So. It’s been a while since I have written anything or collected anything from other women to contribute. As my last post in August reflected, I relapsed after two continuous years of sobriety, which is the biggest reason I have been staying away from the blog.
I feel totally different this time around than when I did first coming in. I feel beaten down, like I don’t deserve recovery and I don’t really want to make the effort to recover. I don’t want to drink or more to the point–I don’t want to be stupid, selfish, violent, sick, and suicidal–which is who I become when I drink. I also want to have the gifts of recovery that I know are out there and that I had a taste of before. The healthy, wonderful relationships, the ability to suit up and show up for a job I love, the blessing of being in graduate school and fulfilling my career dreams, and more importantly–an inner peace and connectedness to God, others, and the world. I want all this and everything else I know that is out there waiting for me if I stay sober. But I just feel like I lost my excitement. I haven’t lost my willingness necessarily, but I’ve lost that spark that I had before.
And here’s the truth people–recovery isn’t always glamorous. I guess what I am realizing is sometimes you have to get knocked down before you can really be raised up. I recently had a conversation with a preacher friend who told me that he believes that sometimes God challenges us, or puts hardships in our lives, because we get too prideful and think we don’t need Him anymore. I don’t know if that’s true but I can definitely relate to that idea. I had a lot of things in my program before–honesty, love, pride, compassion, determination, confidence, willingness, eagerness, and so much more but I was missing what I now see is maybe the most essential thing to recovery.
Maybe in some ways I was humble in my recovery before. I surrendered myself, I gave of myself to others, I was honest and forthcoming. But I don’t think I was completely humbled. I think when I came in, though I was sick and tired of being sick and tired, I had had it pretty easy. I was done with the bullshit I was creating but I think in some ways I think I was looking for glory and attention in my recovery program rather than being totally willing to sacrifice my uniqueness and be a worker among workers, as low and as high as everyone else sitting in the chairs around me. Lovely but not special. Just like you. I still wanted to be unique. “A snowflake distinct among snowflakes,” rather than “a functioning cog in some great machine.” (Thanks, Fleet Foxes.) My story had OOMPH. I did some shit, man. Some bad things happened to me, man. You would not believe it. I am sharing in every meeting because I really have it hard. OR I’m the chair of a meeting! I’m making a recovery blog! I’m gonna talk to every newcomer and share at every meeting not because I am following our twelfth step and being of service but because I can help people. I have invaluable things to share that if they don’t hear they will be MISSING OUT. I am an asset and this group would not function without me.
Best yet–I am going to be sober for the rest of my life. In 50 years I will be speaking at the National Convention and everyone will say, “Wow, she’s incredible! I want my program to look like hers!” I got this locked in no matter what.
It’s not like those things were constantly running through my brain. I did honestly do a lot of the things in the program out of love and service and because I genuinely sought the gifts of the program. But I don’t think I ever completely humbled myself. I think I still thought I was “terminally unique” and somehow I was different, however that may be. I think one aspect of true humility is looking around you and honestly saying, I am no less or more than everyone here. We are all beautiful and equal in the eyes of God.
So the flipside of humility, of being truly humble before others and God, is humiliation. Feeling stripped of that ego and pride and feeling beaten down. Humiliation is not the same as humility but maybe sometimes we have to feel humiliated to realize how prideful and self-seeking we were being before. And basking in that humiliation, sitting on a pity-pot is a cousin of pride. “Woe is me” is just as bad as “I’m the best!” So maybe it’s time for me to own my lot in life and just move forward. Acceptance, I’ve heard, is the answer.
I relapsed. It sucks. It’s hard to get back in the middle of things and there’s nothing wrong acknowledging that. But the longer I let my disease which is speaking through shame, guilt, and my PRIDE talk me out of doing the things I know are right for me–prayer, fellowship, service, step work, 90 in 90, etc–the further down I will get dragged.
Maybe some of this blog was prideful. I think posting my name or other people’s names might be. I think writing about horrendous things in detail because I know other people are reading it might be. I think glorifying how much time I have or someone else has might be. But I think writing my own experience, strength, and hope (when I have strength and hope) and sharing other women’s experience, strength, and hope with the goal of possibly touching other people in recovery is a kind of service. Hopefully I can be humble enough to truly serve and be served by others.
God, I offer myself to Thee. To build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy power, Thy love, and Thy way of life. May I do Thy will always.