Friday: I’m Not Afraid Any More
Fears, are the termites that ceaselessly devour the foundations of whatever sort of life we try to build. As faith grows, so does inner security. The vast underlying fear of nothingness commences to subside. We of A.A. find that our basic antidote for fear is a spiritual awakening. A.B.S.I. 196
Tonight’s read talks all about fear(s). One of my friends asked whether the reading was addressing who we were while we were drinking, or who we were when we quit ? It can go both ways.
Another friend of mine, who is back around again, after a spectacular crash and burn over the summer, spoke about the house he is building now, this time around. That house, he had lived in had to look pretty, because he was consumed with what people thought of him, while he was suffering the terrible disease of excessive people pleasing.
He is currently Fumigating the house he lives in now. Trying to find where all the termites are, that destroyed the foundation he once had. And he says that, now, the house may not be so pretty on the outside, as it once was. The paint may be peeling, and there are serious cracks in the walls, which he is not covering up this time with pretty pictures.
He sees the value in being who he is, today, and working diligently, on himself, and who he is today. Admitting that the man he is becoming is in a constant state of flux and change. And we may not like what we get this time, save for the honest attempt at humility and self-awareness.
We were all afraid for my friend, because we did not think he would get it all back because the fall was so steep and the pit all but swallowed him whole. And it has been a serious uphill battle for every day of sobriety. But he made it out of the pit and is rebuilding again.
The front group was small, but the conversation was deep.
A young man, who is in for the first time, wonders if he will ever achieve anything in his life that he can be proud of. Having something he can call his own, because right now, he is where many of us are, when we first come in.
Devoid of any money, possessions, or anything resembling what he is seeing from his peers and more importantly, his brothers and sisters in his family. He sees them with lives, marriages, children, homes. His sister is pregnant right now, and he sees them, “having it all, so it seems, on the outside,” Himself, he has very little to speak of beyond the home he lives in right now, (read: Rehab).
I started talking and went on and on. Relating how fear was always present for me, in my life, one way or another. When you introduced alcohol (and drugs) into my equation, the fears subsided, because I was told that alcohol would make it all better, the more I drank.
The first time around, when I got sick, and Todd said the word STOP, I was going to die, because I was very sick. I had literally, the clothes on my back. Todd provided the home I would live in for that period of time, along with everything in it.
I started sobriety with some serious FEARS. And one day at a time, those fears were mitigated, by what Todd taught me and how he directed that stage of my life. I survived, because he provided me a solution and salvation.
Because I trusted him as he asked me to do.
The fears were still there, and returned with a vengeance when he departed my life. And those fears ruled my life until I got sober, the second time around.
When I moved here to Montreal, I had two suitcases and four boxes. The first thing I bought when I got here, was a clock radio, that kept me company overnight.
Sadly, just the other day, 15 years later, that clock radio died a spectacular death.
When I got sober this time around, I had moved here for a better life. It had to be anything because what I had, was not much at all. I was living in famine, and poverty. So it HAD to get better.
Like I have said, time and time again, I did everything right. In hindsight, over the past fifteen years and a few months, listening to my friends talk about themselves, and knowing the choices I did make, and the life I lived because of those choices, I did everything RIGHT. Because I know how many of my friends are still cracked.
I heard our resident Old Timer say tonight that he did not have much when HE came in, but the rooms and the program looked really good to him, so he stuck around. And in his life, the miracle happened for him.
Miracles happen for all of us, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. There is a MAGIC in the rooms that comes to us, being with our friends, night after night. Just knowing where many of my friends were, when they came in, and seeing how their lives filled out and how the miracle happened for them, it is Magic. It is God. It is Us. It is We.
One of my friends, was down and out like I was. He was living in a hovel, washing clothes in his tub, delivering pizzas for cash. All he wanted was to kill himself, but he stuck around, today fifteen years later, he lives in a big house. He is married with children, and he works for a company that affords him travel around the world.
Because, like me, when he came in, we did everything we were told to do. We boded our time. We went to meetings, we did direct acts against our wills. (read: we did what we were told, and decided NOT to take matters into our own hands).
Magic happened. Only a handful of us, who got sober, WHEN we got sober, made it all the way to this point with us. Many of our friends did not make it, in one swing. Many of them Sputtered. Skipped. Stopped. Went back out, came back in, some right away, many though, took months and years to get back.
A good handful of them are dead.
After the meeting I was in the kitchen talking to a friend and we both agreed that
“We were not afraid anymore.”
Many of us have put in The Time. The Effort. And THE WORK.
And over the years, all that hard work, paid off in SPADES.
Many of us rebuilt our lives, filled with worth and meaning. We earned everything that we have through hard work and perseverance. And nobody can take that away from us, because we earned what we have through Hard, Honest, WORK.
I think about having a terminal illness myself. And how that played out for me. For a very long time, I was living with one foot in today, and one foot in the grave. I had lived, in the space “Waiting for that other shoe to drop.” or “The pills to stop working.” or “Waiting to die.”
I am still alive. I’m not afraid of dying. I stand in front of my medicine cabinet every night, grateful and thankful for what is in my medicine cabinet. Because I know, today, that:
I am Not going to Die Today … One day at a time.
I spoke last night about how all of us have crossed a very important threshold in our lives, all at the same time. The period of living in ambiguity is over. We made it to the other side.
God opened the doors across the board for all of us. And I think, as I was talking to my friend in the kitchen that, I can finally breathe again.
It was as if, I had been holding my breath, as I walked my guys through ambiguity, and I did not know where the “other side” was, or how long it was going to take to get HERE today. But we arrived HERE today.
And I can breathe again. Because I am no longer AFRAID. For Them or Myself.
The magic happened. The miracle happened. It took years of hard, blood, sweat and tears to get here. But with perseverance, one day at a time, we all made it safely over the water.
I can’t tell you where you are going, but I can show you where I walked, and how this all works, and tell you that, you just have to start with one step. Or step one.
I’m an alcoholic and I am powerless over alcohol, and my life is unmanageable.
I find great strength in saying that turning my life over, having constant direction, as I needed it, when I needed it, on a daily basis, helped me build the life I inhabit today.
By the grace of God and the fellowship, I have everything I ever needed, and not a drop more. My cup is full and I am grateful for small mercies. And miracles.
I have a life beyond my wildest dreams.
I never imagined that this was possible, because, all those years ago, I was at day one, with nothing to call my own. Today I have a home and love and good friends, and the love of a child in my life.
My heart overflows.
Fear has no room to live when our lives are full of love and goodness to overflowing.
When we are not plying our bodies and minds with drugs and alcohol, anything is possible, if we just Re-Orient, and begin to build that life we were meant to live.
I have a life, because I am no longer afraid …
God has done for me, what I could not do for myself.
Gratitude overflows …