person that I am, I looked at the gem for a thirtieth-anniversary, and it was a pearl. That information sent me looking for the symbolic meaning for both the pearl and my recovery. Was there any correlation? Very much so.
A natural pearl begins its life as a foreign object, such as a parasite or piece of shell. Growing in the host, they are transformed over time into the beautiful pearl, just as over time, when we adopt spiritual principles, walk a recovery path, and help others, we are transformed, too.
The Spiritual Path and Pearls Along the Way
My addiction, like everyone else’s, was an irritant within me, a yearning to change the way I felt, be someone else, even for just a day, or to ease the mental conflict between what I was doing and what I knew I should do.
Throughout my life, I’ve had teachers, whether my parents, sister, relatives, school teachers, or friends. Many of them shared spiritual lessons with me, even if they didn’t call them that at the time.
We’ve all known that it is better to be generous and not miserly, sharing and not taking, truthful and not lying and to not squander our gifts.
Some of us were brought up in a church and heard a sermon weekly about how to be a better person. Some of us weren’t, but that didn’t mean that we didn’t know the 10 Commandments.
We had a guideline for better living.
Getting Off the Path
My addiction took me to many dark places, where I violated morals, principles, and truths. While I felt guilty about my actions, I did not understand there was a way out, so I continued to use to mask the pain.Yet, on some level, the lessons were adding to the pearl inside me. Learning a lesson is a by-product of the experience. Just as the pearl is the by-product of the irritation. Click To Tweet
But accepting and valuing the lessons is different. That has taken me years.
Back on the Path
The spiritual path is one that we individually take to transform. Just as one person will notice a particular knot on a tree, become conscious of the boll, and spend time looking at it in wonder, another will bypass that in favor of listening to the birds communicate through chirps, songs, and caws. What each of those people gets out of this foray into nature depends on their interests, or what attracts their attention.
When the path was shown to me in 1988, I thought I had to find spiritual enlightenment like Grey Hawk, my mentor. Raised in Native American culture, he discovered his spirituality in nature.
But trying to fit his culture into my spirituality didn’t feel right. I agreed that spiritual principles needed to rule my life, but how would these manifest in me that might be different from his?
Rocky Paths or Smooth Paths: There are Still Pearls
I made many mistakes in my recovery. The only mistake I didn’t make was to relapse. Could I have made some of my journey easier? Indeed, but just as I didn’t learn the lesson the first time, I didn’t learn my lessons quickly in recovery, either.
I like to think of those lessons as the misshapen pearls. More layers of the teachings than I initially thought.
Am I wise because I have thirty years in recovery? Am I supposed to write pearls of wisdom in every post? Is my experience always like yours? I don’t think so.
All I’m obliged to do is share what lessons, experiences, and hope I’ve gotten in these years and let others learn their lessons. If some part of my journey coincides with another, we walk the path together for a time. That is until one of us needs to stop on the path and fully explore the lessons meant for us.
Stopping and learning, or when we continue walking and learning is not the point, and we need not criticize another who is no longer walking beside us. They have their lessons, and we have ours. Click To Tweet
Recovery is Inner Transformation
Just as a beautiful pearl is the result of irritation, we transform into a better person in our recovery, casting off the metaphorical irritant of addiction.
What starts out negative becomes valuable, prized and admired through this transformation. Just as the pearl grows in size, our spiritual life becomes richer when we change.
We don’t progress unless we change. Each experience in life is a type of lessons; it will relate to what we need to learn spiritually if we take the time to look at it. Then we grow in awareness.
If we ignore the lesson or don’t take the time to understand it, that lesson will return.
However, there’s no such thing as a wasted spiritual experience. We may glimpse something and not understand its value at the time. However, we can backtrack on the path, without criticizing ourselves, and experience profound insights when we do.
The Path: Backward and Forward in Time
We may not pay attention, and leave that pearl of wisdom for another time, but we gradually understand its value, backtrack and pick it up where we left it on the path.
Some days, I must remember the principles of the first step; that I am powerless over certain things. Retracing my path and reaching acceptance, I see people dying from addiction, not talking about what is real and relapsing, or merely repeating the same mistakes in relationships that caused them to go back out a year ago.The beauty of the spiritual path is that with each turn in it, there are lessons to learn, and with them, we transform, much like the pearl. Click To Tweet
What Pearls are You Finding on Your Path?
Are you continuing to transform? When you learn a spiritual lesson, are you sharing it with others? Are you valuing the lessons?
If not, then maybe take this day, and realize that you can take the pearls of wisdom within you and share them with others. Then there is room within you to learn more about you.
What Pearls are You Sharing about the Path?
Someone somewhere needs to know that recovery is possible. I hope, that as I celebrate my time today, that I may share and learn in equal measure.
I’m only one of about 23 million people in recovery. Together, we can bring hope to those still in the grips of addiction.
How can you do that? What pearls of wisdom can you share? What actions will help another?
- Advocate where you can.
- Become involved in the life of another.
- Encourage someone else.
- Live the message, “recovery works” to help end the stigma.
- Support the efforts of people and groups that foster positive examples of successful recovery.
Care to share your pearls of wisdom with the readers at From Addict 2 Advocate? How you say something is just as important as someone else. Send your submissions or ideas to FromAddict2Advocatesubmissions@yahoo.com