My Monday meeting was a great one, despite the freezing weather! There were eleven of us in total, one newcomer to the meeting, the rest were regular attendees.
Since today is the fourth Friday of the month, the literature selection is “Chairperson‘s Choice.” I still laugh at this, as I am the sole chairperson of the meeting. This morning’s selection was an article from the AA Grapevine, which is the International Journal Of Alcoholics Anonymous. The article is entitled “Open 24 Hours,” and it chronicles the history of online AA meetings, the evolution of online participation in AA, and the similarities of virtual meetings to traditional “live” meetings.
I selected this article for two reasons. First, and this is a little sad to admit, I had no idea that AA hosted meetings online! The information I took away from the article was substantial, and so I figured I needed to check it out before I could write about it, so after my regular meeting I attended my first online meeting. I went to www.aaonline.net, and, sure enough, there was a meeting to start within minutes! I will talk about my experience with the online meeting in a bit.
The second reason I selected this article is that a lot of the positive experiences reported in it reminded me of my experience in our “blogosphere.” I have read much in our community about people who came here because they wanted to stop drinking, and desired a supportive community, but were unwilling to look for help within their live communities. The reasons are varied, from a fear of being labeled, philosophical differences of opinion with 12-step groups, or simple time management issues, there are many of us who want recovery but need the online community to be our primary resource. What I did not realize is that you can participate in the 12-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous virtually! There are a variety of meetings online, just as there are in churches and clubhouses… there are discussion meetings, Big Book meetings, step meetings, to name just a few that I saw in my preliminary research. And they seem to be run in a format very similar to live meetings: there is a chairperson, they have a meeting format, there is an order to sharing, just like in regular meetings. Best of all, you can just sit at your computer and read the interaction, if you just want the experience, but are fearful of sharing.
The online meeting was an interesting experience. As a newcomer to both online meetings and chat rooms in general, I was unsure of the proper etiquette for sharing, and unfamiliar with some of the lingo used. But within minutes I had the general hang of it, was able to participate in the discussion, and encourage others who participated. In my online meeting, there were about 15 “attendees” who stayed for the entire hour, but many more “entered” and “exited” throughout the meeting. The format was a topic meeting, there were two main points of discussion: how to handle the upcoming holidays, and how to determine if you are an alcoholic or just a problem drinker. The people who shared were very candid about their sobriety, and equally candid about their certainty in terms of their alcoholism. Some were completely uncertain, others were zealous in their belief that they had an incurable, progressive illness. Everyone was respectful of one another’s opinion (an issue about which I worried when there were such differing viewpoints), and everyone seemed grateful for everyone else’s honesty.
For me, the online experience would be something I would seek out if I were in imminent need of a meeting and could not find one live; I would probably never look to switch over to online meetings exclusively, or even regularly. I guess because I am somewhat entrenched, as it were, in my live 12-step community, I find it easier to follow the meetings when I can see and hear the people as they share, rather than waiting to read each sentence as they type it. However, for someone who is looking to get sober, but reluctant to go to a live meeting, I think the online meetings would be an amazing resource! And I think that newly sober people will find an enormous amount of like-minded individuals all reaching for the same goal.
I would love to hear feedback from anyone else who has participated in online recovery, and how it has worked (or not) for you!
Finding new resources for staying sober, and sharing them with others, is a great way to expand my recovery tool box!
In my every-70-days series (a little humor, I meant to do this once a month, but somehow time has gotten away from me), I want to write about another friend instrumental in my recovery, whose name is Vickie.
Vickie, like Joe, has been a close friend for several decades (I just felt my hair graying as I typed that sentence). Like any long-term friendship, we have seen it all… weddings, births, graduations, holidays, vacations, milestone birthdays, the list goes on and on.
Among her many amazing qualities, Vickie’s power of observation is second to none. Consequently, as I sunk deeper into active addiction, I avoided her (and many other friends, frankly), as much as propriety would allow (and, let’s face it, I’m sure I crossed the propriety line on numerous occasions).
Because I saw her so infrequently during this time, it was very simple to omit telling her about all my latest problems with addiction. I was encouraged to out myself by friends “in the know,” but my thinking at the time was less is most definitely more in terms of support (because, after all, it’s one more person to whom I would be lying).
