Upon leaving Indonesia I experienced a loss. A piece of my heart was left there for me to return and find. I easily and quickly accepted that loss and will gladly return to the beautiful country with much more time to spare.
I flew back to Thailand on the 20th of August just in time to attend a Narcotics Anonymous convention in Koh Samui. The first one ever to take place in Koh Samui. It’s theme was “Open your heart” or “Nam Jai” in thai. Coincidence I have been running into that statement since I started this journey. Continuing to question and wonder “how do I open my heart?” “Why is my heart closed?” Thinking it’s open, how much more does it need to open.
Reflecting on why my heart may not be open and what this sign truly means. I thought a lot about pain I have experienced in recovery, self-inflicted pain, pain from allowing others into my life. I found it such a beautiful and serendipitous moment discovering the theme of the convention. I was also so anxious to get to the meeting that Friday evening and be surrounded by recovering addicts like myself. I had missed NA, missed being around other recovering addicts for 3 weeks while in Indonesia. I was ready for a weekend full of love, recovery, and connection. And that’s exactly what I received.
I met so many beautiful souls, people from all over the world with numerous amounts of clean time. New comers, even native Thais in recovery (which is not common in the recovery community). Though recovery is growing amongst locals in Thailand. I had the opportunity to hear a Thai person share their story in Thai with an English translator, and was full of emotion and love for a fellow recovering addict. Recovering in Thailand is not something thetas talked often about, and is largely frowned upon. “Loosing face” is avoided at all costs here. Admitting you are an addict is a sign of weakness, a sign one has lost control of their life. And yes we struggle with that in America, but it is different here, hence why every meeting I have been to has 99% Westerner’s in it. As I learn more about this topic I will share my knowledge.
The weekend was filled with speakers, fellowshipping, a beautiful dinner and Thai dancing. It was the smallest convention I have ever been too. I think 12 countries were represented, about 130 registrations, and around 500+ years of clean time. I was also reconnected with fellow travelers from Portland. All amongst the beautiful beach of Koh Samui. The convention was exactly what I needed at exactly the right moment of my travels.
I made new friends that I will forever be connected with. Talking, laughing and staying up late into the night watching fire dancers, swimming with bioluminesence, smoking hookah, and building life long relationships. I had hope refilled within me for some personal struggles I have developed along the way, hearing others experiences, knowing there is always a solution. Sharing my experience, strength, and hope and inspiring others with my story. It was all so enlightening for my travels. It was so different from any convention I had ever been to. It was so important to me to attend this weekend because recovery is the reason I am traveling. It is the reason I am here, alive and present today.
Narcotics Anonymous has taught me how to live my life, has shown me how to get my life back, and how to continue to live my life clean from all substances no matter what happens. It has opened my heart to the solution, rather than continuing to live in the problem like I did for so many years. I have met almost all of my friends in recovery, (I still managed to save a few friendships that I cherish dearly from before recovery).
I have built relationships with these new friends, people I would have never met, nor wanted to be friends with if it weren’t for recovery ;).
Friends that understand and accept me for who I am, exactly where I am at.
Friends that taught me how to love myself again, and how to love others again.
NA has allowed be to build a relationship with my sponsor that I could never repay it for. A relationship that has saved my ass, my life, and my face.
She listens when I am angry, upset, depressed, crying, happy, joyful, regardless of judgment.
I found my laugh again in recovery, a laugh loud and obnoxious that brings tears down my legs. A laugh I never thought I would feel again.
Narcotics Anonymous has also given me the tools to be apart of my family again. Rebuilding relationships with my parents and my siblings that at one time in my addiction I had lost all hope for.
I never imagined a day that they would accept me back into their lives. Loving me, trusting me, actually wanting me around.
The tools have shown me how to be apart of the family, participate, be present, show up, and respect them. Accept my actions and acknowledge them. I can honestly say it even took time in recovery to want this back, to actually feel apart of and not apart from, I still battle with some of those feelings. But I recognize that my head battles it, my heart is desperate for the love of my family. It has taken time, but I have begun to rebuild some of the most important relationships in my life because of the 12 steps. My family has become my world, I thoroughly enjoy being apart of it, I enjoy spending time with them and my heart aches when I cannot.
I used to run from my family, find every excuse for why I did not belong with them, why I was different. All the while they were just trying to love me. Today I get to love them back. Today I get to run to them. Today I listen, (most of the time) and they listen to. Today we work together.
My family does their best to try to understand me, but I have learned not to expect them to understand me. We have love between us and that’s all we need.
That’s what recovery has taught me. It has shown me how to love myself, allow others to love me, and love unconditionally. Having the connections I have made in
Narcotics Anonymous has helped me rebuild my connections with lost friends, family, and most of all myself.
I am not cured, but I can say I am recovering. I surrender daily to my disease, I practice acceptance, I pray, I have faith, I *try* my damnest to have an open mind, practice honesty, integrity, willingness. I could go on with the spiritual principals that guide my life today. I work constantly on Humility..that’s a tough one for me. I often think of humility as accepting myself as a part of and not a special being that is apart from.
I have my own dance to the worlds beat, as we all do, as we are all one. The rhythm of life plays in every ones soul. Listening is key, and following the beat to lead us on our journeys. I have a purpose today, as do you. I continue to search for that purpose. Follow the path my energy craves.
But there was a time when my energies were dismantled. A cloud that covered my life, my soul.
Today there is clarity, because I found recovery I found life again.