Why is it so hard to make the changes we need in life? I’ve asked myself that question many times. Maybe it’s not as complicated as we’ve made it. Maybe it’s not a matter of changing ourselves as much as it is just changing direction. Nothing is surer to change you over time than the path you’ve chosen to be on. Here is an allegory to consider.
The Trauma and Addiction Train is exciting. You know the people riding this train. They are thrilled to see you. They call out your name when you board the train! You’ve bonded with them over shared pain. Some of the pain you caused together…and they are the only ones who understand it.
The people on this train have seen you at your worst and don’t judge you. They accept you just the way you are.
On the Trauma and Addiction Train, there is opportunity everywhere for revelry and self-indulgence. Food, sex, drugs, thievery, violence… nothing is off limits. There is always enough drama on this train to keep you distracted from the demons in your head, and responsibilities that keep resurfacing in your heart.
No one expects anything of you except that you show up for their drama. They expect you to “be there for them no matter what”. They expect you to “support them on their journey”. They need you to fetch them things, listen to their gossip, be horrified at their pain, and take their abuse to show them “you care”. And, you’re down for that. IT’S WHY YOU’RE THERE! Other peoples’ drama helps distract you from your own pain and mistakes.
The Health and Healing Train on the other hand is dull and filled with boring people. There is nothing happening on that train. A few people sitting around looking pensively out windows. Groups of people talking. A spattering of other people here and there napping or reading a book quietly by themselves. There are some tables where people are playing cards or enjoying some snacks together. There is no place for you to fit in here. They don’t get you. They don’t understand you. They don’t welcome you. They’re not trying to. They barely even know you’re there.
Why would anyone choose the Health and Healing Train?
They choose it because of the DESTINATION. They know what is going on INSIDE of the train is LESS important than WHERE the train is going.
People on the Health and Healing Train are headed towards life and redemption. There are stops along the way. There are stops where you must stay for a while in scary towns like Accountability and Responsibility, Truthfulness and Honesty as well as Remorse and Restitution.
The people on the Trauma and Addiction Train are there for the ride and don’t worry about the destination, often until it’s too late. The destination of the Trauma and Addiction Train is always destruction and death…. but no one cares, because they feel safe in the chaos.
The only reason you are considering the Health and Healing Train is because someone told you about it. It doesn’t seem enticing on the surface…the only train you’ve ever been on is Trauma and Addiction. That train is familiar, painful, to be sure. You know it's going to crash. It always does, but the ride is predictable and you’ve survived the dead end before.
But if you wanted something different…something without a dead end, can you really trust the Health and Healing Train? Are the people on this train as peaceful as they seem to be? Are the shared laughs real? Are those napping as content as their faces reflect? Can you really bond over a game of cards instead of pain?
You’re unsure because you’ve never done it before. There are people who ride that train and have told you to try it. They tell you to “trust the process”. They tell you that all you have to do is get on the train and it will carry you to it’s destination of Health and Healing.
You’re not sure.
You tried some recovery groups and went through some recovery programs before but frankly, you were just glad you felt better so you could get back on the Trauma and Addiction Train with more leverage and power...and more strength to survive the inevitable dead-end crash. Or maybe you thought you could control the destination with your new found wisdom…but you couldn’t. The train is going where it’s going and you’re on it...so you’re going there too.
Changing trains is scary, especially when it's going the opposite direction you have ever gone. If you get off the Trauma and Addiction Train, who will you be? How will you feel? Who are you when others don’t see your trauma and pain, and don’t really care to? Will you cease to exist? Is there something else you can be other than traumatized and addicted and broken? Is there someone in you who could find joy in reading a book or creating something? Is there something inside of you that could chase the demons in your mind away and welcome another identity such as Whole, Strong, Peaceful or Steadfast? You don’t know.
What happens if you get off the Trauma and Addiction Train at the next stop and leave it all behind? Everything you’ve ever known? Everything you’ve given your life to? All your friends who need you? You know the the destination is death…but you’ve skirted death before. Maybe you can beat it this time, too.
Or should you get off and wait for the Health and Healing Train and trust that the destination of the Health and Healing Train is better, more rewarding, richer, lifegiving. Some say it is. Are they right?
Why don’t you find out?
The Health and Healing Train is not an experience or two. It is a completely different direction.
If you’re looking for a way to change directions and want to get off of the trauma and addiction train, contact us here at Vashti’s House at firstname.lastname@example.org.