Sunday, January 06, 2008

What "wall"?

It's so neat to be back home. I keep running into people at meetings who were around when I got clean or came long enough ago that I know them from my various times living here in the past. Last night after a good speaker meeting several of us went out to eat. Our group chose Italian and went to this great restaurant where the calzones are so big they look like some sea creature washed ashore.

I saw an old friend who came in the rooms about the same time as me and has had several periods of lengthy clean time. I asked her how she was doing and she responded, "Not well." She'd relapsed again. Over dinner, we discussed what happened this time. "You know," she said, "I got two-and-a-half years clean this time and I just 'hit that wall.'"

No, I guess I don't know. I've hit a lot of walls in recovery. However, at none of these walls did I choose to pick up a drink or a drug: I chose to go over the wall to meetings and, sometimes, make a complete ass of myself by blathering on about how screwed up my life was. I chose to call my sponsor and work a Step. I chose, instead of using, to stay in bed all day with the covers pulled over my head (that works for awhile). I chose to work with a newcomer when my ass was falling off. I chose talk to others to help me stop feeling terminally unique and to get in the middle of the pack. In short, I chose recovery.

In early clean time, I wasted a lot of time speculating. "What if my dad died, could I stay clean then?" He did and I did. "What if my engagement was broken off in a most humiliating way?" It was, and I did. "What if my Mom died? Surely that would be the ultimate excuse to use." She did and I stayed clean. "What if I lost my dog?" Dallas dog died. I wept, I wailed, but I did not use. "What if I got very ill and faced death?" I did, and I stayed clean. "What if I got fired?" I was, and I didn't have to use. In fact, I started my own business just the spite the dumb shits.

This doesn't make me better than anyone else; perhaps it only makes me more stubborn. However, I haven't had to pick up for many years and I can't even think what would cause me to use. Staying clean is a daily, sometimes more frequent, decision, plain and simple.

This particular gal's job for many years has been in the health care field, which puts her in touch with narcotics. On the one hand, she makes a lot of money. Her house is paid off, she proudly showed me her new car in the parking lot after the meeting, she runs her own business; from all outward signs, she is doing well. But I remember the type addict she was, a street hustler, and I remember her dragging back into meetings weighing 100 pounds and looking like death. Maybe she needs to remember that, too. Perhaps a career change is in order? Personally, I'd rather be alive and a whole lot broker and clean than driving a new convertible.

I'm preaching to the choir, I'm sure, but this is a simple, not easy, Program that tells us simply this: We don't use if our butt falls off. Mine has been severely dragging many times in my recovery, but by the Grace of a Higher Power and the tools of the Program, I haven't had to use in a long, long while.

Stick around for the miracle, won't you?


Shadow said...

heee heee heee. stubborn. i like that...

anna said...

I'm sorry for your old friend. For me, staying clean is sometimes a minute by minute deal. I don't take one second of it for granted and with just 9 months in the program, I'm not willing to let anything get in it's way.

Syd said...

I think that you are a miracle. The program works for you and you work the program.


I will.
Nice, nice post.

Pam said...

great post.
I have occasionally used the covers over the head in bed sobriety, and I find it does work for a day...I say "whatever works".

penni said...

wonderful thoughts.

(glad i found you)

Vetver said...

I don't know if it's stubborness, strength, pride or a huge amount of God's Grace, but I too have been lucky enough to always go to a meeting or reach out and stay sober. I am so grateful for that.

hehe I could so relate to the " make a complete ass of myself by blathering on about how screwed up my life was." And boy I did too, hehehe...

I enjoy your blog!