One of the things I did during the first few months into my recovery was to write letters to myself six, nine, eighteen, twenty-four months into the future. Handwritten and sealed in envelopes, they became lifelines. Poignant reminders of how far I’d come. Encouragement to continue the journey. I read them often.
Below is an excerpt from one of those letters, the one I return to the most. I must have known I’d need this reminder again and again.
Remember how you felt when you were in the depths of your addiction; how helpless and hopeless you were. How, for so long, you tried to control and suppress your emotions by starving yourself, purging, or drowning in alcohol. You’re stronger than that now. You no longer need those escapes or that control because you’ve experienced the other side.
You’ve experienced true peace, forgiveness, and God’s constant and abiding mercy and love. Trust in that now and know you’re not alone. Walk confidently in that knowledge. Let it encompass and consume you. Let it be the light in every darkness and the core of everything you are.
Imagine how much stronger you’ll become each time you allow yourself to feel; to acknowledge both the dark and the light as they come, and instead of turning to this world for answers, you turn instead to God? Every time your past fears, the voice of your past addictions, or doubt overwhelm you, you now have an endless source of strength and mercy to turn to. God will never abandon you. He will never condemn you; He will never turn away. Feel this now; know it with every breath you take and be at peace.
Walk confidently in that knowledge. Let it encompass and consume you. Let it be the light in every darkness and the core of everything you are. I believe in you. I’ve been with you through the darkness. Now, I am grateful to walk with you in the light.JN Fenwick —April 18, 2018.
In the valley I stood, broken and defeated.
Falling to knees, so long unused.
Blindly I’d traveled, believing I was master.
Denying a soul, so battered and bruised.
The valley was wide, as it lay beneath mountains,
I’d never climb, not on my own.
Frozen I stood, lost in the shadows.
Fearing I’d never, find my way home.
In the still, quiet dawn, the sun rose from the darkness,
it’s warmth on my face, so long denied.
In those first rays of light, I surrendered the battle,
and there in the silence, I finally cried.
His voice came to me softly, in the midst of my anguish,
calming the torrent from a place deep within.
For so long I had turned from, that deep soulful yearning,
that just for a moment I didn’t recognize Him.
Rise from this place, child, follow where I lead you.
Let go of your fears, your guilt and your shame.
For I am the light, that will never leave you,
you know who I am, your soul cries My name.
He lifted me gently, and placed me behind Him,
paving the way up the steep mountainside.
No valley too low, will keep Me from you,
no ocean too deep, no mountain too high.
I’ll be there to lift you, to carry you onward.
To be your strong armor, in moments of strife.
Atop that high mountain, I stared at the valley,
marveling at the distance, so far below.
Go from this place, child, rest in My promise,
from this moment onward, you’ll never walk alone.
JN Fenwick (© 2021)