Recovering & Reclaiming

~ Musings by Mama Silverwitch ~



RECOVERING & RECLAIMING

The Blessings of Spring -- by Mama J

     Spring is a magical time of year for me. Good things happen in the spring, time of resurrection and returning growth, because our Earth Mother is budding forth new life and so must we. For example, on February 1, 1983,  I walked into the rooms of the 12 Steps never to leave again. It wasn't a conscious move on my part, as many of you know. I was staying in my aunt's guest room while visiting the Bay Area on business and decided to accompany my friend Sheila to her 12 Step meeting. Why? Because my aunt's nagging was driving me crazy and I needed to get out of her house! Just goes to show how divine guidance works in my life. Six weeks later at the Spring Equinox, while working on my 4th Step, I had my first spiritual awakening! That sold me on the Steps of Recovery.

     All this seemed to happen in the blink of an eye. Just four months earlier I had to leave the bay area and move into the home of my parents in Carson City Nevada because I had nowhere else to go, nothing left to lose, and a broken heart! I was also in a state of complete ego-deflation because I knew from the core of my being that I was a miserable failure in every department of my life and that every one of my self-willed escapades turned into exercises in futility. So, along with being homeless, bankrupt and strung out on various mind-altering substances, my only choice was to resign from the world as I knew it and surrender to the higher powers of the universe... asking only that the purpose of my life be revealed if there was one. This brought me to the rooms of recovery and I am still here.
     Today I'm grateful for the despair and devastation I've experienced because I'm a renewed woman in more ways than one. I have not taken a drink, put a needle in my arm, or gone to jail  in over 33 years.  In the spring of 1985 I was reunited with the Divine Feminine and I have been reclaiming her sacred ways and sitting in Women's Circles
 ever since.
     In 1990 my soul-mate, Thomas, walked into my life and never left. In the spring of 1994 I entered Al-Anon, was gifted a  home of my own,  healed from breast cancer, and started holding public gatherings for women. In 1997 I moved to the High Sierra's and in the spring of 1998 I entered the program of CoDA. I haven't smoked a cigarette since 2006 and I've abstained from sugar, flour and processed foods since the spring of 2010. I'm no longer fat. I rest when I need to and feel energized and inspired most of the time. My family, children and grandchildren live nearby and we visit often. I just celebrated my 70th birthday and I feel better than I have in years.

     Today, I live with gratitude and appreciation for each new day of life and what a difference a day can make. Yes, spring is a magical time for me, even though it now carries a little sadness. Thomas passed away on Beltane in 2011, when the flowers were in bloom and I still weep when I think of our last days together. Since spring was his favorite time of year, bittersweet memories still linger, but we had 33 years of true love and friendship with 21 years as a couple, one day at a time, and that's a miracle I never expected in my life. I am blessed.
      My journey in recovery has been a process of letting go all that no longer serves my life.  Problems became apparent as I went along and my only choice was to let go, choose a different way of perception, or die. It's as simple as that. I'm glad I chose the easier, softer way, even though it didn't seem like it at the time. It can be a real struggle letting go of old ideas, beliefs, illusions and destructive ways of being, especially in Patriarchy, but I'm glad I made the effort

     Today, I am content. My life is peaceful and it keeps getting better. I'm also convinced that everyone on earth needs recovery from Patriarchy on one level or another. That's why women's circles are forming everywhere. I'm very pleased about this because I couldn't have healed as a woman without sitting in The Sacred Circe  because the rooms of the 12-Steps still focus on a man's experience and patriarchal religion and that's what I desperately needed to recover from!

