Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Since you've not finished telling us your story, I don't know what it was you were running away from when you moved to Montana. Have you considered that "it" will also follow you to Bozeman or Missoula?

This comment was left anonymously on my last entry. I didn't intend to give the impression that I was running from anything as I have no desire to leave Polson and hope it doesn't come to that. However, economic necessity may prevail and if it does and all signs point to moving as a viable option, I will probably do so.

If the commentor would like to know what I was running from when I left Georgia, he/she can find part of the answer in this post. The longer answer, and what I'm realizing a little more each day, is that I was running from standing in my own power. By the time I left Georgia in 2002, I had given my power over to so many, so much and so often, there was really none left. As I have begun to learn, ever so slowly, to inhabit myself fully, to allow the innate power that I was originally gifted with to come forth and to most importantly, not be afraid of it myself, I no longer have a desire to run from anything or anyone. It no longer matters to me WHY I gave my power away so freely, or why I am finding the strength to inhabit it now, it only matters that I am.

There's a lot of talk in recovery circles about the "geographic cure". What they mean by that is that many people with drinking problems will move from one city to the next on a regular basis to leave the wake of destruction that was created. I was never one of those. As a matter of fact, I probably stayed in places a lot longer than I should have. But when I made the decision to move to Montana, I was "reminded" many times that it was probably a "geographic", as they're called. Well, maybe it was. And if it was, thank goddess. Because had I remained in Georgia under the conditions that I had created for myself there, I would likely not be writing this today. And I guess that's one thing that bothers me a lot about recovery circles. There often seems to be no room for individual circumstances, or stories, or decisions, or plans. WE have found it to be that if you move, you are only doing a geographic and all your problems will follow you. Well, I gotta tell you. A lot of them did. But not all of them. And apparently, it was enough because I no longer drink a bottle of vodka a night with a handful of pills as chaser. But that was five years ago and I can tell you for sure it wasn't a seamless cross-over.

I'm paying close attention to my body these days, and the more attention I pay, the less I drink. I realize that some will not be able to believe that. It's okay. I know. It's clear to me that the recovery movement is this country leaves no room for an individual to naturally move out of addiction unaided by the 12 steps and/or not having abstinence as a goal. But I want to tell you, I'm just allowing it to happen and it's happening.


thailandchani said...

I never understood the automatic assumption that a "geographic cure" is a bad thing. Sometimes it is definitely Right Action. (I believe this for me.. moving to Thailand. It is exactly where I am supposed to be.)

I hope you do not have to leave Polson, knowing how you love it there.

Anybeth said...

Amen. goodbye to a bottle of vodka and georgia. hello eclectic recovery.

The Electric Orchid Hunter said...

"...to inhabit myself fully"

What a beautifully eloquent, elegant statement. I hope I can do that one day.

I'm very skeptical of recovery circles and group therapies, since reading Chuck Palahniuk's hilarious and disturbing book about sexual addiction, Choke , and especially after seeing the Penn & Teller episode about 12-step programs (here, here and here ). I cannot claim to have attended these types of sessions, but I do know people who did. And I agree with you, Angela. There cannot be a uniform plan/list of steps/whatever for everyone. It is has been scientifically proven that anger management makes you more upset, and that people become addicted to group therapy and find themselves unable to progress and therefore leave it. The answer lies in tailoring it to fit the individual.

Invariably, the change (when I have seen it happen) came from within, not without. It came when something clicked inside those people I love. And no outside force had anything to do with it. It is happening because you are allowing it to happen. You are in control: never forget that.

Angela said...


I figured you would understand. I hope I don't have to leave either.

Anybeth - yes, AMEN!

EOH - I think a lot of it is a matter of timing. There was a time when the 12-step groups worked pretty well for me. It's when it comes time to move on that one realizes society creates no space for that. So one must create it oneself. Going to check out those links.

Angela said...

Ohmigod, that Penn & Teller thing was hilarious. There actually IS a rock!! Also, on the list of the various Anonymous programs I noticed one called Misogynon. Um. I know a couple of people that need to go there. :) Thanks for the great links and morning laughs.

Diva Carla said...

I learned "where ever you go, you're still there" when I was sixteen and my family moved. I hoped to be a popular teenager, with dates, and well, happiness! But I was still me, this weird girl nobody understood and nobody loved (pretty normal for adolescence, but I didn't know that then!)

I tested it a few times when I went to college, and later literally ran away to New York. By the time I moved to Maine, I was coming home to myself. That was a bumpy journey too, but way different experience than taking a geo cure.

Inhabit yourself fully. Yes, liking the neighborhood, the house, the clothes in the closet, all within one's own skin.

The easy chair of the self? or the backpack and hiking boots of the self?

As I learned last night in Dance:

The tenemos, the sacred space of the Self. Inhabit it.

bella said...

when it comes from outside ourselves, anything, even good things, even recovery, can become a place to deposit all our own shit and be held hostage by the rules given.
it takes bravery to claim one's own true power, and yes, it is in so many ways this: living comfortably in one's skin, inhabiting it fully.
beautiful post.

Lee's River/Zlatovyek said...

good for you! I hate to think what the "geographics" would say about me: I've seventy times in my life so there's GOT to be something seriously wrong with me, right? Why do other people give themselves the right to say what is right for someone else? Because it empowers them on the cheap - instead of 'inhabiting' themselves.
best to you, Angela.

Lee's River/Zlatovyek said...

that should read "I moved seventy times" - I move quickly, even on the keyboard :-)

Angela said...

Carla - yeah, I've learned that one, too. Best to be happy with yourself.

Bella - That is so true.

Lee - "empowers them on the cheap". I love it! Seventy times is a lot! :)

kikipotamus said...

I have found moving (I've now had 2 major moves as an adult) is an opportunity to reinvent myself. It has very much helped me let go of old habits, unhealthy surroundings. The old problems did NOT follow me. Each place has given me a chance to grow in different areas and ways.

Rick Hamrick said...

You know, Angela, every so often it is important to receive, without any prompting, a pat on the back. It arrives without anyone knowing it is coming, and that makes it all the more magical.

You my dear, are hereby patted most affectionately, right there on that one place on your back where it feels best. That warm feeling? Yep.

That was me.



miss*R said...

Hey Angela - just letting you know I haven't forgotten you here... now that the baby has arrived, I am going to catch up!
I'm paying close attention to my body these days, and the more attention I pay, the less I drink - I agree with this.. I find that the more I pay attention to my body, the more that I am aware of the types food that I am eating and the amount of water that I am drinking, if I don't pay attention, then I forget to drink water and I tend to snack on junk... I think it is very important to be aware of our bodies as often as we can. I am also trying to learn to 'inhabit myself fully' and not to give my power away to others.. a big lesson for me. great post! thanks xo

Angela said...

Kelly, Rick & Miss R,

It's always wonderful to have you visit my blog and leave your great words of wisdom. And Rick? Thanks for that one. I needed it and it felt real good. :)

claud said...

Just breezing through the comments here, A. I really love this, what you are expressing and creating here -- what you've ignited, A.

love you,

Journey Through Life said...

I loved this post, Angela. So much about it.
Listening to your body
Inhabiting yourself fully
Standing in your own power
All of this spoke to me and are valid to me right now.
I am always so glad that you share your story here on your blog.
I hope some of your pain has subsided.
Much love to you,