She actually had a sense of it, and asked me point-blank towards the later end of my 8 month “I’m in recovery but I’m really not” phase, if I had been to rehab. Deny, Deny, Deny, the first defense of any good addict, but I knew the end was near. I finally sat down with her and fessed up, completely unable to even look her in the eye. She was supportive, but cautious. I can say that now, with the perspective of sobriety, back then I was just so happy to be done with the conversation I never looked back. The caution, as she told me later, was because she had zero confidence that I was ready to surrender to my addiction. As usual, she was absolutely right, and another couple of weeks went by before I hit my bottom. During that conversation, she made one simple request: keep in touch. Don’t let so much time go by between phone calls, lunches, visits.
Within 2 weeks I was living at my Mom’s, and trying to figure out what the hell to do with the mess that was my life. Vickie called, asking how it was going. I did not hesitate for half a second this time, and replied, “Let’s meet.” As luck would have it, she works near to where my Mom lives; I think I met her that day.
Out came the entire story, lock stock and barrel. At this point, I genuinely had nothing to lose. Vickie’s first response? She could instantly see the difference in me, by eye contact alone. As always, there was no judgment, only love, but that is not to say she went easy on me. She read me the riot act for deceiving her at the previous lunch, for failing to disclose information in the months prior, and for generally making the mess I’ve made. Vickie pulls absolutely no punches, but the flip side to that is the firm knowledge of knowing exactly where you stand with her. And, believe me, I needed the riot act read to me!
From that point on Vickie made time for me on a weekly basis. We usually met on a Friday after my AA meeting at a Starbucks near her work (and my home at the time). No matter what was going on in her life, she made sure to keep that appointment. On a side note, Starbucks was about as feasible to my budget at the time as travelling to the moon would be now, and I really struggled with the idea of her paying for the coffee every week, but there was no question, and no arguing… She’s paying; let’s move on to more important subjects.
And move on we did. When I think about those coffee dates, I’m not sure I would have survived early sobriety without them. She was as much a part of my recovery as my sponsor was… I ran absolutely everything by her before I did it. In some ways, her opinion meant more to me, because she knew the characters involved. When a very traumatic interpersonal incident occurred with a family member, I would do nothing until I ran it by Vickie. When I was 150% sure I was on my way to divorce court, Vickie talked me off the ledge every time.
And today? Every piece of advice given to me by Vickie has paid off. Every prediction made by Vickie has come true (reunion with my husband, mended relations with family and friends, miraculous life being fulfilled, day by day).
I had been encouraged by a few family members to keep a journal chronicling my process through early recovery. It was Vickie who taught me about this interesting new social media, called blogging (no, I am not kidding, I had heard of blogging, but had zero personal experience with it). I’ve mentioned this before, but my initial response, when she explained it to me, was, “Won’t that seem like self-indulgent nonsense?” To this Vickie replied with her characteristic bluntness, “You need to get with the times.”
As usual, Vickie was right. I proceeded to Google the words “word” and “press,” and the rest is history. Without Vickie, there would be no “miracle around the corner!”
I should have written this post two months ago, but the subject is on my mind, so it will have to fall into the category of “better late than never.”
Did you ever go to the gym and observe the different motivations present? Some, like myself, go in, head down, do what we really don’t want to do, but know we have to, and are at our happiest when the workout is done. Others seem genuinely happy to be moving their bodies, making the best use of the physical gifts given to them. Still another set, perhaps a more mature generation, are there with purpose, looking to maintain… weight, flexibility, endurance, they are seeking to hold on to what they have. And, of course, there is the group that are there to push their limits, to pursue greater and greater physical goals.
You will find this same scenario almost anywhere you go… church, work, school, even the grocery store. In each case, the players are all presumably doing the same thing (exercising, praying, working, studying, shopping), but, because the motivation is so vastly different, the experience and outcome vary widely.
And so it is in recovery. Everyone sitting in an AA meeting has the same ostensible goal, sobriety. But ask each person in that same meeting what sobriety means to them personally, and you will probably get as many answers as there are people in the room. For some, simply putting down the drink or drug is the period at the end of the sentence. Once they have stopped ingesting mind-altering substances, the game is over, and they have won.
Then there is the other end of the spectrum: for some, sobriety is taking every element of their 12-step program to the extreme. These people will frequent 12-step clubhouses, hang out there between meetings, take advantage of every service and social opportunity presented, and get involved in the deepest way possible.
Some, like myself, started out with a goal of wanting the alcoholic obsession removed, but in the course of recovery have evolved to loftier goals, things such as serenity and peace of mind.
Of course among these groups lie too many variations to count. I am not judging any of these variations as right or wrong; as far as I’m concerned, if you are content with your recovery, then I couldn’t be happier for you, however you go about it.