     When the Goddess came to me in 1985 I had no idea that the powers of the universe were revving up with tremendous momentum for a change on the planet. I can now see that our Ancient Mother  was calling her daughters and sons home, and I'm honored to be part of it. I'm also pleased that I followed my heart and did what was put in front of me when The Sacred Circle in San Jose began to manifest, even though I wasn't sure what the hell I was doing and had a great deal of fear about what others would think of me. But, I did it anyway and it turned out to be the greatest source of healing for me and the hundreds of women that came to the circle through the years.   
     By the powers of the Divine Feminine every "challenge" turned out to be the easier, softer way because my spirit knows what I need before I do. It always leads the way too, especially if I'm willing to walk through fear and JUST DO IT. As I look back I'm certain of it, and hindsight is always 20-20. Besides, reclaiming our authenticity as women is not easy at times because each of us is unique in the framework of our design and we don't have anyone else to compare ourselves to. So we must learn to trust our higher visions and deep desires of the heart to move forward. Yes, it takes courage to change, but so what? What do we have to lose? I blew myself up over 33 years ago, so the worst is over.
      My journey of recovering and reclaiming continues as years unfold, and I continue honoring the Earth and Spirit of the universe because it speaks through my heart and those around me while I continue learning, growing and participating in the basics of recovery. I still go to meetings and circle and work with others because the "sleeping world" isn't that interesting unless I'm asked to show up and serve it in some way. The more I participate in the simple dynamics of recovery the better I feel. I still listen to others too, and watch what they do, because they teach me what works and what doesn't. I've always said we are teachers for one another. Some teach us what to do, others teach us what not to do, and each lesson is extremely valuable no matter where it comes from because we are all expressions of the "SAME ONE.
     I've learned through the years that I resisted change even if it meant getting better because my underlying fears of not being good enough or deserving enough kept getting in my way. I had fear of getting hosed again and again and thought there was something terribly wrong with me until the Goddess called me home in the spring of 1985. This is when I learned that I WAS getting hosed over and over again  as a woman because I had been following the ways of the Patriarchy and that's a losing proposition all the way around. Fear still pops up for me too...  but I always discover that it is based on the mere illusions from my indoctrination in the unconscious world. My soul was fragmented from all the lies I was told, and the crap I was led to believe about myself... so it is possible to slip from time to time... but the recovering & reclaiming process gives me opportunity to reclaim each fragment, piece by piece, and restore wholeness again.     

      Recovery & Reclaiming is a process of Soul Retrieval! That's why I continue taking conscious actions in my life and affirming my abundance. 33 years of recovery and reclaiming only means that I've had more time to experience miraculous results that are sure to come by honoring the guidance of my inner wisdom... by following my heart... by trusting the laws and cycles  of mother nature... by staying  honest, open-minded and willing... by sitting in circles of women... by celebrating life... and  by being of service to humanity.

     Today I live in the triangle of unity, recovery and service while participating in The Sacred Circle and it brings incredible gifts to my life. I also check in with my sponsor and participate in my Home Group if Recovery because it keeps me accountable. In recovery... I must ACT my way into conscious thinking, not the other way around.

      Recovery and reclaiming is a way of life, not something I do on the side while chasing money, property, prestige, sex, security, people, places and things in our dysfunctional, patriarchal world. Living prosperously and joyously with serenity and peace of mind is the gift that comes with a Recovering & Reclaiming lifestyle. I watch many people in recovery fall by the wayside because they are not willing to surrender and follow directions. They want a good life, but they want to do it their way which usually doesn't work. We are a pretty defiant lot... but I can't live in the dysfunctional world any longer because Patriarchy doesn't work.

      In Patriarchy, we are told constantly to love ourselves, but how can we love ourselves in a system that doesn't mirror who we really are? We must break away from Patriarchy and view ourselves through a different mirror, a different reality... and I found my soul and true spiritual authority as a woman by sitting in women's circles... by educating myself... by embracing my, ancestry... by going back through time and embracing HER-STORY... which has been hidden from us...  rather than HIS-STORY.  We must sit  in women's circles long enough  to embrace a different reality... to learn the truth...  shake the delusions of Patriarchy... to let go of a world that we didn't create and don't belong in... a world that doesn't mirror who we really are.

