I went to my first Celebrate Recovery meeting last night. I really wanted to hole up in the back bedroom and rest, but forced myself to put on makeup and go. When I walked into my church’s auditorium, the first sign I saw said Welcome Home and of course I welled up.
But I didn’t sing. I didn’t clap along and whoop and holler either when lyrics about God freeing us from ourselves crossed the screen. I didn’t go up when many others did, to receive hugs from people actually designated as huggers at the front of the room, so I also didn’t receive applause from everyone rewarding my bravery.
I just stood there.
Me, it felt like, in the middle of so many joyfully broken people, whose arms were outstretched so far to the sides that their fingertips brushed my shoulders, who walked up to loud cheers as they received their tokens for overcoming themselves for a month, 6 months, a year. They high-fived and hugged each other and all I could do was stand there.
Afterwards we newcomers broke off to a room and sat in a circle, to prepare for when we attended the more seasoned groups next time. And as each person passed because they were uncomfortable sharing their “intro”, it became clear I’d have to be the first to go. When they all turned and looked at me, before covering my face with my hands and crying, I said one of the hardest things I’ve ever admitted out loud:
I am a grateful believer of Jesus Christ. I struggle with anger, bitterness, and pride. I’m here today because I cannot find the value my special needs daughter brings to my life besides stress and exhaustion. I am full of hatred. My name is Carolyn.
If you could also pray for me too.