Second look: Sara Goodman on recovery

For those who come behind me… I shed some light

My soul was withered, atrophied and dehydrated
My spirit had retreated into the hibernation
My heart was encased in a sheath of ice…
Dry ice… hurtful to the touch…
It was my defense against pain
Old wounds still hurt inside the sheath… what to do? What to do?
Anesthetize… deaden the nerve endings
Thunderbird, pot, sex, physical neglect
A vegetable I’d become… a rotten one at that
Drained of all nutritional value
Unfit for use

My brain was in pain
Exploding, imploding…
I couldn’t maintain the life I’d worked so hard to build
My life was made of straw, all surface and no substance
The Universe huffed and puffed and blew my life down
And I cowered, hands over my aching head, under the debris
Choking, croaking
Begging God to take me home…
Too chicken to take the journey on my own

My constant query was when was it going to be my turn
I woke one day to a shifted perception
Only I can take my turn
No one is going to come up and tap me on the shoulder…
OK, girlie… s’your turn now
I could choose to spend my life sending out invites to my pity parties
I felt rejected when no one even showed up to those
Or I could insinuate myself into the mainstream of life

Oh, what a task… so much to know… hard to keep up… out of breath…
Because deep in my heart I believed that me at my worst was often better than some at their best
I wasn’t going down again without a fight
So I took control of my “self”
My mother’d always told me to do that… Sara, control yourself! But she never told me how

How……………… how indeed
I started by dusting off my brain
Examining the flotsam and jetsam
Exploring my values
Hugging my monsters
Addressing my traumas
Maintaining a gratitude attitude
Exploding the myths that had previously guided my journey
I needed a dumpster!

My life is my canvas
I choose what colors, what textures, what designs
Only I choose!

I signed up for courses
I engaged my brain
I went from someone I didn’t want to admit knowing
To wanting to be my own best friend
I was enjoying my company
My pity parties stopped
I even started to smile on the inside

The ache in my brain began to subside
I learned of recovery
Others struggling yet healing
No longer on a downswing
Moving up the slippery slope of despair
Gaining ground
Determined to cling to hope
Cultivating hope
Nurturing hope
Celebrating hope

I am healing now
I am becoming whole from the inside out
My accomplishments reassure me I am on the right track
I have left behind the clouds of gloom and doom
I can now shed some light to those who come behind me

(C) 2009 Sara Goodman

Bio stuff:
I am a decade into my recovery journey. Took me almost 5 decades to find my starting gate… I did and now I am at the top of my game and constantly raising the bar… challenging myself to conquer new heights, come to new understandings, master new skills, add the columns up differently. For most of my life, I was a flip flop in a sea of Manolos… a day late/a dollar short… almost pregnant… waiting for my bus at the airport wondering why my ship never came in. Then I discovered RECOVERY! and I finally felt the sun shine on my face… my spirit hydrated, my balloon filled with helium and I took to the skies joyous to be alive. My recovery is my main and constant wellness tool. I am committed to my recovery as if it were a dear lover, Yes, once in a bit, the clouds still gather around my shoulders but I am resilent now… I shake myself off, remember who I’ve become, and propel myself forward… in spite of myself… sheer determination sometimes but I do it… whatever it is at the moment. You, too, can embark on such a journey. Strap yourself in though because at times the ride can get bumpy… it’s for those moments that I glide, free of care, high in the air, that I live for. Ten years ago, you couldn’t light a match near me… I was so drunk, I would have combusted. I can take life’s dings and knocks now and remain unscathed. Today, I have the pleasure, privilege and responsibility of shaping the curriculum for Howie the Harp’s Peer Specialist Training Programs. If I can do it, you can do it! Bye, Leo 🙂


One thought on “Second look: Sara Goodman on recovery”

  1. Well done, Sara. After 18 years since my diagnosis with Bipolar Disorder, I have learned that recovery is a process, an attitude, a firm belief, that, through use and development of personal resources, you can overcome the symptoms of mental distress.

    Thus, embracing ‘recovery’ promotes independence, personal autonomy and development, raises self-esteem, confidence and personal aspirations, enabling you to lead a more fulfilling and purposeful life.

    In short, recovery is learning to live with, rather than suffer from, mental distress.

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