      I finally came to see that a bonded community of kindred spirits and a joy-filled spiritual path is essential to my well being. I'm grateful to the Saturday Nite Live Group because it loved me unconditionally while bringing  meaningful and priceless relationships into my life that I enjoy to this day. I'm grateful to The Sacred Circle and Women's Spirituality because life would be empty without empowered women in my life and a spiritual path that mirrors my sacredness. I'm grateful for the Serenity Seekers of Carson City, because it connects me with kindred spirits and provides the experience, strength, hope and love I need to keep coming back. To me, a Home Group must provide an atmosphere of love and non-judgment or it isn't worth returning to.

     Today I am blessed. I have all of you to thank for my recovery, my discoveries and my empowerment. Today I know that my life has truly  transformed and I couldn't have done it without you. May the RECOVERING & RECLAIMING PATH fill you with joy, inspiration and gratitude as it leads you back through the labyrinth to your authentic self... one day at a time.   

In love & trust.... JoAnna


Recovering & Reclaiming                                                               

One Day at a Time
Part 1.....  by Mama J

     I want to thank each and every one of you for your love, support and understanding over the last 5 years. I know I haven’t been very consistent since Thomas passed away, but I’m ready to put my best foot forward in 2016. 
      My  beloved Thomas took his last breath on May 2, 2011, at high noon. He was 64 years old and died from liver disease as a result of alcoholism. Thomas experienced deep regret and sadness before his death, because he knew that he didn’t stop drinking in time and probably could have prevented his premature death if he had gotten sober earlier in his life. Being the realist that he was, however, and though he didn’t like it, he finally came to grips with it.
    
Thomas was at peace when he left this plane of existence. He was a good man and I was forever altered by his presence in my life. Words cannot describe the love and friendship we shared since our beginnings in 1978, so his passing brought on a deep period of mourning for me. We had our ups and downs and it wasn't always easy, but when he left this world as a sober man I knew what it was like to be loved, cherished and supported. 
     Thomas told me, when we first got together, that he was coming into my life to make it better. That he did. No question about it. He also told me before his death that he didn’t want to leave me behind, that he felt he was abandoning me when I probably needed him most. I told him I would miss him and reassured him that I would be OK; that I had plenty to do and plenty of women around me for support. He knew it was true, because he met and cared for so many of you through the years.

      Thomas died quickly and peacefully with Davina and I by his side. I will be forever grateful for that. I also know that his protective spirit will always be with me.  
     For the last 5 years I have taken time to grieve the loss of my beloved consort, one day at a time. Some days haven't been easy, some days are better than others, but as I continued putting one foot in front of the other a new life began emerging. I continued attending meetings because I needed to go on with my recovering life as usual. I continued teaching and priestessing in The Sacred Circle because it’s my job and it brings me joy. I continued spending time with my family because I'm grateful to be included in their lives. I was invited to priestess at goddess festivals in the larger women’s community and I am now a Regional Coordinator for Gather the Women Global Matrix in Carson City.  
      I am finally getting back to my writing and the book, which is almost finished and needs to be edited. Thank goodness. It’s been a long slow process because I am now forced to do jobs that Thomas used to do and it takes up a lot of my time, but I’m glad I’m finally finishing what I started before he passed away. Watching 3 of my dearest friends’ die an early death from alcoholism keeps me very grateful because it could have been me. To be sober, clean and abstinent, to take part in the wonders of life; to find meaning in each new day is a gift I never thought possible. I am blessed.
    
