Addiction and Recovery, Spiritual Discovery

My Thumb War with God

Life sideswiped me today with one of those little surprises you don’t see coming.

Fundamentally, all is well. I and everyone I love is healthy. But sometimes, the everyday struggles pile up over time, so that with that last, tiny push, the whole thing collapses at your feet.

My initial reaction, when it happened, was to click into “go mode”, to ask for direction, make phone calls, send emails, and devise a game plan. That’s the thing about me: I’m great in the moment. I stay focused, keep it together, get things done. When presented with the option to “fight” or “flight”, I slip on my gloves and get into the ring.

It’s afterwards, when all the big, heavy feelings march in, that I crumble.

This is where I am now.

Pain comes first. On the surface is the pain of the event itself, and below that, the pain of betrayal. I thought God and I had a good thing going, like two friends at a friendly thumb war; then He goes and lays out my thumb with a surprise pointer finger. I’m disappointed in Him, and in myself for not seeing it coming. I’m lonely, because I’m convinced I am the only person ever to deal with this. And I’m grieving, because anything that ever happens, ever, reminds me that my mother is dead and I can’t tell her about it – which is the one thing that would make it better.

I feel small, helpless, powerless, clueless.

I am afraid.

But I also know this. The reason I have ever been afraid of anything is not because of the thing itself, but because I didn’t think I was strong enough to take it. This is one of the many benefits of recovering from addiction, living with grief, and surviving trauma. If none of them could break me, a disappointment like this certainly won’t. Perhaps it is just the thing I need to refine me into a better version of myself.

That’s not to say I’m not tempted to crawl into my bed for a few days, ignore my family, and binge on Ben and Jerry’s and Netflix.

Alas, I filled my lifetime Ben and Jerry’s quota at the age of 22, so I must trudge onward with no buffer but faith. And hope that, once again, it will carry me through.

Wish me luck.



One thought on “My Thumb War with God”

  1. Paula Mack Drill says:

    Rea, I fell madly in love with you when you were about eight years old. I wonder if you even remember how we chose each other? And now, I am simply blown away by the woman you are. And I find myself falling madly in love with you all over again. Kol haKavod and all that you have accomplished and all that you bring to the world. You are a powerful teacher. I should know, I just binged on your writing for an hour tonight! Of course, I should have been cooking for Shabbat, probably her mother’s recipe for acorn squash with Coca-Cola! Sending you so much love.

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