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Man in the Mirror
Sept 15th 2018 6:02pm
New Haven, Anonymous
"The first thing apparent was that this world and its people were often quite wrong. To conclude that others were wrong was far as most of us ever got."
Pg 66 in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
"If you've only been through what I've been through. If you've only seen what i've seen. If you walk in my shoes for a day." All these and plenty more are accurate statements that I've told others and myself. Consistently in my drinking and even in my sobriety these prhases were thrown out quite a few times. I remember sitting in Detox, wallowing in self pity, filled to the brim in guilt and shame. I had nothing, but the clothes on my back, a hospital given hygeine bag, and a bag locked up in the hospital safe with my empty wallet. I could have been able to live with this, but the rest, the rest made me suicidal. I'm talking about the "real bottom." The spiritual bottom. That feeling of loneliness, uselessness, despair. The inability to control my emotional nature. The fact that I had committee meetings going on in my head that wouldn't let me get a qord in edge wise. The FEAR about what I was to do from there, how I was going to make a living, how was I to climb out of this hole of misery and depression? But how?
I began to roll the tapes. I needed to find out who's fault this was. I knew that I had put myself in that situation somewhat, but I still had a lot of blaming to do. If my mother only blah blah blah. If my father wasn't a junkie. If I wasn't left to be molested at that neighbor's house for years, if we weren't poor. I even had it in with god after I found the body of a murdered woman in my childhood apartment's cut thru. I developed this one belief that God was a balance keeper, and that in order for some to live, some had to die, in order for some to succeed, some had to fail...and I was one of those one's that had to fail. And I hated God for this. For this misfortune I came up with in my own delusion. I was supposed to slip through the cracks. And then something happened. I was introduced to AA in that detox. They were young guys, like me. They were loving their lives. They were sober, and they had bright futures that were only matched by their smiles. This totally through me for a loop as my thought of an alcoholic at the time looked for like the neighborhood panhandler (who honestly at the time probably had more than I did.)
I went to meeting the very first night I got out of detox. I raised my hand. I got a sponsor. I got a coffee commitment. I made a great bunch of friends. The world was finally starting to click. I took the actions, and I got results. Just not the right results. At the time they seemed like great results, though, as for the first time in my life I felt some value. I ended up with a great job, almost 6 figures, my dream car, a wonderful girlfriend, a closet full of clothes that would keep the entire mall stocked all year round and a sock drawer I could swim in. My mother was proud of me. My grandmother was proud of me. I was "successful" and "sober" Everyone seemed to be patting me on the back as I walked by. Here's this troubled kid that came back to be a big shot. I took the role on well, as everyone including myself loves a comeback story. I thought I had life all figured out. All I had to do was work 7 days a week, go home to my girlfriend and buy whatever I wanted. IT WAS GREAT. One would think so anyway. I looked fantastic on the outside. Years Sober. My wrap sheet looked flawless. I really showed them. Everyone who wronged me, who doubted me, or who never gave me a chance. Look at me now.
Except there was one problem, I couldn't look at me. I couldn't look in the mirror. I was full of fear, fear that I would lose what I had. Fearful that the girlfriend would leave me, the job would go and I'd be right back where God wanted me...in the cracks. My self esteem was nonexistent, I was of no use to other people, I was unhappy. It was never enough. I took it all forgranted. I became a disgusting human being...in sobriety. And then it happened. The job went. The girl went and suddenly...I'm stuck with me. You know how they say don't go into your head its a bad neighborhood? Well, mines like a warzone. Once again, everyone's fault and God wanted me down. A drink looked good, it looked damn good. My life in sobriety was completely unmanagable. I had no leg to stand on, I couldn't even rest on my laurels because those were gone too. Unable to breathe, unable to deal with another second of pain, guilt, shame and remorse, I drank.
That run brought me to suicide. I tried to kill myself. My grandmother found me on her floor dead. Luckily, I was revived. In the psych ward now, I was teetering on the line of trying to kill myself again. But I did something I haven't done since I was a kid. I prayed. I honestly prayed. I talked to God, like I would anyone else. I sought God, and god was there. With this moment of clarity, I wanted to waste no time. I called an old friend, who is now my sponsor, went into a sober house (which my pride and ego kept me out of my whole life) took time for others. I'm now currently in the middle of the steps with my sponsor, still living in the sober house, and just recently employed at a job where I'm making half the income I used to make. I don't own a car, and my sock drawer is significantly smaller. I don't have any of the things I thought made me important before. But I found clarity. All I needed to do was ernestly seek God in my heart. The big book isn't a simple direction book I found. It's not meant to read like other books. You read it like you read music. You feel it. Feel the music.