For me, recovery started out as a triage situation: I needed immediate and severe help.
Once I stanched the flow of blood (metaphorically, of course), I had some decisions to make. Which direction did I want to take my recovery? I could clearly see the paths in front of me, as I have witnessed all sorts of recovery variations, both in the rooms of AA, as well as in the blogging world. Do I want to go “all in” with recovery, and become the poster child for AA? Or do I feel like I’ve gotten all I needed from the 12-step program, and now it is time for me to stand on my own two feet?
My thought process, in making this decision, was simple: the heart of the AA program, or any 12-step program, are the steps themselves. When I was taught these steps, I caught on, even while learning them, that they are more than just about putting down the drink or drug. The steps are meant as a blue-print for life: follow them to the best of your ability, and you will never need to pick up a mind-altering substance again. As I put them into practice, I had clear proof that they are helping me live a better life, not just because it is a sober one, but because the overall quality is better than it ever had been before.
Since I have seen the 12 steps work for others, and I can feel the 12 steps working in my own life, my answer was simple: keep what is working in my life, and use what is working to fix what is not. So my goal is to use the 12 steps to improve all areas of my life. I have many examples where I have succeeded, and I try to chronicle them in the series I am writing on Fridays. I have much progress to make, but I am human and so it is all about the progress, rather than the perfection.
So, short story long, I firmly believe that everyone can benefit from the application of the 12 steps to their lives. Whether you are an alcoholic or not, there is much in this life over which we are powerless, there is much that causes discontent, and so there is much work to be done to restore all of us to sanity. It is certainly not a magic potion, nor is it a one-time cure, like a vaccine. Rather, it is like learning a trade: once you know what to do, you just need to do it. Like exercising a muscle, the more you do, the stronger it gets.
Alright, enough analogies already!
I know it will soon get old, but I am loving stepping outside into ninety degree weather… summer is here in Pennsylvania!
When I was in College, it seemed that no matter where my friends and I were driving, which direction we were heading, nor which road we traveled, we would invariably pass a sign for a small nearby town called Limeport, which “led” us to to the expression I used in the title above. This is a small and not-really-that-funny joke that we proceeded to beat to death for years.
I found myself thinking of that expression after my Monday meeting this morning. The topic was Step 5, and since I am writing about the steps each Friday, I will skip the main discussion we had. Instead, we had some extra time, and a gentleman shared that he had a thought about drinking. He had a disappointing day, which turned into resentment, and both were feelings over which he used to drink. The good news is he did not drink, and the better news is that he is sharing about it in a meeting.
Before I left for my meeting I had the opportunity to read the weekly post of one of my favorite bloggers in the world, Sober Identity. In her blog she spoke eloquently of a current situation with which she is dealing, and how parallel this situation runs to the time she began recovery. Even though she has been sober for many years now, she can closely identify current life issues to her recovery from alcoholism.
My life has been really and truly blessed, and while I am very grateful, I can take it for granted, which I believe I had been doing for a while now. Last week, I had an issue come up in my life… nothing that made me want to drink; rather, the issue brought my past mistakes back front and center for a few days. At the time, I felt like I swallowed a boulder, I could not sleep, and was upset enough that I could not even open up and talk to my husband about it. This tumultuous period lasted only about two days, but when life has been as good as it has been, two days seems like an eternity. I finally picked myself up by my bootstraps, did what needed to be done, and slowly but surely life is getting back to normal. I believe, very deeply, that this too shall pass, and I have enough sobriety to know that there is no way around things, you just have to go through them. I am almost there, and the light at the end of the tunnel is glimmering even now.
My point in what may seem like a pointless post: when you are an alcoholic/addict, all things lead back to it. Seemingly unrelated life circumstances, good feelings or bad, actions and reactions… when you are in recovery, everything intersects. If we keep this thought at the forefront of our minds, and use the tools we’ve been given, we can get through anything!
In solidarity with my wonderful friend over at Sober Identity, if she can detox from sugar for the next 28 days, then I will detox from my (current) biggest vice: salt!
This step, the AA equivalent of the Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation, is important because it is not enough to acknowledge missteps to yourself, it is essential to vocalize them aloud to another human being.
I think I may be an anomaly, but I could not wait for this step. Once I got through the inventory, I needed to run it by someone to make sure I had done it right (and yes, I do recognize that validation is a critical issue for me). I didn’t love admitting all my most shameful secrets to another, but having established a relationship with my sponsor, knowing that I could trust her implicitly, and, most important, knowing that she had been where I had been, made the process a lot less stressful.