 The Recovering & Reclaiming path has saved my life and I still follow it with all my heart because it is a continual process that brings me deeper revelations one day at a time. Since this precious journey frees me from illusions of the mind and the bondage to self, I have continued taking the actions I was taught to take from the very beginning of my recovery. It’s not always easy, but I’m thankful, because I celebrated 33 years of recovery on February 4th and that’s a miracle. I’ve also been blessed to have many wonderful women to share my life with… especially those of you who have walked this path with me through the years.    
     I’m still showing up frequently in rooms of recovery because I love sharing the gifts of recovery, welcoming those who are new, and giving back what was so freely given to me. I continue holding weekly Circles in my home because I love teaching and mingling with sisters who are reclaiming the Goddess in recovery.  I like participating in the larger women’s community and contributing my talents to the growing sisterhood we all share. I like staying accountable to my sponsor and my home group members. I still work with others because I like developing unique and priceless relationships. I love waking up each day with appreciation and gratitude, but most of all, I love being teachable because I’m still learning new things every day.

RECOVERING & RECLAIMING --
ONE DAY AT A TIME.... Part 2

     The Sacred Circle has been a blessing in my life. Through the process of recovering and reclaiming, I finally came to see that the disconnection from the natural world and our Divine Self is the core cause of our soul-fragmentation, codependency, and addictions to people, places, things, food and substances. We also have the ability to return to wholeness and our true state of being anytime we wish just by letting go of the illusions, beliefs and misconceptions that have caused our suffering and separation since birth. We do have a choice. 
    
I’m glad to know that today we can heal our past into the present if we desire... and we can do it one day at a time by showing up in circles of women, sharing our stories, taking actions suggested in our recovery program and by staying clean, sober and abstinent. The only path I found that gives us specific steps and directions to a spiritual awakening is the path of recovery. There is nothing else like it.
     To
day I strive to live between the worlds, in the NOW. I may fall off tomorrow but today is all I have. I like keeping my head in the clouds and my feet planted firmly on Mother Earth because I know paradise is here, not in some distant place. It took me a long time to see it because I knew so much that wasn't true I couldn't “see” anything that was! I'm learning that each day is sufficient unto the day and that I can trust the process of life because hindsight is 20/20!             
     Today I know I am one with spirit, one with nature, one with all things in the great web of life. I am not separate from divinity, I AM divinity, a drop among many drops in the ocean of consciousness we call LIFE. Today I know that the Great Spirit expresses itself through me and all who exist, that life is a monologue staged as a dialog. I am a bridge between the worlds of earth and spirit, cause and manifestation. I can also enjoy many spiritual teachings because I discovered through the years that they are all revealing the truth in different ways. Every road leads to the mountain top… and it doesn’t matter which one you take. They will all get us there. Today I am grateful to be an Earthling, one among many; a PART OF rather than a PART FROM. Believe me, it wasn't always like that.
    
Joseph Campbell once said that the Earth should be viewed as one living organism, with US as its connected parts… that it should become the symbol of our new global mythology. I agree with him. We must awaken to the fact that our source of life is here, our paradise is here; our Spirit is here, part of the Earth and not in some distant place, and the quicker we come to realize it, the better!
      This awareness is being shared by thousands in the world today but is still a vital element missing in our recovery programs. If we desire healing, it is essential that we break through our insidious denial, relinquish old ideas, and begin reclaiming ourselves on a new level of consciousness, one rooted in an ancient fundamental truth: That we are living Spirits, whole and complete in the framework of our design; that there is nothing to add or take away from ourselves except the false beliefs and illusions of our cultural conditioning; that we are one with all things in the great web of life; and that WE are the SAVIORS we've been waiting for!
    
 In The Sacred Circle we share this perspective. We know that we can give up our illusions, overcome our addictions and return to sanity one day at a time by taking the required actions necessary in our recovery program; by honoring ourselves, by working with others, by detaching from male-dominated systems and by flowing with the cycles of Nature because we experienced the results for ourselves! So… as we continue our dance through the seasons, we bring this awareness to others because Earth Magic is Woman Magic and our greatest desire is to live in the solution rather than the problem. What problem? Patriarchy!
    
