Monday: Part 2 … My Chance to Live
They say that in life, this life, that there is no dress rehearsal. This is the BIG SHOW.
You don’t get a do over…
Unless of course, you are a drunk, who pissed away their life drinking, or a drug addict, who ruined what life they had abusing drugs …
And you come round and get CLEAN and SOBER.
The world out there, doesn’t really get a do over, those out there doing their thing, not necessarily hurting anyone, they are just going about their lives. But for those of us, in the rooms today, who had done damage to ourselves and others, one way or another, before death calls your name, you find your way to us …
The odds are stacked against us, when we come through the doors. Some come in and get it right away. Are struck with the gift of desperation, and they stick and stay. And they begin their do over right away.
Then there are those of us who need two and three and four kicks at the can to finally reach the point where we do get that gift of desperation, and we come to, and we then get OUR do over as well.
I’ve been living in “do over” territory for a long time. I not only survived a death sentence and outlived all of my friends, I’ve been sober almost as long as I drank. Here in Montreal, old timers like to say that, you have arrived when you reach the point in sobriety, where you have been sober as long as the time you spent drinking and using.
God gave me several “Do Overs,” Thought it wise to give me a chance to live. Because for a very long time, I was not living at all. I was merely existing. Existing to drink, Existing to use, Existing to party.
You’ve thought that facing my own mortality would keep me on the beam for the rest of my life. But as I wrote earlier today, people in the program want the easier softer way, they don’t necessarily want to follow the directions, do they ?
In my case, it was the messages I was getting that sent me back out.
Never tell someone who is hurting, trying to survive, to Leave a Meeting and Never come Back.
Those words could very well kill someone.
They were said to me.
Folks in meetings, want to fit in. To be accepted. To be loved. Because while we were out there punishing ourselves, trying to fit in, where we did not, and in the process of trying to fit in, found ourselves at the bottom of a bottle …
Our young writer of tonight’s story wanted so badly to fit in, and she just could not do it, until she allowed herself to be cared for, in the rooms.
What do you do, when you are a teenager, and you are one of us ? At first, you might not want to admit that you are defeated. That you could not possibly be one of us, that you have many more “good years” of drinking/using to do before you settle down and grow up.
Our young writer tonight, was a teenager when she hit the rooms.
Our young people here battle with the idea that they are addicts and alcoholics, and they come in and try sobriety on for size. Some stay, most don’t. Because they believe that life could not get any better, that there is no life, without the party and the self-destruction.
They have to reconcile, not drinking/using with age and their peer group.
When I came in, my first sponsor was a young man. Younger than I was. But at the time, he was ten years sober when we met, and we hit it off. But after a year, his ego got the best of him, and he got pissy and he stormed off never to speak to me again, ever. I saw him once after that fall out, at a meeting one night, and he ignored me like he did not know who I was … not very sober !
Los of people with serious time, are not very sober. And that’s the truth.
What young people don’t see, in the beginning is that, they get their do over early on, that they have their whole life ahead of them to live clean and sober. Most old timers look at the young people and muse … “IF only I had come in that early, what would my life have looked like ?”
But how do you tell someone that early on, without them laughing in your face ?
Like I said, the odds are stacked against us. And people don’t necessarily want to hear “suggestions or How To’s.”
We tried to find an easier softer way but we could not.
Among our folks tonight, I heard many snickers from my friends, because I tell the truth. A friend who is mourning a loss, who at times, is rude, heard me share in the circle before he did and commented to the rest of the group that, “He wasn’t as sober as I was, with a snicker…”
Last week, I had a conversation with a friend and he said to me that he admired me because I don’t sugar coat the truth, and when I speak, I use my words wisely. That answer came back to me from another friend this evening.
I don’t know what is worse, telling the truth, or trying to step around someone who does not want to hear the truth ?
Is it better to tell the truth or dance around the head of a pin ?
We were all young once. And we all had our fun, didn’t we ? Those out there, who skated through, with nary a problem, make it into life whole. But for some of us, that brick wall has to come down on top of us, for God to get our attention.
I’ve seen several walls fall on me in my almost fifty years on this planet.
God placed certain STOP signs in my path at various points in this journey. Some were a day late and a dollar short, and some were right on time.
I still don’t know why I lived and all of my friends are dead. I still don’t know what I am supposed to be doing all these years later. 50 is coming and I have no idea.
Like my doctor tells me … “Well we’ll just make it up as we go along.”
Sobriety does not necessarily give you the directions on what to do with your life, when we get sober, “but it DOES give you the tools to construct a ladder, with the twelve steps.”
With the right guidance, time and advice, we get to make right choices. How many of my friends, did not jump at that chance like I did ? How many of my friends hung back and held on to old behavior, people, places and things, until they got pulled down into that pit of hell, only to find much later that they should have let go absolutely.
And now some of those friends, have some time, some, double-digit time, but they are miserable shells of human beings, because they are still broken and shattered inside.
And over the past few months I’ve seen this with my own eyes, and heard their stories with my own ears, and I think to myself …
Thank the baby Jesus, I did not do what they did when I came in.
People think I am egotistical and prideful when I say that thank God I did not do what some of my friends did, and that I did not make the same choices some of my friends made as well.
It isn’t about my Ego or my Pride. It’s the God’s Honest Truth.
Because had I fucked off like many of my friends did, mentally, emotionally and sexually, an ended back out the door, drunk and/or high, I would surely not be where I am today.
Each successive time you drop off the radar and go back out for further experimentation, in the drink and the drugs, the odds of your return get slimmer. Some get back and they have to fight even harder to get back.
Sadly, a handful of those who go back out, end up DEAD !!!
None of my friends can say that I am not observant or that I don’t pay attention in meetings. I sure as shit pay attention, because I listen to my friends and in their own special way, they say out loud … Don’t do this …
This is Your Chance to Live … You might not get another do over.
FOLLOW DIRECTIONS GIVEN …