I am bringing you two resources this month that are very different from one another but valuable for your healing process.
The first is the book Hidden Travel written by my good friend and writing partner for the past 15 years, Steve Brock. What does travel have to do with my recovery and healing process you ask? Well, let me tell you.
In this book, Steve uses travel as the medium to introduce you to a way of living and seeing that is rooted in intentionality and presence. Presence allows us to see what is happening around us with different eyes. When we are fully intentionally HERE in the moment, we open ourselves to wonder, curiosity, and a new way of seeing and interacting with whatever it is we are present to.
Perhaps you have heard the term ‘geographic cure’ used by someone in your recovery process. This term was coined in AA because it was so common for addicts to travel or relocate to a new area as away to try to solve their addiction. Fortunately, or unfortunately, we take ourselves with us wherever we go so the geographic cure is known for its epic failure rate.
This book is the anti-thesis to the geographic cure because it instead introduces us to a way of traveling (whether across town or around the world) that grounds us in ourselves and teaches us how to move through our worlds with openness and deliberate attention to the here and now so that we are aware and receptive to whatever the moment has to teach us. The book does point out that the distance travel affords us can be clarifying and that the novelty of new places makes noticing easier. But ultimately, it’s about using the insights that distance provides, not to run away from our issues, but to see them in a new light.
Growth always requires us to leave our comfort zone. Travel takes us out of our comfort zones. So does recovery. This book will help you to embrace the process of leaving your comfort zone as you learn to embrace the uncertain and unfamiliar in new ways.
ANXIETY: The Missing Stage of Grief
I told you these two books were different from one another! In this book, Claire Bidwell Smith helps us take a fresh look at the topic of grief. While Smith focuses on the grief of losing someone to death, this book is still applicable to those dealing with betrayal trauma.
The process of healing from betrayal trauma is a process of grieving losses. We have lost our past as it is now being rewritten by the discoveries we have made. We have lost our present as we wrestle with how to deal with all that has occurred. We have lost our partner, who is now a stranger to us as we grapple with the secrets they have kept. We have lost ourselves as we are thrown into the emotional chaos and panic of our threat and attachment systems functioning in chronic distress.
These are not small losses, and they are similar to the loss those who lose a loved one to death experience. In fact, I have had many partners say to me that it would be easier if their spouse had died.
They are not wishing death on the cheating partner. They are articulating the complexity of dealing with losses that keep unfolding and shapeshifting as new discoveries are revealed and more is learned about what is required to heal.
In her book, Smith takes a look at the element of anxiety and its centrality to grief. Betrayed partners are dealing with enormous amounts of anxiety and panic as the face their new reality. Identifying the role of anxiety in the grieving process and normalizing its presence is immensely helpful and Smith does this with compassion and helpful insight.