I am blessed to have freedom from food obsession. My recovery is such a miracle and I cherish every abstinent day as a true gift. I work the steps. I pick up the tools. I do service. And I am so grateful that I will never progress beyond being human.
I wanted to write about something that has really been bugging me for over a year for our Board blog today. If you know me, you know that much of my life outside of recovery is all about dogs! What I’ve been struggling with is how I can make amends to my beloved dog Harlow that I lost last year. I know Harlow doesn’t mind that relieved her from the suffering of cancer, but it’s been plaguing me. It is not well with my soul. The regret I feel from letting her go sooner, rather than later, is taking up too much space in a not good, unhealthy way in my being. I need to write a blog for the Board, so why not write about this? I am certain another member may benefit from my processing this out loud with our fellowship.
Harlow was never a healthy dog. Back in 2010, I was her fifth home in her first seven months of life. She was a difficult dog to say the least. It took her a year to trust me fully, no matter how many times I tried to show her and tell her that she had won the lottery when I found her. Harlow had found her home with me, and she was never going to need to find another. The year before I had to put her down, she was very sick with a horrible skin infection. I tried many different treatments, and finally found one that worked, but she was probably sick ten out of the twelve months in 2020.
Nevertheless, even with her history, it was a terrible surprise to come home from a wonderful birthday trip to find her not being able to get up. She seemed to be in a great deal of pain internally when we tried to assist her. After many hours we managed to get her in to the veterinarian, many tests were run and then we had to wait for results. The next day, although wobbly, she was able to get up, and able to walk. She was on some pretty heavy-duty medications and they seemed to be working.
When the test results showed she had cancer, because of this wonderful Fellowship and program, I could handle such devastating news with dignity and grace. I asked my Higher Power, and all of you, to help me to accept this horrible thing that I could not change. My husband and I discussed for days at length our options, my concerns, and most importantly, what we felt was best for Harlow.
This blog is not about the loss of my beloved pet. It’s about how our program helps us in life because it’s been my experience, even in recovery, life keeps happening! And I need help with all of life’s happenings if I am to stay abstinent and in recovery. I gladly live life differently, on life’s terms, and not on my self will run riot. Before recovery life’s happenings were unmanageable. The only coping mechanism I had was to overeat, eat compulsively, bite off people’s heads, and be just a miserable person to be around. I made the decision to let Harlow go because I could not stand to watch her suffer. Whatever cancer she had was eating her sustenance as she was wasting away quickly right before our eyes no matter how much food I gave her. She was ravenous and eating constantly but losing what seemed to be at least a pound a day. I couldn’t have my sweet girl suffer, and honestly, I was afraid I would be alone, too, the next time she couldn’t get up.
When I finally noticed just how much I was very NOT at peace, even a year after she was gone, I could finally hear my Higher Power suggesting that I work this out so that I can be free from the bondage of regret. It did not matter that every other person who knew Harlow told me I did the right thing by letting her go. My addict brain keeps telling me that I was a coward. That I chose the easy way out for me. I should have taken better care of her and let her stay longer. My dis-ease is alive and well and wants to hold me hostage in the bondage of regret.
My recovery is strong, my Higher Power is stronger, and I have tools to combat the negative self-talk. I can share this struggle at meetings. I can work this out in the steps. I can discuss this with my sponsor, and my counselor. I can write a blog about it. When I use the tools of our program, this lie loses its power, until I can sit in the truth. The truth is, I loved my girl Harlow. I am not a coward. I am brave and I found the courage to do the hard, right thing. I cry now as I sit here and type this, and I can feel the love, understanding and peace of our program growing in me, one day at a time.
Thanks for letting me share.
Laurie A. - Region One