Not Everyone Roots for You

Monday, May 16, 2022

Healing begins with recognition. The understanding that we’ve both hurt and have been hurt. It then moves into acceptance. Acknowledging that we can’t change the past any more than we can change others. What we can do is forgive. And even if that grace is never reciprocated, what matters most is that it’s offered.

Jennifer N. Fenwick


One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned in recovery is that not everyone roots for you. Some sit back and complain that you’ve changed. They don’t know how to talk to you. They are no longer comfortable around you. They focus on the absence of your addiction, rather than the person no longer chained to addiction. 

And that’s sad. Because you’ve fought so hard to break those chains. You’ve worked so hard to know yourself. You, unfettered by all the demons that drove you before. And you’re thriving. 

It’s difficult not to become angry at their lack of acknowledgment. Their unwillingness to allow you out of the box they placed you in. Yes, there was a time you were comfortable in that box too. You were ok with the labels, their disappointment in you, and the often shallow relationships you maintained because of it. You used them as fodder to continue down that dark path. But once you stepped out of that box and began the long painful, joyful, merciful journey of recovery, you left that box behind. It no longer holds any power over you.

And you want to shout to the world, “See me NOW!” 

But don’t be too hard on them. You let them down many times before you began the process of healing. The trust and respect your choices destroyed will not be recovered overnight. With some, it will never be recovered. And you have to accept that. You have to be ok with it and continue to move forward. 

Because your worth is not defined by others. You decide that. And you’ve already made the most important decision of your life when you chose recovery over addiction. Because in making that choice, you also chose forgiveness over despair, mercy over anger, and you chose grace. Pass that grace forward as you go and allow the only defining factor in your life to be love. In doing that, it won’t matter who’s on your team and who’s not. Who sees you and who does not. The important thing is that YOU see you. Perhaps, for the first time in your life. 

Treat that as the gift it is. And treat others, no matter where they are on their journey, the way you want to be treated. Because as you’ve learned, words are just empty shells when actions don’t define them. 

Let your choices and your actions be the light. Those who are supposed to will be guided by that light and find their way past the box to the soul no longer chained within its confines. And that IS the most important part of the priceless journey you’re on. The revelation of your authentic self and the beauty and peace uncovered by each step. 

JN Fenwick (© 2022)