Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Let's Talk About Relapse - Day 15 - A Final Word About Masks - Living Congruently With Our Truths

We have spent the last several weeks discussing the Masks of Relapse. We carefully examined the Masks of Denial, Disguise, and Detachment, learning about their critical roles as we enter into relapse and as we remain there. However, we also learned how to recognize their features and how to implement recovery strategies enabling us to remove them more readily and in a more timely way.  We learned that this is hard work; but that it can be done!  Relapse never rests; neither must we! As we conclude this section in our discussion of relapse, I want to leave you with a personal reflection.

For most of us, as we go through our days, we slightly alter our persona's (who we are and how we act) in order to accommodate others and the norms of our various environments.We want to get along with others, and we want to perform at the best of our abilities. This is natural and healthy. Even with these healthy compromises in our ways of being, we often feel tired, stressed, or worn out by the end of the day. Hopefully, most of us have the luxury as we conclude our obligations to unwind and to relax; but, most importantly to return to our place of truth - where we can be ourselves and be at peace with who we are. These modifications that we make in our persona's, however, are much different than the Masks of Relapse.

When I think back to my personal decline into relapse, I did not recognize the inherent danger behind wearing the Masks and their sustained impact upon me. I was not fully aware that what I was doing was much more detrimental and destructive than slightly altering my persona. What I did know, without question, was that each and every day I was slipping further and further away from my place of peace and healthy way of being.

 I remember saying, "I feel that I cannot breathe. I feel like I am suffocating."

Looking back now - I see that listening to and living in self- inflicted lies, pretending that everything was ok when it wasn't, and removing myself from the processes, places and people who were nurturing and supportive - all these Masks cut off my lifelines of truth; and thus, I could not live a life of authenticity or be at peace with who I am.

What I want to leave you with is this. Although I've named three distinct Masks, they come in so many different forms and faces. They can appear enticing and attractive. They can be subtle and they can be seductive. It is the role of Masks to move us away from what we each know to be good and true for ourselves. Therefore, we must remain grounded in our healing beliefs, tenets, or programs, or processes that serve us well. We must recognize when we are most vulnerable, or weekened, or when and where we need extra encouragement, support, or counsel. And when we fail or fall short, we must forgive ourselves and begin again.

In closing, I do know first hand that reclaiming, protecting, and honoring our truths is incredibly hard work. However, when we choose to do so....
Pealing Away The Bark - Finding Truths - Ch. 7

"...we begin to heal again; our thoughts clear; our minds open up; and our truths flow. We navigate comfortably as we live congruently with who we are and who we are meant to be. Life is meaningful and purposeful. The self is at ease; it is free." 

Remember, as you are reclaiming your truths - take it 
one breath at a time - and - rejoice as you reclaim yourself in the process!

From me to youAs we bring this section on Masks to a close, I would really appreciate your feedback.  Has this information helped you?  If so, how? What questions do you have?  What other topics would you like to see covered about relapse? 

*Special note:  Thank you so much to the over 450 people who have entered the Goodread's Giveaway Contest of Mountain Air: Relapsing and Finding the Way Back...One Breath at a Time.  There are only 3 days left!  I wish you all good luck!  And, I can't wait to send the winners their personalized copies!  Thank you for making this such a great success!!  Holli Kenley

Homework: As you begin to reclaim your truths, answer and act upon the following questions.
  • What changes need to be implemented in order to create and sustain a healthy supportive environment?
  • What boundaries need to be in place and with whom?
  • What protective measures or controls need to be instituted?
  • What recovery practices, support systems, personal/spiritual beliefs or tenets need to be revisited or reintegrated into your way of being?  
  • Are there other measures that need attention?

Next time...we will tackle the topic of forgiveness of self...and releasing.

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