Patriarchy is the insidious hierarchal force dominating our world today but our true spirits and the ancient ways of the Goddess are diametrically opposed to its male-dominated systems and religions. Hierarchal, power-over systems of Patriarchy are misogynous. [Woman hating] They deliberately sidetrack us into believing we are separate from Nature; separate from our divine source, separate from each other; that some are better than others; that we are sinful; that we are not worth a damn unless we have money, property, prestige or youthful sex appeal. This brainwashing has held our minds captive for a millennium but we must be free from these illusions and beliefs if we want to recover and live authentic lives. We must abandon outdated notions of “us” and “them”... because in truth, it is just US! - THEM is an illusion.
    
In the Circle, Patriarchy defines the imbalance of male and female energies which causes many problems. Many are numb to the true implications of Patriarchy and how it perpetuates lies, division and separation, but our natural instincts do not lie. Our inner wisdom, power and connection to reality as living spirits and as women need not be suppressed by imbalanced systems of the world any longer. We are a sleeping humanity but we can wake up if we choose, and we can utilize a process of recovery and reclaiming to do it. That’s been my experience.

RECOVERING & RECLAIMING
ONE DAY AT A TIME -- Part 3

    The Sacred Circle started in 1987 as a small group of recovering women from my 12-Step Group but we soon began attracting women from other 12-Step Programs and the larger community. Our first few years together in the Circle added deeper understanding and dimensions to our recovery because we quickly discovered that we all share the same common problems and mysteries as women. No matter what our ethnic background or various symptoms, we all needed to recover from the underlying mind-sets, emotional traumas, self-hatred, spiritual estrangement and soul-fragmentation caused by living in the dysfunctional systems of Patriarchy.    
     Although there are many paths to self-discovery, Women's Spirituality is the path we honor in The Sacred Circle because it mirrors our real-life experiences as women. Not only that. By seeing ourselves mirrored in the many guises of the Divine Feminine; by celebrating our unique mysteries and rites of passage as women; by aligning ourselves with the natural cycles and seasons of Mother Nature; by participating in self-honoring circles, rituals and ceremonies; we found self-esteem, balance, harmony and health being restored in a very short period of time!
     Th
e Sacred Circle is woven with a strong commitment to the Goddess, to Women, to Life, and to our recovery from all seemingly hopeless states of mind and body. We evolved through trial and error but we learned valuable lessons going through the process. Like any collective working together for change and transformation, sacred bonds of love and trust developed and strengthened among us through the years. Today, we not only enjoy a solid core of support, we are bound by threads of love, magic, dedication and commitment as we continue welcoming new sisters seeking sanctuary, restoration and deeper healing in their lives.  I’m thankful to all of you who have shared this path with me through the years because I couldn’t have done it, or reaped the numerous and powerful benefits, without you. 
    
 I have often been asked why The Sacred Circle has been so successful over the years. I have one answer to that question. From our earliest days we have stayed rooted in primary purpose: a spiritual awakening through the Steps of Recovery, carrying the message of recovery to others, and embracing a spiritual path that honors women. Recovery and Reclaiming is a matter of life or death for many of us and we continue manifesting miracles in our lives as a result of our participation in rooms of recovery and the Circle. So, we continue reclaiming the Goddess in recovery because our lives as women are being restored tremendously from it.
     With over 30 years in recovery, I have learned much from my continual participation in 12- Step Recovery so I structured The Sacred Circle in a similar way. The Sacred Circle is not a replacement for recovery programs. It is an enhancement. 
     
        12-Step Recovery programs are designed with singleness of purpose. They define our particular problem and define our solution, which is spiritual awakening. Then we are given step by step instructions on how to live a new life. Each program focuses on one particular symptom while providing a 12-Step path of action and the necessary group support to recover from addictions and compulsions of every kind. Each meeting helps the individual “identify” with the same problem, whether it is alcoholism, food or drug addiction, codependency, smoking, gambling, etc. This is especially good for newcomers who need to focus on one symptom at a time, attend continual meetings, identify the problem and solution, and gain community support.
    
