It just dawned on me that in 40days I will have one whole year clean. I can almost taste it. It blows my mind time has flown by so fast. The changes in me and my life are nothing short of miraculous. I think I’m gonna make it.
Forty days is a long time. That’s a lot of days to keep taking one day at a time. But by now I have found faith in myself, in my program, in my friends, in the tools I’ve learned. I can see another 40 days almost as clearly as the last forty days. There’s only one holiday I haven’t survived clean and one birthday (my little brother’s). I’ve had my heart broken. I’ve held my child’s hand through surgery. I’ve watched people use my drug of choice and share drinks in front of me. I’ve cried my heart out several times. I’ve done things I never thought I could do again. And I haven’t picked up once. I think it will keep working another forty days.
I’m in a good place tonight. Happy. Peaceful. Dare I say it? Serene. I’m waiting for my dinner to cook having just returned from a good meeting with a good vibe and good people. It’s quiet tonight. The kids are with the ex. I have a paper to work on for school. I’m doing well with school so far. And I’m enjoying it.
I’ve been struggling a bit with the meditation thing for a while now. Prayer is easy enough. I talk to God like I always have. I try to focus on asking for His will but I’ve always sort-of figured She already knows my heart better than I do so I might as well be honest and sometimes I need to just ask for what I want and let Her have it. But meditation isn’t so easy for me. I can remember being a much younger me who hadn’t ever tried drugs and could sit and meditate. But it has been eluding me now. My sponsor lent me a book tonight so hopefully it will help. She knows I’m a Christian who’s more than willing to learn from other paths.
The last few weeks I’ve had two women ask me to sponsor them. I’m not quite ready for that yet. I haven’t really worked all the steps yet. Mostly it’s the stuck on meditation part. I’ve managed 11 1/2 out of 12. But suddenly I realize that this shows how far I have come. I have something they want. I’m not that terrified girl in the corner anymore. I guess I just didn’t realize how much I had changed until that. Funny how that goes, that we are often most blind to ourselves. I knew I had changed and made changes but somehow I was still seeing myself as I was.
Forty days. The length of one mythological flood. Followed by a rainbow. I don’t have an arc. But like Noah I have faith and hope and love. And I’m prepared to surrender to the water and ride the waves. That’s really all there is to it. My rainbow will be one glow-in-the dark key tag and one coin with a I on it. There probably won’t be a single family member or old friend who even notices much less comes to clap for me. I’m OK with that now. And letting go of the wish to be loved for who I am and supported for my accomplishments makes it much easier to accept. God gave me a new family and a new home where unconditional love and pure grace are practiced in human form. I go to church for communion and meetings to see Jesus alive and working. He’s one sneaky dude to wear so many names and faces and use so many hands and mouths.
I really can’t claim that this will be my accomplishment. Because it isn’t. It’s His triumph and my homegroups’ for being so good to me and carrying me through it all. One day, one step, one phone call, one hug, one prayer, one book, one page, one meeting at a time.
I hope I don’t get one last flood between then and now. I’ve cried enough tears to float a boat already. And, literally, the rivers here are overflowing and roads and bridges are closed. But what will come will come, what will be will be. That sounds so easy and cheesy when I type it. No, I will probably have ups and downs, good days and bad. I will probably have times I want to go get shit faced and moments I can taste a good hit. But I don’t have to do either one. And as long as I don’t have to (even if I want to!) I won’t.
That may be what is so hard to explain about addiction – that have to part. The needing to get fucked up thing. To me that is what defines addiction, needing to do something I didn’t want to do. I could call myself a recreational user or social drinker up to that point. I’m searching for a metaphor for powerlessness, for having no choice, for feeling compelled to violate one’s own will and desire. I’ll have to keep thinking on this. The best I can do is to go back to the flood metaphor. It’s being caught in a flash flood and grasping for anything to stay alive. Fighting that current is death.
But it is possible to swim along with the current and live, to grab onto whatever floats and cling. People caught in floods don’t have a lack of morals or will power or a desire to die. They don’t need lectures or tough love or condemnation. They need miracles and a boat and the kind of love that doesn’t care if they’re dripping wet on a clean floor. There’s nothing lazy about swimming for your life and nothing immoral either. It is a slow suicide to swim against a flood but the very act of swimming shows a desire to live.
For now, my flood is a slow stream and I can walk along the bank with good company when I want it and alone when I don’t. I don’t know where it is leading me or when I will get there. I don’t know if more water will come barreling down the channel and swoop me away again. I do know that I have people who will throw me a raft and I have a life jacket and my swimming-with-the-current skills have improved dramatically. Faith is the antidote to fear.