What I learned from this step, recovery-wise, is that I am not alone. I am not the Worst Person on the Face of the Earth. And although I can’t explain it, there is something to the whole idea of unloading the burden of your secrets… it really did make me feel lighter mentally.
It was at this point in my step work that I became fully convinced of the power of this program. Towards the end of the 3 1/2 hour session with my sponsor, she said to me, “I feel like God keeps putting something in my head.” It would be too complicated to write out the play-by-play, but, long story short, she was able to show me patterns of my addictive behavior that I truly had never seen, I’m still flummoxed by how she put it together. But she was absolutely correct, and that she could point it out to me, simply by my speaking aloud my 4th step inventory, convinced me that the steps work.
Step 5 is a work in progress in everyday life. Having learned that holding it in makes the problem worse, I work very hard to unburden myself at every opportunity. Whether it is admitting my feelings to my husband, confiding in my sponsor, sharing at a meeting, I make sure to verbalize whenever I feel bad about something. And the magic continues… usually, by the time I am finished telling whatever it is that’s on my mind, I really do feel better! I’m actually reading a book right now, The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer, and in it the main character talks about an experiment she did in her psychology class:
…these students she’d never known before, but had perhaps seen on campus, had freely told her about their breakups with their beloved high school boyfriends or girlfriends or the deaths of their mothers or even, once, the diving-accident death of a little brother. But the words they spoke were immaterial; they didn’t know that the only aspect she was studying for the experiment was body language. Jules watched their hands and their head movements, taking notes… They were relieved telling her about their pain, even though it didn’t actually matter how well she listened.
I guess the expression “getting it off your chest” exists for a reason. Only by articulating problems can we really and truly release them. For me, that is the true reward of step 5… voicing your fears, your worries, your resentments, your pain, so that you can let them go. In the past, I had the completely opposite mindset. My thought process was: “this is my shit, why should I burden someone else, that would just make two of us burdened with it?” I have since learned this is absolutely not the case. When I carry the burden of negative thought, and I keep it to myself, it stays with me. I can bury it, or gloss over it, pretend it doesn’t exist… but it is still with me. And it will rear its ugly head over and over again, unless I do something about it. The action I need to take is so simple, so basic, it almost seems too good to be true: I need to talk about it. By exposing it to the light of day, I take away its power.
My regular Friday meeting’s topic was Step 5; my husband read an insightful work-related article about honesty being the best policy, and the section of the book I read right before sitting down to write this post talks about the value of unburdening yourself… that’s a miracle!
The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them. – Ernest Hemingway
Normally I would write about the lessons that come from my Monday morning meeting. While the meeting was as awesome as always, the topic of today’s meeting was Step 4, and since I am committed to writing about the steps each week for the next 12 weeks, I will save this topic for a future post.
Instead, I want to write about an experience I had yesterday. I mentioned numerous times in the past how instrumental my sponsor has been in helping my recovery. She spent many hours with me, one-on-one, taking me through the steps in the most in-depth way, more so than most people I encounter in the Fellowship of AA. She is always available when I need her for ongoing support. Most recently, she is a tremendous source of guidance as I stumble my way through the early stages of sponsoring other women. In short, she is a gift from God.
The one challenge my sponsor and I encounter is our geographical distance, because we live about 45 minutes from each other. Because of this distance, Anne and I do not run into each other in meetings, and our sober support networks are very different. There is some overlap, but not much. There happens to be one woman who attends the same Friday morning meeting I attend, and we are both lucky enough to be Anne’s sponsees. This woman mentioned to me, in passing, that she was planning a surprise luncheon to celebrate Anne’s AA anniversary, and that I was welcome to attend. I got the date, time and venue from her, and told her I would be there, but that is all I really knew about the celebration.
I arrived, yesterday, at the restaurant, thinking that it would be myself, Anne, and maybe one or two others that I probably wouldn’t know. What actually happened was this: we had our own room within the restaurant, and we needed our own room because there were 22 women all coming to celebrate the anniversary of the woman who had helped each of us get our lives back from the disease of addiction. 22 women!
I wish I had a picture of Anne’s face as she turned the corner into the room of women waiting for her. You know that play of emotions… first confusion, then shock, and then the tears start flowing? It was all there… she truly had no idea she was coming to a celebration just for her.
