The Scarlet Pimpernel and Recovery

This thoughtful post was sent to us by an SAL member who wishes to remain anonymous. We are so grateful for her willingness to share her strength, hope and experience.

Rocks…. Drama…

What do rocks and the theater have to do with recovery? Or even with one another? One thing that I have learned from my recovery process is that there is nowhere trauma can’t reach us…and there is also nowhere that God cannot reach us.

I was out with family over the holidays, we had tickets to see “The Scarlet Pimpernel” and I had been looking forward to this evening for at least 2 months. There was a large group of us, the theater was beautiful, and as the play began I was transported into the story of the French Revolution, and one man’s unique way of battling against cruelty and human injustice. We meet the lead character, an Englishman named Percy, on his wedding day to the French actress Marguerite. It was wonderful to be swept away by the scenery, costumes, and phenomenal performances.

That is, until it became painful to be in that world.

Within just a few numbers I had tears running down my face. The lead couple singing about the love they had for one another at their wedding was painful as it reminded me of the hope and joy I had on my own wedding day.

Watching the couple as they stopped trusting in one another, and seeing how the main character began to hide his true self from his new bride was another layer of pain. In this instance he hid his best nature and his good deeds, and showed his wife a facade because he didn’t trust her or her intentions. But, of course, as I watched, I saw the pain of the wife as she was constantly trying to get close to the man she loved, only to be denied any real connection with him. The villain of the story was manipulative, self serving, and a user of people. It hurt to see so many similarities to my husband in this dark character onstage.

Being in the darkened theater, watching this story unfold before my eyes, was not where I expected betrayal trauma to find me. My first instinct was to push down the pain (what if people see me cry!!), but as I have been learning, that instinct only makes the pain surface later. So I made a conscious choice to let myself feel the pain. And you better believe I called my sponsor at intermission. (Oh how grateful I am to have people to reach out to!!) And her response was the same. Let yourself feel the pain. It can be healing.

And in my discoveries about recovery I have been so grateful to find the beauty and blessings that God has around every corner. Allowing myself to feel the emotion of pain and heartache also allows my heart to feel other emotions more deeply than ever before. Including faith, hope, and trust in my Higher Power. The main song, the rousing song that stirs your soul and makes you blood want to sing, is called “Into the Fire.” It is about the courage and bravery required when choosing to take on a task that feels impossible. While the show is singing about saving people from the guillotine, in my heart I immediately thought of the seemingly insurmountable task of conquering an addiction or the trauma it causes.

David fighting Goliath with only a stone in his hand is the image used to bring us into the song and all the fighting spirit it has to offer. And this stone, a small and simple thing, is what’s been on my mind ever since.

I can envision porn and sex addiction as this huge Goliath in our world. Taking over our nation, threatening our safety, our homes, our families, and our way of life. This Goliath is seemingly impossible to fight, but just as David knew he had to take a stand, we know we cannot stand by and let this scourge take over our nation. David walked into the valley holding only a few stones and a heart full of faith in his God. And the trust David put in God was what led to the downfall of his giant.

As David did, I can look around me and see stones strewn about my path. And I’m learning they are tools that my Higher Power has blessed me with, if I choose to pick them up and put them in my bag. Tools like surrendering, calling my sponsor, really working the 12 steps by writing and pondering what I have learned, setting boundaries, etc. And the beautiful thing about picking up these stones and using them is that each time we do we are inspiring others to do the same. The changes brought about in our life inspire those around us to fight the good fight with us.

David only faced Goliath once. We have to face our nemesis every day. Every hour of every day. It’s never not there. But the beautiful truth is that, just like our trauma, God is never not there. As we recognize that “we can’t, but God can, and I will let Him,” we see powerful miracles happen. We see giants topple to the earth with these simple stones in our hands, these simple words that we allow to sink into our hearts and our way of life. If we allow our hearts to fill with faith like David, we can fling our stones with all our might, and God will guide our aim. Our giant won’t be toppled by us, but by the all powerful God who will use us as instruments in His hands.

7 thoughts on “The Scarlet Pimpernel and Recovery”

  1. The Scarlet Pimpernel has been one of my favorite stories since childhood. I feel for the person who wrote this because it triggered her. I actually wish my husband was more like the Scarlet Pimpernel. Mine is so unconscious about his choices and what he’s doing to me while the man in the story knew exactly what he was doing and he had a good reason for it — if you read the book it explains that. The man was a hero, sacrificing himself for his fellow man. My husband only follows his pleasure drives and goes into victim mode if they are interfered with. Hedonism not heroism. At the end of the story the characters reconcile. I don’t even have hopes of that. At least I can revel in a story that is well written and happily ever after.

  2. I feel this all the time. Somethings it’s so big that I don’t think I can live another day.. the pain is so great. And yet through faith, I do. I can’t think of my future as of yet but I live each day as one day and that day becomes another day.

  3. What a wonderful comparison!!! I loved the David and Goliath analogy!!! Thank you for sharing. This is so true! We are just one person fighting, but for God that is enough. We are enough. We are mighty.

    1. The best way to get a sponsor is to regularly attend your sal12step meeting and find someone there who is further along in recovery and willing to sponsor. If no one at your group seems to fit with you, you can email and she can get you a list of available sponsors. Let me know if you have additional questions. Thanks!

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