The Sacred Circle offers a spiritual path to women in recovery who honor Spirit and Nature because it takes us beyond the metaphors of Patriarchal Religion to the root of the problem: soul fragmentation caused by Patriarchy, Hierarchy, and our estrangement from the natural world. The Circle agrees with 12 Step Recovery, that we have a spiritual malady caused by fragmentation of the soul. This includes its common manifestations: codependency, various addictions, internalized oppression, and other compulsions that result from it. Today I feel most at home in The Sacred Circle and Serenity Seekers, a recovery group we created in Carson City that supports women in recovery. I am very lucky.
     
Many people in 12-Step recovery feel the fellowship is enough for them. I do not. Twelve-Step fellowships, especially in more conservative communities, consist mainly of white, middle-class men and women who dominate almost every meeting with God talk, patriarchal theology and Judeo-Christian beliefs. This can be very hard on those who honor other spiritual paths; those who were damaged by patriarchal religion; those from different ethnic backgrounds or those who have no religion at all. Also, different belief systems can cause separation, and we need unity in our fellowships in order to recover.

RECOVERING & RECLAIMING
ONE DAY AT A TIME --- Part 4

     Many in recovery today are hungry for new and fulfilling ways to feed their souls, celebrate their uniqueness, embrace their sacredness, express their natural abilities, and honor their unique gifts as daughters and sons of the Great Mother. I know many women who still struggle with patriarchal religious concepts because these beliefs don’t feel right to them, but they don’t know where to turn for something else, for a spirituality that speaks to them as women, one that resonates with their soul and mirrors their life from birth to death.    
      Women have been starving way too long in recovery programs created by men for men, because genuine fulfillment does not come from a world that only recognizes, idealizes or acknowledges male gods, male religions, male intellect, male viewpoints, male accomplishments or male society! We must have a spiritual system that is balanced, that honors the gifts of the Feminine along with the Masculine. Without HER, complete recovery, restoration and healing are not possible. Without HER, there is no beauty, no magic, no love. Without HER there is no soul, intuition, ecstasy or sustenance. Without HER there is no LIFE!
     The time has finally come for each of us to gain a deeper understanding of recovery. It's not only about addictions, even though everyone in our culture has them. (Including Cell-Phone Addiction) Everyone needs recovery on one level or another because we all have a deep soul-sickness that resulted from our indoctrination in a dysfunctional world, an unconscious world, a patriarchal world; one that blinded us from the truth, one that continues to separate us from ourselves, the earth, and each other. 
    
 If we want to be happy, joyous and free we must change. We must uncover the root causes of our dysfunctions and discover our sacredness in the unbalanced world around us. It is time to reclaim our divinity and our Mother, the Earth, on a whole new level of consciousness, so we can be at peace with ourselves and all others in the great web of life. Peace on earth begins by having peace within. Harmony breeds harmony.
    
In AA literature, anyone who doesn’t “believe in God” is considered agnostic or atheist and this simply isn’t true. There are many people on earth today that are deeply spiritual yet do not believe in a god outside themselves or belong to patriarchal religion. If a certain religion works for you, that’s fine, but it is perfectly OK if it doesn't. Spirituality and Religion are not the same. We are all spiritual beings but not all beings are religious. Spirituality is the Soul having its own evolutionary experience. Religion is a man-made system of thoughts and beliefs that may or may not be true. Also, all major religions of today are Patriarchal and do not honor women.
    
It's very important to recognize the difference between spirituality and religion. I see a lot of this in 12 Step Programs. People take the AA text or any other text from a 12 Step Program, and hang on every word. Some even pound their text on the table much like an evangelist pounds his bible on the podium in church, claiming that if it's “not in the book” it's not valid. That's hogwash! Our AA fore-fathers did their very best to pass on their experience, strength and hope to us with the knowledge they had at that time, and they did a damn good job of it too, because the knowledge they passed along still applies to us today. It also seems to me, as the years roll by, that the wisdom in the Big Book is more pronounced every time I read it, but we must also continue evolving and learning as well, from new information as well as our own life experience.
     
