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  • Sue’s Story: A Dose of Humility Brought Plenty Freedom

    By Sue F, Renascent Alumni

    HUMILITY (noun); TO BE FREE from pride and arrogance (Meaning taken from Webster’s dictionary)

    a. Pride (noun); self satisfaction in one’s achievements 2. Self esteem

    b. Arrogance (noun); an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assessments 

    When I volunteered to write about humility, I needed to look up and break down the meaning of the word. It is so often misunderstood. And humility or more so “humiliation,” often draw a terribly negative response. But when I really looked at the definition, the phrase “free from”, stood remarkably out to me. And pride… well… let’s give that word a little bit of a break shall we? And I’ll get back to that in a minute. Arrogance… well, it speaks for itself.

    My story isn’t special-certainly no more than any of yours. I was a wonderfully happy and energetic child. At an early age I experienced some traumatic events and developed some pretty bad maladaptive coping skills. What else do you do when you cannot cope or process events and help just wasn’t there.

    Nevertheless it was the “perfect storm,” and in my early teens quickly learned that drugs and alcohol could take all of that away, and it did.

    It was great, I was open and happy again (as I was as a younger child). I wasn’t shy or inhibited and definitely not scared! Always the life of the party, even when I wasn’t drinking-because the relief of the next drink was always there. I was carefree, I didn’t care nor worry about money, family, friends, or even myself. I was just running around enjoying every moment at any cost and doing “whatever I wanted”. And of course more trauma ensued with such a lifestyle.

    For almost 30 plus years I ran wild and looking back, absolutely insane. It is truly a miracle that I’m still alive.

    Until my carefree life with alcohol and drugs shifted from fun and carefree, to a maintenance issue-lifestyle. My physical dependence and mental obsession with drugs and alcohol overwhelmed my everyday. Oh yes, I still had a job, but that was yet another rationalization for drinking. Finding money for booze, always worried about something. Always worried, always angry, always anxious and always scared! And the physical changes! The physicality of the situation became so apparent to me. Isn’t it wonderful to be sitting in the bathroom, shaking and sweating so badly, waiting through that eternity until a friend arrived with booze! Not!

    That’s also when I had really learned how to shine or so I thought, with what I believed was my wonderful gift as a liar, manipulator and thief. Funny what we do when we begin to need what we want.

    When I was finally brought down to my knees, and alcohol really did become “the rapacious creditor” (Dr. Bob and Bill W. really nailed that description), not only was I humbled, I was freed.

    Freed from my self pity, my bloated ego, and my fears. Well, not completely-progress not perfection right! And with the wonderful support from a multitude of people, and organizations, I managed to get sober. I now have the ability to think rationally, to make good decisions for myself, live life properly and oh yeah…think of others…one day at a time. Pretty interesting when you discover the world doesn’t revolve around you-it never did, and it certainly never will. Would I have ever written something like this before? Nope. Not if it didn’t involve me getting something out of it!

    So…let’s get back to that word, “pride” as I said I would. 

    Do I have pride? Yes I do. But not in the arrogant fashion that I used to.

    Because now, I’m able  to “pop” that arrogance balloon when it swells, my mental health is in check, and my fears and shame about the past, present and future don’t consume me. I have pride, because when I was finally humbled, freed and brought down to my knees surrendering, I also become grateful.

    Grateful…

    • To not be angry and scared all the time
    • to be able to create my art again.
    • To be able to think clearly
    • To enjoy the everyday “little things” in life (like the smell of fresh cut grass)
    • To be truly happy for others
    • For my life and all the gifts I’ve been given

    I could go on and on…

    About the Authors

    Alumni
    Members of Renascent's alumni community carry the message by sharing their experiences and perspectives on addiction and recovery. To contribute your alumni perspective, please email alumni@renascent.ca.