Recovery is a Journey Not an Event I had a rough childhood. I grew up in a broken family and we were always very poor. My mother was married multiple times and had children with all of them. The guys were never good role models. I spent many years living with relatives when my mother could no longer take care of us. There was a time we actually lived in a house with no running water and an outhouse. I remember a day when the only thing we had to eat in the house was a half a jar of peanut butter. Not the best of times for a child. When I was about 9 I came down with acute appendicitis. I was rushed to the doctor and sent for emergency surgery. I remember waking up after the surgery and I was in intense pain. The surgery site was still very sore and every time I moved or coughed it was agony. Even today 30+ years later I still remember the pain of that event. In 2008 my wife had an affair. Intense pain and trauma. I was a basket case for about a year. Lost 30 pounds. Intense triggers, sadness, apathy, rage. I remember thinking how can things ever get better? Will my life be all about pain? What do all the events have in common? They are all traumas I have faced in my life. At the time all seemed overwhelming. For others it may be a loss of a family member, a physical trauma or financial ruin. All of these traumas require a recovery journey and not all journeys are the same. The pain of my childhood or the trauma of being betrayed will always be in my life. They will never magically disappear. Today 30+ years after my surgery if I move in just the right way I can feel the scar on my side. Its not painful. It doesn’t overwhelm me. It’s just a reminder of the past. Today I can look back and smile at the Matchbox plane I got as a gift after the surgery. Today 8 years after the betrayal I occasionally will get a minor trigger. They are no longer overwhelming. They are now, mere reminders of something that was devastating and happened in my past. Yet, I’m on the other side of it, healed and restored. I can now look back at the traumas in my life, especially infidelity and use the experiences to grow and learn. I eventually chose to take the traumas and reach out to others who were struggling. Now, I find I’m able to comfort those who are currently struggling and provide not only empathy but understanding. I’ve let the traumas mold me into a better Christian and husband and father. I learned more about myself through the trauma than I ever did in the good times. Today I can say without a doubt I’m better off individually than I ever have been. I am grateful that my marriage was indeed restored and it’s better than ever. For many, that’s not the case, but personal healing is still possible. But you know what? I still get sad when I see a movie legitimizing affairs. I still get sad when I see children growing up in broken families. I still can visit the sadness internally and remember the pain, the hurt and the hopelessness. We always have a choice how WE respond to the traumas that visit our lives. Recovery is a journey, not an event.