Our fore-fathers wrote in the text of A.A. that they knew only a little, that AA was a spiritual kindergarten; that more would constantly be revealed to us as we evolved. That was 80 years ago and they were right. Even though our text book still contains the vital spiritual principles and actions needed to recover from alcoholism and other addictions, we know a lot more about addiction today than we did then. We've also been exposed to many different spiritual paths in our American culture and  it’s important to keep growing.
 
            
Sometimes I'll introduce myself as a recovering Catholic in my recovery meetings just to get a rise out of my peers. I have nothing against Catholicism. My early upbringing in parochial schools actually contributed to my search for truth though the years, but I say it to make a point: that many people were damaged by certain religious beliefs that need to be relinquished in order to unify and recover from all seemingly hopeless states of mind and body. We should be sensitive to this, especially in recovery programs. If a religious system doesn't honor our oneness with all things in the great web of life, or continues causing separation or disharmony, it is not a healthy system and should be relinquished, especially in a recovery program. ------ There are many differences of opinion generated in 12-Step Fellowships today that cause friction, controversy, resentment and defiance. Honoring one religious idea that doesn't include everyone causes separation, and God as you understand Him is a religious idea, nothing more. It's OK if that idea works for you, but what if it doesn't?
       
Today it is more important than ever to maintain unity if we are going to recover. We must also realize that not all 12-Step groups are healthy or appropriate for all people. It's best to find one that is comfortable and safe, one that meets our needs. If we can't find one, we can create one, because it is important to come together with people of like-mind in order to recover. That’s why we created The Sacred Circle, a safe sanctuary where we are free to be ourselves, to honor our unique mysteries as women, to explore various symptoms of our dysfunctions, and to share our recovery freely with others who honor the Divine Feminine as well as the masculine. The safety of a women’s circle can also make all the difference in the world to sisters who have been exploited or violated by patriarchal religion, beliefs, mindsets and behaviors, even in 12-Step Programs. 
    
 Men need sacred spaces of their own too, because they were programmed differently and need to honor their own mysteries. They were also damaged by Patriarchy and need to become aware of how and why. Both sexes have internalized the belief systems of Patriarchy, in one form or another, and it separates us from reality and each other. The truth is we are all Living Spirits, Children of the Earth, no matter what illusions we were suckered into believing. In our recovery program we are told that the women get well with the women… and… the men get well with the men… and that’s a good thing because both sexes were indoctrinated differently and we need to see our similarities and relate to each other realistically in order to recover.

RECOVERING & RECLAIMING
ONE DAY AT A TIME -- Part  5

     Many of us in 12 Step Fellowships complain about the sad state of world continually, but what are we doing about it?  We must start owning our part in the dysfunction and we must work together to do it. We need to wake up and take responsibility for the pain we are causing in our own lives as well as in the world around us. We can't recover on our own. A sick mind cannot fix a sick mind. Illusions can't fix illusions and we are all deluded to some extent.
     We also suffer from various forms of insanity and we need each other in order to heal. We need to share our experiences with one another in order to identify real problems and solutions. We can't do this alone. It's impossible, because we suffer from a weird form of insanity produced by a subtle yet insidious form of indoctrination and many of us don't even know it! We need mirrors in order to recognize our sickness, similarities, differences, dysfunctions and solutions.
    
In recovery, it's often been said that “when we're alone, we're in bad company” because we get caught up in our illusions and the lies we tell ourselves. That's why it's important to come together on a regular basis, in the Circle and in rooms of recovery, if we really want to heal our lives. We need each other to do it… and the wisdom that is offered in each group when we share our experience, strength and hope is invaluable.
    