For me, the experience was just overwhelming… to see that much love, and that much joy, in one room, was awe-inspiring. These are 22 women who would not know each other in “normal” life… in fact, I thought I was the only “odd man out,” since I had come the furthest distance, but as it turned out, many of the women did not know one another. We had two things in common: we are all alcoholics, and we owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the woman we were honoring that day.
I know, for myself, that I have thanked Anne numerous times, and felt I could never repay her all the time and attention she lavished upon me. Every time I attempted to verbalize these thoughts, she always told me that she was getting so much more out of the experience than I knew, and that someday I would understand how much she enjoyed teaching me the 12-step program. Spending time with all the women Anne has helped through the years, and seeing all the lives she has touched, I know one thing for sure: I am so blessed to have met this very special woman!
I wrote last week that I had a goal of getting to as many different meetings as I could in an attempt to market my own Monday meeting. Today’s miracle is that, as a result of my “marketing campaign,” I had 3 new attendees at today’s meeting!
First, let me say that I am so happy to be back writing about the present day, instead of mucking around in the past! Yesterday was my one year anniversary of sobriety, and it was a fantastic day from beginning to end. Got to write in my blog, received beautiful commendations in return, spent time with my family, and my Mom asked to go with me to my meeting to receive my 1 year coin. It doesn’t get any better than that!
I have written quite a bit in the past year about my connection with “coincidences,” “synchronicity,” or, if you prefer, God Moments. Since this journey began, I have opened my eyes to all the different ways He speaks to me on any given day, and that awareness has brought amazing gifts into my life. Just this past weekend, several have happened that I would like to share:
1. About a year and a half ago, when I was still trying to get recovery (and failing miserably), I ran into a family member at one of the meetings I attend. I was at a very low point (I believe I was entering rehab the very next day), and the shame I felt was immense. She was a wonderful support through that time, and in early recovery. As my life improved, and I started branching out at different meetings, we drifted apart. As my anniversary date grew close, I kept meaning to reach out to her, but never managed to do so. Thursday of last week she called, out of the blue… she is chairing a meeting, and needed a speaker, would I be willing to do it? The date she needed was the one year anniversary of my last “drink.” I told her (of course) that I would be honored, and let her know of my timeline, and she was floored… that was Friday.
2. I had a sponsor from about 6 months before I hit my bottom, until about 6 months into sobriety (another amazing God Moment story for another time). She was an absolute anchor for me through the stormiest part of my life to date, and she will always be special to me. At around 6 months, our relationship drifted a bit, her job became more complex, and she had less time to give to her Program, and consequently our relationship changed from sponsor/sponsee to a more casual friendship in the Fellowship. On Sunday, out of the blue, I received a phone message from her. She was attending a meeting we used to attend together, and she wanted to know if I could meet her there and then we could grab a bite to eat. She said I had just popped into her head, and she wanted to see how I was. When I called back and told her what the date was, she couldn’t speak for a few minutes, she was so overcome. She honestly had not remembered it was just a year ago that we were dealing with my mess of a life, and she couldn’t believe she decided to call me on that day. She showed up for my meeting this morning, we had breakfast together, and we marvelled at the amazing God Moments all around us.
3. Last night I was preparing for my meeting this morning, and I was using a book I don’t read very often (an AA book, Came to Believe). I opened up to a random page, which turned out to be chapter 7, entitled “Is it Coincidence?” I knew at that moment what I needed to share the next day.
4. At the meeting this morning a woman showed up that I have not seen in weeks. She was a regular attendee when my meeting first started, then she disappeared for a while. She is back and dealing with upcoming legal problems (3rd DUI, which typically brings mandatory jail time), and she is filled with anxiety. She has about a month sober, and hopes to have more, but is terrified that if she has to go to jail she will lose momentum and relapse. I was able to share the story of my legal issues, the certainty I had of one outcome in the beginning, the miracles that took place along the way, and the unbelievable outcome that I got to experience, against all odds. She told me that my story inspired her to let go of her anxiety, at least for today, to simply enjoy the present, and to let the future take care of itself. My meeting typically has anywhere from 6-12 attendees, but due to inclement weather, there were only 4 of us, which gave me the opportunity to share more of my personal story than I normally would, which gave this woman the comfort she needed to let go of her worries.
The point of that last story is that coincidences, or God Moments, work both ways, and I never know how my words or actions might serve as a God Moment for another.
It snowed today and my children’s school district did not give them a 2-hour delay, or even call them out of school early. It’s as much a miracle as my recovery…
I can already hear my husband challenging the title of this post, he would argue that my next post should be labeled the final chapter, but for me, this is the finale, God willing, in terms of bottoming out.
