There is a shell shock effect that happens for an addict the day she steps into recovery.
Whether it’s a 12 Step meeting, a Process Group, Therapy or a Relapse Prevention Group there is one very uncomfortable element present in all of them: Feelings. The women are often overwhelmed by the amount of personal exposure other women in recovery are willing to process. In these meetings, women share the anger, fear, resentment, and pain that they drink and use over. It is in the process of exposing the feelings that one can get to the root of the issue and either solve it themselves, collaborate with others or give the problem over to God to solve.
Often times a woman new to recovery finds this vulnerability intimidating and will poke fun at it, avoiding it at all costs. Instead, she will resort to the mannerisms of her disease; cold, angry, distant and vacant. So how does Sierra by the Sea teach these women how to relinquish the masculine tools she uses to protect her feeling? How do they teach the women how to trade their anger for being a lady who is vulnerable and present?
The first step is they redefine WHAT a lady is. A lady in recovery can be defined by 3 words, STRONG, WILLING and OPEN.
STRONG- Many women in addiction have been taken advantage of, abused and violated. Having experienced great trauma makes these women fearful to trust and let their guard down for anyone. The protection they harness over themselves gives them an element of power and strength. What Sierra by the Sea teaches the women is that true strength comes from humility. Being able to say, “I have an addiction. I can’t do this on my own. Please guide me” are words that many are too prideful, scared and sick to say. It takes a great amount of strength to say them and follow through with them. A lady seeking recovery is very, very STRONG.
WILLING – Addicts are great actors. They fool us all with their grandiose attitude of confidence, security and knowledge. When in fact if you were to sit down and really speak with them you would find someone, very fearful with feelings of great inadequacy. In the recovery process, there are many times when one will relapse, get angry and make poor choices. It takes a woman willing to wipe off her messy choices and start over. It is the more difficult and humbling thing to do, but also the one with the most integrity and grace.
OPEN – In the recovery community one must be authentic and open to the advice of others. As a community, we rely on each other to help us through our recovery and also to call us out when we are slipping in our recovery. In recovery we meet people who don’t beat around the bush, they say what they mean and they mean what they say, they also expect that from us in return. Being OPEN doesn’t mean we let people walk all over us, it means we listen, we learn, we share even when it’s uncomfortable and we push ourselves to learn how to be a better woman in recovery.
Sierra by the Sea is known in the Sober Living Community for running a tight ship. A great deal is expected from their women and likewise, a great deal is expected of their staff. The entire staff at Sierra by the Sea stands firm for their women. They challenge them, they hold them accountable and they guide them to a closer connection God who ultimately will reveal to these women the strong people they were created to be.