There’s a saying that a boat may be safe when it’s in harbor, but that isn’t what boats were made for. But let’s not forget the value of safe harbors either. A wise sailor knows the limits of each boat and will seek shelter if the weather becomes more than it can bear.
Seeking out new experiences, meeting new people, living life to its fullest is one of the best reasons for being alive. The purpose of recovering from addictions and learning to take care of ourselves isn’t to keep us stuck perpetually in therapy. It’s to free us to live our lives. But we need to be aware of our limits. And there is no reason to put yourself into a situation of unnecessary risk.
Only you can be the judge of that in your life. We each have different levels of freedom and similar but unique needs. A strong ocean liner can weather much stronger storms than a small powerboat. You may be able to withstand more or less pressure than someone else. Push your limits occasionally; that’s how we grow and change. But know what those limits are, and be willing to seek shelter when the storms come.
You are not alone. Whether through meditation or prayer, secular or religious support groups, Twelve Step or self-help meetings, a harbor exists in which you can ride out the storms and remain strong to sail the exciting waters of life another day.
Do you know where your harbors are? Lives are meant to be lived, so live yours as fully as you can. But remember that you cannot live fully when you’re recovering from storm damage. Be bold, but be safe.
God, help me be aware during times of stress that a safe harbor exists.
Activity: List your safe harbors. Examples of this might be friendships that are completely safe and supportive, support groups, prayer, meditation, and places of worship. How often do you need to connect with these harbors to keep yourself in good shape? Be aware that when you go through periods of stress and distress—and these times appear frequently in our lives—you might need to seek extra shelter to keep yourself safe from the storm.
From the book: More Language of Letting Go
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