The struggle is real.

Picture it. Young women. Hair blowing in the wind. Standing on a path lined with dandelions and daisies. No, sunflowers. Yes, a path lined with sunflowers. Giant Jesus rays shooting out around the sun, lighting the sky with so much hope and love that your heart may burst. The path before her is her path toward restoration. Angelic music is playing in the background; perhaps a choir begins singing and clapping along to songs about freedom. A bald eagle flies overheard. She hears the soundtrack of her life booming behind her as she begins to walk courageously down the path; the path toward a new life. Never turning back.

We’ve all imagined this image in our minds and even seen it on awesome motivational posters from the 90s. This is often what we think of when we talk about recovery.

Yesterday was a hard day. For one of our clients – well, for our whole CCAHT family, really. Things didn’t go as planned. Seemed like those “two steps back.” It didn’t feel fair or just and it wasn’t. But the reality is, it wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last.

I know sometimes we need those images of sunflowers and bald eagles. We need that to remind us that it’s possible, that there is hope, and we do have a path forward. But we also need to see images of reality. The tears, the frustration, the pain, and the mess of it all. We need that to remind us that we are not alone.

There was so much symbolism in the way yesterday ended. Katie walking hand in hand with a client through the pouring rain. Not protecting themselves from it or running from it. But immersing themselves in it. Letting the full weight of that pain and disappointment come. They didn’t sugar coat it, they didn’t brush it off, or pretend it wasn’t happening. They let themselves feel the truth of what happened. Because out of that place, hopefully, is birthed strength and some sort of action.

Only allowing ourselves to view recovery as the “Jesus rays” scenario not only numbs the truth, but also provides the space for us to view anyone with a stormy landscape as simply “doing it wrong.” And with that mentality comes judgment and disappointment.

Together (myself included) let’s do a better job of visualizing what recovery really looks like. Because sometimes just knowing that having a messy cry face is 100% A-OK helps our soul feel better.


“In order for the light to shine so brightly, the darkness must be present.”

Sir Francis Bacon