Sunday, March 01, 2015

Getting Up and Dressing Up in Recovery

Writer and poet, Mary Karr, who wrote “The Liar’s Club”—her memoir of growing up in a crazy family, and also “Lit” --my favorite chronology of getting sober—gave me one of my favorite lines about getting dressed. Karr credits her father with this comment as he observed her clothing choices:

“Mary, there’s a fine line between an outfit and a get-up.”

Isn’t that a perfect distinction?

Today I chose to wear a get-up: My pink, vintage Peck & Peck wool coat. (It has little fringes on the four perfectly placed Chanel style pockets). I added a polka dot wool scarf that is color-blocked in pink, green, yellow and red, and I added a rose-colored baseball cap, and my “Obama-Green” gloves, so named because they are the exact gloves that Michelle Obama wore at the first Presidential Inauguration (and which I had been wearing years before her stylist found them at J. Crew. No one wanted that weird green before she wore them with her yellow coat on that freezing day.)

I felt festive and happy—and smiling-- in this colorful get-up as I ran my errands. 

It is long recovery that lets me have this kind of happy, get-up day. There is so much freedom to both care and not care what I look like. And to know that tomorrow I can make another choice and feel peaceful in head-to-toe taupe, or a navy suit and pearls. Dress as me? I am all of them. 

We are told in recovery not to compare our insides to someone else’s outsides, but we also have to learn to align our insides and our own outsides, that is to allow ourselves to enjoy both “get-ups” and outfits as we dress for our wonderful, recovered lives.

There is a chapter on clothing and recovery in, "Out of the Woods--A Guide to Long-term Recovery" published by Central Recovery Press.

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