Okay, quick summary of the past three days… for 8-9 months, I had been attempting recovery, with absolutely zero success (if you are just joining this story, read back a few posts to Chapter 1). And each turning point during that time took me lower and lower, and feeling more and more hopeless. Where we last left off, I had been struggling with marital problems, frustration and/or outright anger from family and friends, multiple failed rehab treatments, failed attempts with AA, stepwork, sponsors, and on top of it all, the question mark of legal consequences.
And still I continued my addiction.
My final day was actually this day (Friday), but the date was January 26, 2012. The day started like any other. I attempted to pray, but deep down knew that I would get up, and go right back to what I knew… addictive behavior. I could retrace every step of that day, but I’m not sure it would serve much purpose. I will, however, recount what has become for me the critical moment. I had a thought so clear that I actually said it out loud, to myself, in the car: “There was not one part of this day that was fun.”
Anyone reading who is an addict knows that after a time, your drug of choice becomes totally ineffective, and what you are in fact doing is chasing the high that hasn’t really happened for a long time. By this point in my addiction, I really had no pleasant physical reaction at all, so of course the question becomes, then why do it? That question is already answered in the minds of every addict reading this, and will never be answered to the satisfaction of every non-addict. The ultimate answer: I do it because I am an addict.
Back to the story: so at the time I did not know I was uttering profound words, but in fact I was, because that was my last day of using a mind-altering substance. The day continued, and I actually had plans that evening to go out with some friends. During the car ride to the restaurant I spoke with my husband, and got a sense that something was amiss, but had no idea what it could be. I got home later that evening, and waiting for me was a card and a dozen roses… it was the anniversary of our first date. He remembered, I did not. And while there were these beautiful things waiting for me, my husband’s mood was not one of them. I tried to pry it out of him, but he would not budge…. nothing was wrong, he said.
Went to bed, next day, the icy silence continued. I tried multiple times to figure out the problem, but to no avail. This is technically day 1 of sobriety, but the ramifications of my behavior are still to come.
My final bottom was more or less like an airplane hitting a runway as it is attempting to come to a stop… a series of bumps, and then… silence.
Bump: Sunday morning, I wake up, my husband is already out of bed. He comes into the room, I ask, for perhaps the 1,000th time that weekend, can you please tell me what’s wrong. He sits down on the bed, and lays it out very simply: he cannot do this anymore, I need to leave the house, immediately. He will drive me to my Mom‘s, but that is it. If I don’t go, he will make a scene in front of the kids, and cause irreparable damage to my relationship with them. He takes my phone, my keys, almost everything out of my wallet, and drives me away from my home.
Bump: I am dropped off, like a bag of garbage, at my Mom’s house. Both siblings that live there and my Mother cannot even look at me, they are so angry, hurt, and disappointed.
Bump: The next day, I have an already scheduled lawyer’s visit, at which point I am told that there seems to be no other alternative but jail time for my legal consequences.
Bump: The next day, I must report to a police station to make all the charges official. My picture is taken, I am finger printed, just like you see on TV.
And then… silence. And there I sat, my life in ruins, with very little idea of how I ever got to this place.
I’d like to add, at this point, that writing these posts for the past three days has been so much more difficult than I ever could have imagined. Which is good, because I never would have done it if I had known how difficult it would be. Mainly, I have discovered in the past few days that I am, at heart, an optimistic, hopeful person, and writing about such dire things really goes against my grain. But if my story has touched even one person, and helped them in some way, then it is more than worth it.
I will conclude with what has become the beginning of my road to recovery. The first night that I stayed at my Mom’s, I could not sleep to save my life. As light was not even breaking on that next day, I got out of bed, dropped to my knees, and I prayed like I have never prayed before. I believe, and often share, that acceptance of my disease came at that moment, and I got the answer that carried me through the next year of my life. I need to do 4 things that day, and every day thereafter: pray, go to a meeting, talk to another addict, and those three will keep me from the fourth, which is not pick up a drink or drug. And I allowed myself the luxury of having only those 4 things on my “to-do” list for each and every day: as long as I do those things, I have had a wildly successful day.
And that is where the next story begins…
If you are a Catholic, you will appreciate this one. I thought that the past 3 days were much like Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday… full of sadness, but also of hope for Easter Sunday. And then I laughed out loud at the audacity of comparing myself to Jesus Christ!