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I went to the first day of a weekend retreat at Hazelden about “Healing From Within.” I’m not an addict or an alcoholic, yet I mirror every behavior and thinking pattern of one – I just don’t pick up a drink. I’ve learned a lot about the “wounded child” that lives inside of each of us—that part of us that was hurt by this broken world, whether by a teacher, parent, sibling, classmate, neighbor, friend or stranger. I like that the focus is not about who’s to blame for my wounds – the focus is simply on what I’m going to do with them. The three guiding principles introduced to us were: 1) I need to “own my own truth” – I must be honest and vulnerable about my hurt and what I needed that I didn’t get; 2) Grieve my losses – an important step that so many of us failed to take and which explains our continuing inner turmoil; and 3) Regardless of what happened, I’m responsible for how I live my life today.

My assignment today was to write a letter from the loving, nurturing parent inside of me to the wounded, hurting little girl that’s in there too. It’s an interesting exercise that I recommend highly. Here’s my letter FROM myself TO myself: “Hello Angel… I’ve seen you in the corner crying for so long—so alone. But I didn’t know how to help you. I didn’t know how to hug you or reach out to you or give you what you needed. I didn’t purposely leave you crying there. But your pain was too big and too raw—and I was afraid if I approached you to try to comfort you that I would get swallowed up in your pain. So I turned my back to you to protect myself. I didn’t do it to be heartless—I did it because I was scared. And I had nothing at that time to give me enough courage or strength or love to offer to you. But now I have Jesus. Now I know the warmth of love and the joy of being noticed. Now I have something to offer you, little girl. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve grown a lot. I’ve found support. I’ve reconnected with family. I have resources. And I have faith. So…. I’m back. I’m home. I’m ready and able to face you. I’m braced for the pain I will feel when you fall into my arms and weep and grieve. And I will weep with you – and it will be OK. You’re not alone anymore. It’s time.”

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