Co-NNections Recovery Stories

Four Magic Words of Recovery – 6-11-19

The Four Magic Words of Recovery

Magic for me are the words, “ouch”, “oops”, “help” and “no”. I don’t know where they came from. Like so much CoDA wisdom, that will probably always remain anonymous. Wherever they came from, they serve me well.

“Ouch” is the first one because I have to start by paying attention to myself. Ignoring hurts is not ok, not only physically but also emotionally. It is not ok for me to be berated or talked over or dominated or even ignored. I have a right to be a respected part of any group I am in. And so I have a right and an obligation to speak up against such affronts. This is a key part of me being me.

“Oops” is because none of us is perfect and life is messy. It is a small, humble word, easy to slip in so matters don’t escalate. Impossible expectations no longer burden me. I can be tolerant of me, and all things, as we are.

“Help” follows on that realization of faultedness and points me to becoming a “we” who can do so much more than I can ever do alone. Indeed, I struggled alone so long before I found the fellowship of CoDA where my recovery and growth took off. That internal miracle suggests what some assemblage of “we” can do in the world as well.

“No” is the shortest of all, and the most powerful of all. Two year olds know this and say so loudly. But so many of us had that beaten down or ignored. We learned to suppress in order to survive. Or, what I am suspecting was my case, I was protected from the consequences of not saying no to my own harmful impulses and was thus infected with a sense of entitlement. Either way, I have to be ready with this two letter word to others and, even more so, to myself.

These small words, each a complete sentence, achieve so much, so simply. All I need is the wisdom to know when they are needed and the courage to say them.

JB – 3/20/19

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