Freedom is the survivor’s motto. It’s what we strive for as we head to the weekend or into the Christmas holidays or towards two weeks in Spain. Freedom is nothing we can catch or win. Freedom is letting go of chasing these things.
How does freedom feel?
Freedom is wide open spaces and wide open spaces are scary. When prisoners finally get out of prison the world is a noisy, unpredictable place. When we escape abusive relationships we are like rabbits released from a hutch. The child who wants her pet to be free may have good intentions when she opens the door of the cage. But the poor rabbit runs around the edges of the garden with a mounting panic. The cage was too small but the garden is too big.
Freedom has no boundaries. Freedom is this wide open space. Whether we like it or not we all need boundaries. Be careful what you wish for, little rabbits.
What does freedom feel like to you?
My freedom feels like the wind in the trees. It feel like wide open spaces in front of you. It feels like miles of silver sea stretched out before you and the wind blowing over it in ripples to greet you. Freedom is intoxicating at first. It’s the scene in the Shawshank Redemption film when they finally get out of prison and meet on that beach. Freedom is a beach.
Freedom is a feeling that doesn’t last. So don’t try to catch it or win it. It’s like jumping to grab hold of a balloon before it flies away. Freedom is a series of decisions we make every day – big and small. What to wear. What to say. Where to work. Who to love. How to be in the world,
What happens to pet rabbits?
The child who releases the pet rabbit has choices too. She cannot just walk away. She must choose between putting the rabbit back in its cage – its safe space. Or letting it run around until a fox or dog finds it and tears it apart. Now the child begins to understand a little more about freedom.
What does freedom mean to you? To the survivor it is a badge we wear. Maybe we even call ourselves warriors and say we won our freedom. I have always said – Freedom costs. The truth is that freedom is not a badge. It’s not a simple opening of the cage. Freedom is a series of decisions that never end. And those decisions have consequences.
That’s the cost.
If we escape our cages, what then? Do we go back into another cage with another man who will control us? Is that your idea of freedom? Or do we learn how to live outside the cage in the wide open spaces. After divorce, after prison, after abuse, the world seems a big wide scary place.
The 361 can guide you to make those first important steps safely – away from the cage and away from what we know. In our own time we can learn who we want to be, who we want in our lives – and who we don’t. The 361 recovery programme can help you to find another way of living that doesn’t involve cages. Find your own way. Define your own boundaries. How does freedom feel to you? Find the one. The 361.
Alice Smith 2019
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