by Leslie H. (Munro 2003)
Every decision I make is a choice between a grievance and a miracle. I let go of grievances. I choose the miracles.
~ Deepak Chopra, The Heart Sutra Meditation
The book Alcoholics Anonymous encourages us to become “properly armed with facts” about ourselves so that we can help others. These are my facts as I know them now: what I was like and what I’m like today.
I lived in a hostile world. I walked in fear, doubt, negativity, suspicion and confusion. There were lots of storms, with little sun or joy. I hid to survive, I kept quiet, tried to stay invisible, while taking on responsibility for everything as my fault. I rarely smiled. I searched for rules so I could learn them and blend in. It was like following a map to another country, with the terrain constantly shifting and changing. I had no roots, no anchors. I was extremely shy and desperate for you to read my mind. Eventually I became an angry, rebellious teen, taking no responsibility for anything and rejecting all authority. I was now a walled-up runner.
And then alcohol and other drugs found me. I still remember the “click” and heat of my first drink and the mellow blanketing of my first use of other drugs. Suddenly, all was well with the world. I was to spend the next 37 years in an altered state, continuing my full flight from reality.
My healing, this “personality change sufficient to bring about recovery,” has been both slow and gradual and turbulent and fast. I had a problem with alcohol but alcohol wasn’t my problem … it’s living happily and purposefully clean and sober that’s the tricky part. Yet it’s worth every effort, pain and tear, absolutely. The miracles of recovery are everywhere and ours for the taking. Here are just a few I’ve experienced.
With the gift of surrender, the compulsion to drink and use was lifted. I became willing to go to any length to get better. I asked someone to sponsor me. I did what I was told. I made meetings a priority. I started to study the textbook. My mind started opening. I began the lifelong practice of step work. I cried. I laughed (clean, sober laughter … there is nothing better). I began to thaw. I made service commitments. I started sponsoring others. I “fired” (in writing) my old concept of God; I chose a new one and began the most amazing relationship of my life with Him~Her, a partnership that gets stronger and better every day.
Today, I listen to the robin’s song with sober joy at the beginning of my day, instead of altered dread at the end of a heavy night of using.
Today, my children want me in their lives. Today, I have a loving relationship with my family instead of cruel fighting and dysfunction. I have made both direct and living amends.
Today, I get to choose to greet the woman in the glass with the eyes and thoughts of love. Instead of self-loathing, I increasingly have true compassion for myself and thus can extend that to others. More and more I ask what’s in it FROM me, instead of for me.
Today I am teachable instead of ornery. Today I can speak up for myself, calmly and surely. Today I understand the difference between isolation and solitude. Today I can ask for help to meet the ups and downs of life with serenity and grace. Today I can look after fixing leaks in the roof without ripping up the basement. Today I can list my good qualities, as well as my shortcomings. Today I smile and mean it.
My sponsor always says, “Sobriety rocks!” I remember wanting to believe that so badly. Today I know it’s true. Do that. Believe that. Stay a little longer. Try a little harder. We are ALL miracles, and what a miracle to meet ourselves, our true, transformed selves on the path. It is an experience you don’t want to miss. May our clean and sober dates never change.