Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

“the soul looked out”

“Immortal Love”

By Louise Glück


Like a door

the body opened and

the soul looked out.

Timidly at first, then

less timidly

until it was safe.

Then in hunger it ventured.

Then in brazen hunger,

then at the invitation

of any desire.

. . . . . . . . .


We are a society that values the instant and immediate.  I think of the phone I grew up with—a rotary dial, no call waiting, no caller ID, no voice mail.  Just a phone.  Then I look at the phone I have now: I’m in the middle of several scrabble games with friends, I can send and receive text messages, take calls, see who’s calling, access the internet, listen to music, and take pictures.  To name a few things.  All with a nice little tap of my finger on a screen.

Recovery isn’t like our phones, although we want it to be.  Snap our fingers and be done with it all.  It’s a process, much like the opening to Louise Glück’s poem, “Immortal Love.”  First, we look at the pool, the water shimmering in the sun.  We look out and contemplate recovery.  An important first step since no one can make us recover.  Then we dip our toes in the pool, testing the temperature. We enter treatment, talk to someone, seek help.  Eventually we confront our fears and jump in.  It’s terrifying at first, feeling like you can’t breathe and wondering if you’ll reach the surface in time.

Then the shift begins.  We gain power from confronting our fears.  And we gain courage to continue facing them.  Eventually, we learn we have enough power to face our biggest fear: the world.  What we were trying to escape with our addictions of various types.  The power and courage and strength we gained in taking tiny steps helps us when we make the move into the world.

There will come a point when the world will call you, and you will desire it, and you will venture out into it.  You will be ready.  And you will be able.  It doesn’t matter how long it takes, and never compare yourself to someone else’s journey.  We each have our own journey, regardless of the destination.



July 9, 2011 - Posted by | Eating Disorders, recovery | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I just wanted to say thank you. I can relate to so much of what you write. While I am still struggling a great deal at the moment, you give me great hope and affirm that there is a reason to keep fighting.

    Comment by BE | July 9, 2011 | Reply

  2. There is never a sudden revelation, a complete and tidy explanation for why it happened, or why it ends, or why or who you are. It comes in bits and pieces, and you stitch them together wherever they fit, and when you are done you hold yourself up, and still there are holes and you are a rag doll, invented, imperfect. And yet you are all that you have, so you must be enough. There is no other way. ~ Marya Hornbacher

    Comment by surfacingaftersilence | July 10, 2011 | Reply

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