‘Coping in Early Recovery: The Toddler Stage’ by Stephanie Brown

images-1In my last blog on Stephanie Brown’s book  A Place Called Self: Women, Sobriety, and Radical Transformation, I looked at what Stephanie describes as the Baby Stage of early recovery. Here, I look at what Stephanie says of ‘The Toddler Stage’.

‘As a baby moves into the toddler stage, she begins to acquire a new kind of learning. She begins to pick up language, which builds the foundation for understanding and forming ideas.

Similarly, the woman born newly into abstinence begins what is called cognitive learning. She listens to others telling the stories of what they did in the past and what they do now. She begins to hear a new language, the language of recovery, and, like a toddler, begins to form her new self and her new identity around the acceptance of her addiction. She comes to know the words, “I am an alcoholic” or “I am an addict” and build her new, strong sense of self on this foundation…’

‘Heart Learning
As a woman feels the attachment to sober people, imitates their behavior, identifies through their modeling, and understand through their stories, she begins to grow up again, this time for real. Here begins the paradox of how she finds herself through others. And here begins the learning about the self, the reclaiming and development of the person she is. As her addiction no longer smothers her real feelings, she can begin to recognize the emotions of her real self.

It is only through allowing yourself to feel your authentic feelings that you will begin to know who you really are.’ [My bold]