It is going to take some time for my feet to touch the ground. I am back at treatment, but not in that way. Last fall I got an email from my former therapist asking if I would be interested to come share my story in a new group forum. I was so touched the staff even thought of me to come and speak at the Empowerment Group. It is obvious how much I love Carolina House and what a special place it holds in my heart, so clearly I could not say, ‘yes’ fast enough.
Not only was I excited to return to the Carolina House, I was also thrilled to come to Raleigh and visit with friends. Being the innate party planner that I am, I scheduled my short trip full of shopping, yummy dinners and reunions with friends. I had everything perfectly planned out…including my Return-to-Treatment-Talk Outfit. To say I was excited was an understatement. However, this extreme outfit preparation wasn’t a detour from my normal routine. In fact, I thought (until today) that I was the only person to ever have a First-Day-Of-Treatment Outfit. Yes, I coordinated a ‘perfect’ outfit for my first day of treatment two years ago. Looking back, I have to laugh because seriously, what does one wear to her first day of treatment? If I did it over again, I would put on yoga pants and a t-shirt. But nonetheless I was dressed to impress with cute jeans, sweater and boots on my day of admission to the Carolina House. So I guess my over preparation in apparel for today’s talk was just in line with my nature.
When the Southwest wheels touched down in Raleigh yesterday, I did my best to contain my squeals of excitement. My heart was on overload for so many reasons. 1) I was about to see my oldest camp friend and her little sister (my former camper) 2) I was going shopping in Cameron Village, the area where I discovered my love for shopping without the confines of sizes and numbers 3) I was about to reunite with my dearest Carolina House friend. I had not seen her since she discharged nearly two years to the day. You literally could not force me to take the smile off my face. Our night was filled with reunion laughter, old stories and new friendships. However, I think my most favorite part was sharing an incredible dinner with a friend who had endured numerous difficult meals with me. My eyes welled with tears as our plates came and I was just so proud of her…so proud of us and how far we had come in this journey. It was a full circle day and I could not wait for today to return to the place that (re)built me, see my extraordinary former therapist, the incredible staff and just to simply set eyes on that beloved Carolina House porch of mine once again.
Well…today didn’t really go according to what I planned. Actually, all plans went out the window. Mother Nature actually threw a massive kink in my ‘perfect’ planing. Today, was yet another lesson in recovery (and life) that no matter how much you plan and plan, you cannot control everything…and sometimes, you just have to roll with it. An apocalyptic rain/snow/ice storm moved through the Triangle area during the exact time I was scheduled to go to Durham and speak. It was not safe for the patients to come to the Raleigh location and vice versa (Side note: it was really not safe for a Cajun girl to drive her rental car in the ice when a) I’ve never driven in snow and b) I just learned today what a ‘scraper’ is.) Recovery never stops and today was just another reminder of that. Even though I had everything planned out, I was able to just adapt with the shifts of the day, something that would have never been possible in the past. I would have internalized all of the angst and worry about the constant change of motion and plans. Instead, today, I went to Starbucks with my CH friend, ordered a coffee and bagel and stomped my feet to let out my frustration. The silly venting got the angst out of my system and life went on. And, as usual, all is fine and has turned out just as it should. Recovery is my biggest blessing and my best teacher.
So for tonight, I’m ‘hunkering down’ Louisiana style. Enjoying another night with good friends and will return to Carolina House tomorrow. Counting down the hours to see the porch where I dreamed my baby up. Counting down to see the place that set me on this beautiful path, the path of recovery that taught me to just roll with the punches…err…weather. And as we say in Louisiana: “Laissez les bons temps rouler”…Let the good times roll.
So goodnight cold moon.