Who Am I Not to Shine?

Welcome back to the SA Lifeline women’s discussion group!

As a foundation, we are so excited to get this discussion board up and running again. I don’t know about you, but I have missed receiving those blog posts in my email inbox. When I opened up a message it was a moment to stop, slow down, and remember to step out of the crazy whirlwind that my life can become. That quick 5 minutes of reading about someone else’s experience with recovery helped me keep recovery in my mind and in my life.

I don’t often make dramatic changes in my life, things happen more slowly for me. After the drastic changes that came following disclosure, the recovery piece came for me bit by bit. One little drop at a time to water the parched garden of my soul. That is what I experienced with this blog in the past. Each time I read a post it was a little drop in my dry and barren ground that helped to replenish me. So with the re-starting of this blog that is my hope for all who read it. That it can be part of the gentle rain that will water your soul and be part of what helps you not just survive, but flourish.

I want to take the opportunity in this first new post to introduce myself and let you know a little about who I am and why I am writing. For starters, I can tell you I am not an expert at anything (except living life in my own skin). I am not a credentialed writer, nor do I have a great deal of experience or qualifications. But I can tell you that who I am is more than enough to be here in this forum sharing with you…

Because I am you. 

I am a woman who has grieved, felt that all was lost, and didn’t know how I would move on.

And I am also a woman who, through the grace of a power greater than me, has found a way to start the healing process and move towards hope and healthy living.

The details of my story may differ from yours, but the intense pain we have experienced is the same. I know what it is to feel that pain, and I also know what it is to see a light, find hope, strength, healing, and choose to live a life in recovery. I know many of you reading have felt this healing power too. I also know many of you reading may wonder how that is even possible.

To you in this latter group I want to tell you to hold on, keep coming, don’t give up. This program works when we work it, and we are worth it. There is hope to be found in working the 12 steps. 

I am incredibly humbled and overwhelmed to find myself here, in a position to be writing about my experiences with betrayal trauma and recovery.

As stated above, I don’t have a degree that gives me some sort of certification to be doing this. I have my own experiences that have been an education for me, but I’ll be honest with you, I don’t feel qualified. I am very aware of my weaknesses, and as you come to know me I have no doubt you will also come to know these weaknesses well.

There are times I am filled with self doubt, wondering if I am adequate. I find myself questioning if I can do this, and I feel like I am not enough. I ask myself “Who am I to think I can write for this blog, to think that what I have to say is of value to anyone else?”

As I have asked this question the following quote (often misattributed to Nelson Mandela) by Marianne Williamson, author and spiritual thought leader, came to my mind:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

While this quote comes from a Christian perspective, in looking at it with the SAL view that there is a Higher Power in this universe, I feel this is something we can all relate to.

Who am I NOT to shine?

Who am I to NOT try my best to share what I have been given so others may find hope and healing?

Whatever your belief system, who are YOU to not stand up and let the glorious light within you shine forth?

You may be thinking “I am a broken woman, that’s who I am!”

That’s what I would have been thinking at the start of this process. And I say to you, you are perfect as you are. Bring your brokenness to the table, come with all the sharp, shattered pieces of your heart. Just come. If that is who you are right now, that is all you need to be. I have been there, as well as most of us reading this.

We know what it is to be where you are. And I promise you, there will be a way to put all those pieces back together in a way you never would’ve imagined…

There will be a way to create a work of art from all the broken pieces of your life.

I don’t know what it will look like, but I know your Higher Power does. I know there is a being in this universe who can take all the slivers and shards and pieces of broken dreams and make something breathtaking for you. That is what I have learned to do in working recovery; I have learned to give the broken pieces of my life to the God of my understanding. And every single time He returns them to me, arranged more beautifully than I could have ever imagined. A sweeping mosaic of brokenness that, when He puts it all together, isn’t broken at all, but is beautiful in every way. 

With all this in mind, the question “Who am I to be doing this?” resonates with me.

I don’t know more or less than you. I am here to share my personal experience in walking this road of recovery. While the specific details of my life may be unique to me, my experience is not an isolated one. You, my sisters in recovery, know this pain, and I pray you know some of this hope as well. I am choosing to write because I don’t want to play small, I want to let the light within me shine, and be liberated by my Higher Power from the fear that binds me.

I know on my own I won’t be enough. But with the God of my understanding guiding and helping me I know He will make up the difference. I write, with help from a power greater than mine, because I want to share that there IS hope and healing to be found. Joy can be felt again. I know I am not alone in finding joy after my world has been shattered seemingly beyond repair.

As the above quote states, in choosing to let my light shine I hope this helps you do the same.

I would love to hear from you, and know who you are.

Comment, reach out, share your story. You don’t need to share the details, not even your name if you don’t want to, your anonymity is yours to protect.

But share with us who you are.

Where you are in this journey. This is not a road meant to be traveled alone, we need one another. As we share our experience, strength, and hope we pave a path that makes it easier for others to trod. I can’t wait to hear from you!

Your sister in recovery,

Amy

6 thoughts on “Who Am I Not to Shine?”

  1. This is beautiful and just the message I needed to hear today. Thank you for showing up and being you and giving me the courage to do the same. 🥰

  2. So beautifully expressed. It brought tears to my eyes. Tears of gratitude to be standing shoulder to shoulder with such inspired, courageous and inspiring women.
    Thank you Amy and all my sisters who are
    working recovery.
    Rhyll

  3. This is perfect timing i look forward to standing , speaking , sharing with my sisters on this journey to Recovery, because this is a journey. A long hard, confusing journey.I will share to help , support and be helped and supported. Thankyou Amy

    1. Sue, it is definitely a journey! I love that description you used. It is definitely long, hard, and confusing, but on my journey I have found that as I continue, I get to beautiful places I never would’ve found if I weren’t on this recovery road. And the traveling companions are vital to making it. So glad you’re traveling this road!

    1. Leslie, thank you so much for leaving a comment. It takes so much courage to reach out! I felt so lost at the beginning of this journey and didn’t know where to turn. I will be eternally grateful to the person who told me about 12step meetings for betrayal trauma, as that is what has helped me find healing and support. If you are interested in attending a meeting (either online or in person) there is a “find a meeting” link in the menu here. The meetings are free of charge, and are full of people who know your pain and can help you find a way forward. You will make it through this!

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