by Paul S. (Punani, 2011)
Surrender. Have faith. Let go. These were some of the things I was told to do when I first got into recovery. What do you mean “let go?” Surrender what? Faith? Are you kidding me? These were foreign concepts to someone who fuelled his life on pure self-will and chutzpah. I just wanted to stop drinking, not become a Franciscan monk or Buddhist guru. Little did I know that in those tender first days, I was already doing those things — in small measures. Asking for help after hitting bottom was surrender. Continuing to move forward in my recovery without knowing the outcome was faith. Admitting that I didn’t have the answers and relying on others was letting go of ego. Once I had some time in recovery, I thought that was it for the letting go/surrender/faith game. The obsession to drink had lifted, so I no longer needed to worry about those things, right?
There have been many fantastic things that have happened in my sobriety — things I couldn’t have imagined in my wildest dreams. All of them have occurred when I have been in a state of openness and faith. Instead of trying to fit a round peg into a square hole and screaming bloody murder when they don’t connect, I lay everything down and let the universe play cosmic Tetris for me. I detach from the outcome. I let things slide in and out as needed. I allow my HP to do the heavy lifting while I just whistle quietly to myself, chopping wood and fetching water.
Following my heart has been a life changer for me. When I follow that voice inside of me, when I chase after true bliss rather than what ego would like me to have (“More prestige! More attention! More more more!”), magic seems to happen. The one common thread in all the abundance in my sober life so far has been faith.
Faith is a lot like going down one of those unlit tunnel water slides — I’m unable to see where the twists and turns are, and I don’t know when I’ll be arching up or spiralling down — but I do know that that there is a destination, a light at the end. I know I will land softly. I just need to hold on and submit to the forces of water and gravity. And enjoy the ride.
Faith in action looks a lot like this for me: I first listen. What am I being pulled towards? What is my heart tugging at? Then I act. I pray, meditate, write, share with others, ask questions, research, put aside negative thoughts, I take steps towards what I see as my blissful path. Then I release the outcome to my HP. So while I am following my heart, I am also taking action. Faith without work is dead, as it’s often said. I need to follow through and while faith can move mountains, I need to bring a shovel.
Recently, I have had the idea of writing a book speak to me. This has been stuck in my head for some time but never put it out to the universe. Fears held me back. Who am I to write a book? But I relented to that voice and one day I jotted down my goal, then talked about it with others. Suddenly someone connected me to a publisher. Then all of a sudden people who had already published books started to “magically” appear out of nowhere. I asked lots of questions. Then, around that time, my back gave out. Badly. I had to take short-term disability. So now I had the time on my hands to work on the book.
I also put out my intention to change careers, and then soon enough a job — something markedly different than what I do now — popped up. And I wasn’t even job hunting. On and on it goes — the moment I put my intentions out there, putting out what my heart is yearning for, the universe conspires to make it be, as long as stay on the right path. How do I know the path is correct? It’s because it fills me with joy. I feel that I am doing what I was meant to do. I feel at peace with it. I don’t feel conflicted or betrayed. I put in faith that things will work out, and I don’t try to control the results. And if something doesn’t go “my” way, or the way I envision it, then perhaps it wasn’t meant to be. I move on and try opening another door.
Letting go and surrendering is more than just about stopping drinking and using. It’s about living life in a whole new way, of approaching things with brighter eyes and lighter heart. It’s about taking that leap of faith and knowing that I will land precisely where I was meant to land. It’s about change in the right direction and fulfilling that second life we all have been given from the death sentence of addiction.