Thursday, August 15, 2013

To the Parents, Friends, Lovers, and Passersby

I am always trying to be clever with the titles to my entries.  As a writer I know how important the title can be.  Sometimes it is a writer’s only first impression.  As much as I want my titles to be catchy and engaging, I also want them to have some weight.  I sat here at my desk for a few minutes reflecting on my day like I do and I was considering my inspiration to write tonight.  I have been to a big book study the last two Thursdays.  Tonight we started on the chapter “To the Wives”.  It is this discussion tonight that got my wheels spinning.  This chapter of the AA big book is a look at what happens in an alcoholic relationship.  The sins that are committed on both ends out of love, pain, sickness, fear, from the depths of hell and addiction. These words were written in a different time, a time when most alcoholics were only men.  Several decades later, these words transcend the outdated gender roles, and hold true to those of us that have traveled this path.  Some us have been on the hurting end, some the receiving end of the brutal sword of this disease, and some of us have been both the punish er and the punished.  I have never been a wife, therefore I thought it best I title this post the way I did.  To the people I know or may not know that I have hurt.  Even if I have no conscience memory of a specific path of destruction, I am sure there are several roads I leveled along the way.
I can remember saying a thousand times, what I do does not hurt anyone but me.  Looking back now, that is so shallow and selfish.  Reading the chapter To the Wives as well as having been in a relationship with an alcoholic, I can now see clearly the pain that I caused.  As much as I would like to say that I am a point past the shame and guilt, I cannot.  When I think about what my mother and sister must have felt like when I refused to answer their calls for weeks at a time and only calling to be rescued from yet another self made catastrophe, I am ashamed.  Now that I know what it feels like wondering if I will get the call from jail or worse, I am ashamed.  It is a terrible feeling, trying to let go, knowing that death might be the next thing I hear about the alcoholic from my past.  As the tears run down my cheeks, shameful of my past, I must remember the way this feels.  I have learned in the last 640 days I have lived sober, that I cannot regret or forget my past.  The shame I feel tonight from my past actions will subside for the most part, but a bit of this feeling I must carry with me.  I am typical drug addict and alcoholic with a devious memory, a memory that only wants to remind me of the times that were good when I was out there in the streets up to no good.  I can NEVER forget that bastard I use to be, as soon as I do, I am a dead man.

I have learned over the last two years that I surely have another drink or drug in me.  What I do not have is another recovery in me.  And neither does the people that love me the most.  Staying sober is a lot easier than getting sober, and I know I won’t make it back here before what is waiting for me out there takes my life.  So instead of continuing to be a selfish prick and abuse the love I am so generously given by the wonderful people in my life, I will stay on this path of spiritual growth.  I will continue to pray for Gods will and the power to carry it out.  Even if all that is, is just staying sober and helping others, one day at a time.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Wiser This Time

I am sitting here at my parent’s kitchen table feeling tired, grateful, and nervous.  I am listening to The Black Crowes “Wiser Time” for the fourth or fifth time in the last couple of hours.  I keep thinking about the opening lines of the song: “No time left now for shame, horizon behind me, no more pain, windswept stars blink and smile, another song, another mile.” These words completely represent where my heart and mind are tonight.  November 14, 2011 I moved back from Denver, Colorado into my parent’s house and started on the long road of sobriety.  Tonight on August 3, 2013 I am on the eve of leaving this safe, sober bubble I have built for myself and am heading back out into the big scary world on my own tomorrow.  After all the anticipation of the arrival of this date, the moment is here, and a bit of reflection is a must.
This is not the first time I have been sitting where I am tonight, getting ready to move out of my parent’s house. But, tonight will be the last time I will be in this place.  The difference this time is that I have managed to make some very significant changes in my life.  For the first time since I was 16 years old I have managed to stay sober for longer than a few weeks.  Looking back over the years my times of sobriety have been few and far between.  I will be turning 39 in 21 days, so do the math.  Thankfully, my entire family has grown and we are all a little wiser.  We have broken down the barriers of co-dependency and for the first time ever we are all free.  It is not until tonight that I have recognized the changes in all of us.  This morning my mother and I had a conversation and we agreed this was the last time this will happen.  This door is finally closing, for their good and for mine.  Where ever my path leads, I am on my own.
Just like in the song, despite what has happened in the past, there is no time or space in my life for shame.  What is done is done.  I can’t go back and change anything, so I refuse to be ashamed of where I have been and the things I have done.  And with that, there is no more looking back at what could have been.  No more what ifs, not even one.  No more romancing the past with my career, relationships, my family, friends, and money, none of it.  No more pain.  I have done what was suggested to me and looked at myself with a fine tooth comb, I’ve made my amends, and now I will be on my way without another thought.  I will leave that pain with someone better equipped than I to deal with it.
With finally letting go of all that baggage and weight, which I have carried around for a very long time, I will fill that space with the wisdom that has been so generously given to me.  I will remember that I am powerless over not only drugs and alcohol, but everything in the world but my own actions.  I will continue to grow spiritually, God willing. Most of all I will continue to give back what was freely given to me.  I can never expect to keep what I have and value the most if I don’t give it away.  I am surely wiser this time, and I humbly prey I can keep this wisdom with me just one more day.

Thank you with all my heart Mom, Dad, Corrin, Craig, Addie, AA, and everyone along the way that has been supportive over the last 21 months.  You all have saved my life and I am eternally grateful.