As a Midwesterner living in Florida, I’m watching Hurricane Irma crawl across the Atlantic. I’m physically sick and can’t sleep, but facing a hurricane isn’t my biggest problem. Here’s the story of what’s really bothering me.

What Is Really Bothering Me

When I sat down to finally face my anxiety, I realized:

  1. Irma’s forceful. She’s strong-arming her way and show’s little concern for my needs or feelings.
  2. She dumps unwanted trash and debris wherever she pleases.
  3. She doesn’t respect my boundaries.
  4. Her plans are all one-sided, and she isn’t willing to work on my schedule.
  5. She takes what she wants.
  6. Irma limits my access to basic needs like food, water, shelter, gas, and money.
  7. She cuts off my communication with my support system.
  8. She makes me think I’m crazy: How could there possibly be impending doom when it’s so sunny and warm today?

Hurricane Irma is exactly like the toxic people who harmed me in the past. I am anxious because this storm is triggering my old unhealthy response.

In the past, when I faced a dilemma, I polled everyone for opinions on what I should do. I worried, and I felt helpless. Then I got scared and angry. I complained, hoping someone else would rush in and save me. Frazzled, I made a frantic plan and then asked my Higher Power to approve my plan.

A New Way Of Facing A Hurricane

Thanks to recovery, I can use these steps to face Irma:

  1. Admit I am powerless over nature. I don’t want Irma to come. Who does? Wishing against the natural course of life will only exhaust me.
  2. Came to believe my Higher Power is stronger than Irma.
  3. Quit trying to make my own plan. In the still calm quiet before the storm, I became willing to trust my Higher Power.
  4. Sought through prayer and meditation to know my Higher Power’s will for me and the strength to carry it out.

I don’t know when, where or if Irma will hit, and I don’t have to. Recovery teaches me to live one day at a time, so just for today, I’m going to put first things first. I’m going to take care of my basic needs and do the next right thing. Also, I’m going to believe that everyone I meet is doing his or her best. Lastly, I’m going to look for joy and peace in my 24-hour window. I will trust that my Higher Power is orchestrating every move I make.

If you are also facing a storm of natural, addictive or relational origins, I hope you too can find recovery tools that help you survive the storm.






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Pam Carver

Pam is the author of two books: Co-dependent In The Kitchen, and Find Your True Colors In 12 Steps. She's also a contributing editor for Reach Out Recovery. She's a recovery advocate who likes long walks on the beach and chocolate.

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