Today I'm a part of the community, I get to help others. I talk with God every day, and God talks back. I look in that mirror now and know when there's something wrong I know exactly where to point the finger...right there, at the man in the mirror. And when I'm looking for relief, I know where to look. Where I should have looked the whole time, but never did. Because God could and would if he were sought. Yes, I took the actions. This is an action program. We must take the steps to see the results. But, the whole point of this is for us to build a relationship with a power greater than ourselves, so don't be so focused on the man in the mirror that you can't hear the music.
|Posted on 12 September, 2018 at 22:45||comments (3317)|
-September 12, 2018, New Haven CT
"Works without Faith"
Every drug addict and alcoholic that has ever opened up The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous will tell you that faith without works is dead. A very true statement to propel us into doing the work in a take action program of recovery. I, myself, have always taken this warning into account in early sobriety as I was never one to "Just don't drink and go to meetings." A course of rigorous action always needed to be taken for me to expel the obsession to drink because of the one true problem I had...A bad case of sobriety. I was powerless indeed, when I started drinking I didn't know when I was going to stop, and when I stopped drinking, I had no idea when I would start again. Life with the drink became painful, but when I put it down, life itself became unbearable. So what happens when someone suffering from alcoholism puts the drink down?
I've come to learn that the word Alcoholism is over 2000 years old, and yet, throughout history the language we used to describe the drink was always ales, lagers, barleys etc. It wasn't until about 200 years ago that the word Alcohol was coined in reference to booze, because alcohol = spirits. I don't think though, that the 2000 year old definition of alcoholism had anything to do with drinking. It was used to describe a spiritual malady, a seperation from one's spirit, a loneliness, a bitter feeling in one's heart of utter hopelessness and despair. This, my friends, is the true meaning of alcoholism.
So back to the original question. What happens when I put the drink down? My life gets worse. The feelings of utter hopelessness and despair come creeping in. I can't find any usefullness to my fellows, I am lonely, suicidal, and self pitying. I can't seem to connect to any beings, not even myself. The pain gets so deep that my only two options are the drink and death, and suddenly death starts to look pretty good, as I already know the momentarily relief from picking up will only be followed by more despair. I'm licked. I'm powerless. What am I going to do? I must get a power greater than myself. And I must believe in this power with all my heart.
Coming back from a run after years of sobriety has been really challenging. I thought I knew exactly what to do. Go to meetings, get a sponsor, get a commitment, and work th steps blah blah blah blah blah. And I wasn't wrong. These steps are imperative to one's recovery. The only way that we get the results is if we put in the work, if we work these 12 spiritual principles that will undoubtedly take me to a spiritual awakening. But what about ,"GOD?" This was my dilemma. In the past, I always looked at the steps as a higher power, and turning my will and my life over to the care of god just meant following through with the rest of the steps. In my experience, this was wrong. As great my experience has been from putting in the work it left me with one hole that would lead me to relapse over and over again...that hole was hope. That hole was faith that when I was down and out, when all looked grim, when impending doom was upon me, that I had a loving and caring god that would watch over me, and that this was all in the plan.
Seeing that I was at a crossroads with this dilemma, I now knew that I didn't know what to do to maintain sobriety. I certainly knew how to calculate the language of recovery talk, and I was able to comrepehnd the Big Book and write out steps and take action on the directions that were given to me by the steps, but I still didn't know how to do step one. By me knowing what to do, I kept my mind awake and my heart asleep. I closed my heart off to letting god in to guide me in my life. I then knew, that I didn't know, and God did.
Forward to today. Life isn't that great. There's a lot of problems, and my depression still creeps in and out. But I wake up and I seek god, and my heart feels at peace. I take those actions that are so very important to my recovery, but I also take the inaction. The inaction of Faith. I do this because, yes, faith without works is dead....But in my experience, I have found that it is also the opposite...Works without faith, is also dead.