Detoxification is about the clearing and cleaning out of things that are harmful. Sometimes the first step in recovery from addiction to a substance is a “medical detox.” Close medical supervision is given as the body experiences the effects of withdrawal from a substance that has become toxic to it. The physical clearing out must be accompanied by the psychological and spiritual clearing so that recovery and a return to health can have a chance to take hold.
The ancient season of “Lent” is ever new and pertinent as we realize the importance of spring cleaning in preparation for new growth. Like detox, the process is incomplete with just emptying out what is toxic. A new practice must also accompany the process of removing things that are no longer useful or have become harmful. For those who suffer from the anxiety of hoarding, just removing excess only makes room to acquire more to fill up empty space. Without new insight, eliminating old habits leaves a vacuum that begs to be filled.
The beginning of detox is identifying what is poison to us. Where are we stuck? What has gotten in the way of being our best and most authentic self? Where does it hurt? What has to go? The giving of ashes at the beginning of Lent is a stark reminder that we don’t have forever to get started. But we do have now.
Once we have looked at what is getting in the way, we can begin to explore new ways. Therapy can be helpful in this process of renewal. Detox of any kind is not easy, but choosing a new path leads us into spring.