I was, for so long, convinced that the circumstances of my life were a consequence of the hand I had been unfortunately dealt in life. I drank and drowned in my misery, expecting the clouds to part and for my life to change. I continued making terrible decisions, changing nothing about my own actions or perspective, and expected different results. What I recognize now is that this wasn’t a result of stupidity – it was a survival mechanism. The things that hurt me most, my defects of character, were my best attempts at getting my needs met – I was trying to survive. Whether I was entirely selfish, overwhelmed with self pity, growling in anger and resentment or paralyzed by fear – I was trying to control the pain and insecurity that accompanied every waking moment of my life. For me, that meant I had to escape and escape I did – as often as possible, every day at the end of my drinking. For the last few years of my drinking I was constantly under the influence, even when I wasn’t drunk. If there wasn’t alcohol in my body, it never left my mind – I was obsessed, blindly, with the next drink, the next drunk. And that felt hopeless. Terribly, absolutely, profoundly hopeless.
I am grateful, today, for the intellectual knowledge, spiritual awakening and emotional clarity that sobriety has brought into my life. I know that, for a fact, there is no way this would be available to me should I have continued to follow my own will. My higher power has granted me these gifts with love, without judgement and with forgiveness. I know now that I am able to do the footwork, I have to put in the time and energy – but it is my Higher Power who changes me and allows me to remain sober for the 24 hours ahead of me, letting all of my gifts shine through. The defects that kept me drunk, insane and alone are still a part of me – they are not gone completely and I don’t know that they ever will be. But daily, as I ask for help, I am relieved of the burden of making the wrong choices or not knowing what to do – daily, I am reminded that life is great, I am a good person and there is a joy and freedom available for the taking. The presence and awareness of my defects assures me of one absolute: there is a God, and it isn’t me!
I am grateful today, for the pain that ravaged my life and left me hopeless. I am grateful that my Higher Power led me down a road that began a new, hope filled life for me and the people I love. I am a grateful alcoholic, who would not have had a shot at this magical, crazy, unpredictable life if she had not been shown her own faults and been willing to come to peace with them – without resentment, fear or judgement. We are all human and fallible – that is one of our most universally fantastic, confusing qualities. I am only able to recognize the value in my pain from the other side, where life seems more full and possible and I hope, in some small way, that if you are questioning your own sobriety or having any kind of struggle today, that you can recall the small ray of warm sun that creeps in when we follow the path we know we are destined for. Life is beautiful and full of potential (good and bad) and we are capable of dealing with both ends of the spectrum in a fully human way.
“The hole in me, the neediness, the hunger, the ache in my life that I tried to fill or stay distracted from by drinking is actually the perfectly logical result of not knowing, and therefore not accepting myself as I am.” –Drop the Rock
The point of recovery for me today is finding joy and balance in a life that does not operate, in any way, on my terms. This doesn’t scare me, it frees me. I am profoundly grateful for the ability to recognize this, today.