The Recovering & Reclaiming Path urges us to return to community and share our stories. It also teaches us to have compassion for one another because we all have similar problems and heartaches. When we hear about another’s suffering, it opens our heart which brings healing and compassion. When we heal, the world heals, not the other way around. As long as there is still suffering in the world, we have work to do. As long as there is starvation in the world, we have work to do. As long as there is war, sickness, poverty and abuse, we have work to do, ON OURSELVES. When we heal, the world heals ... so we have no more excuses.
    
Through the years, I've had the privilege of working with many women and men in recovery. I now strongly feel that we cannot recover completely without reclaiming the Goddess. How can we?  She is our maternal connection to life. She is our living, breathing Earth Mother and sustainer of all life on this planet. We can stay in denial all we want about this vital truth, but it doesn't change it. Just as our natural mothers give us life, Mother Earth brings life and sustenance to the all creatures on the planet. We must take the blindfold from our eyes if we want to recover and live in harmony. This planet is our home and we are one with it. IT IS TIME TO WAKE UP! 
    
       Many people seem to be affected in one way or another by unconscious humanity and the "diseases of more" that go with it. Every person in our culture suffers from the dysfunctions of an imbalanced world, but our underlying spiritual problem, when uncovered at its root, remains the same: estrangement from self, from nature, from each other. Our solution is the same too: an awakening of consciousness, one that is sufficient enough to shift our perception… deflate our false sense-of-self… banish illusions of the mind… restore our ability as co-creators… and re-connect us consciously with the great web of life. Then and only then, will each of us live an authentic life, one with true inspiration, insight, joy, peace and purpose. 
    
       In all my years of seeking and searching for more, more, more, I finally discovered that happiness is truly “an inside job." Even though life has its ups and downs, and changes with every turn of the seasons, I have not forgotten the years I spent chasing money, property, prestige, sex, security, people, places, things and substances in my efforts to fill the empty void in my soul, and I blew myself up in the process! In recovery, I discovered that what I was looking for I was looking with... because my divinity and true source of peace was within me all along! My fragmented Soul was just buried under false beliefs and illusions of the mind,
and I had to retrieve it through the Steps in order to recover.
    
Blowing myself up and resigning from the world as I knew it in 1982 was the best thing that ever happened to me. Why? Because when my ego, my false sense of self, was completely burned up by my insanity and self-destructiveness, my real “Self” and oneness with all things came into view! This connection had existed all along, revealing who I was as a living Spirit, who I had always been before the pollution of my mind, body and soul was clouded over by illusions of the world. My false reality was one that I created and it almost resulted in my annihilation! It was also one I could relinquish, with the help of my 12-Step recovery program. That's what recovery is all about: relinquishing illusions of the mind and dysfunctional actions that keep us separated from the reality of living in the moment, one day at a time.
     
I have a lot of gratitude for 12-Step programs. They saved my life and continue offering refuge in my ongoing recovery. Although I structured The Sacred Circle with 13 Traditions and 13 Steps, it was not meant to undermine 12-Step programs, only to serve those in recovery who honor ancient ways of Nature and Spirit. Now I will offer my work to the world, not as the only way, but as one that may help create a deeper awareness of our lives in recovery. It’s time.       
      As we consciously return to the lap of the Great Mother to heal from dysfunctional ways of the world, may our journey of self-discovery be richer because of it. Love, wholeness, balance and harmony are goals we strive for in The Sacred Circle… but when we blend the principles of recovery with a path that honors our oneness with Nature and Spirit... with the feminine as well as the masculine... new ways of perceiving life are enhanced, perhaps in ways never before experienced.
      My deepest desire is that we will all awaken as Living Spirits… heal from our soul fragmentation…  and reclaim the wisdom and power of the Divine Feminine… so balance can be restored to our lives and the Earth, here and now, once and for all.  Blessed Be.

Let's remember: When we Heal, families Heal
When Families Heal, Communities Heal
When communities heal, nations heal;
When nations heal, the world heals!