I got directions for my sober living from my program. I went through the steps together with my sponsor as I learned to live like a child learns to walk and finally can run. I tripped and fell, I got stronger and became less clumsy in my relationships with the world. Little by little I get more comfortable with myself and accept my human condition, slowly I break free from the surviving mode. I grew up in trying to protect myself from being hurt or because I didn’t want others to see my defects.
One of the most critical tools that I have today is awareness; I have the clarity to see in my behavior when I am acting in my old ways. From now on I have to be attentive and see when I lie to somebody, hurt someone or manipulate to take advantage of a situation; once I catch myself doing this, I own it and immediately try to fix it.
Making amends can be tricky, the more time I am sober, it is easier to work on this because there is acceptance and that makes it more comfortable but it doesn’t mean it will go easy or the way I expect. They are intended to make it up to the person I failed, and this means IT IS NOT ABOUT ME which is always a lesson.
There are times to make amends too, sometimes we may be ready, but the other person is not. Sometimes we are not prepared or don’t know how to approach it. Other times we have to accept that is not possible because they won’t speak to us, they moved away and are no longer around. When we are not capable of making this amends we need to accept it and move on to reality. In this case, our amends will be living a life trying to become better every day. No matter what we encounter on this journey, it is always one day at a time.
There is a lot of work needed to keep my sobriety however at the same time there are great things and changes happening around me and need to embrace them and be active in sharing them and show with actions how grateful I am for this new life, for the opportunity some others didn’t get.
Last year brought me chances to work on my amends with some people and had a different kind of results and reactions; one of them went unexpectedly well for me. I feel like I shouldn’t count it because the person didn’t hold any ill feelings for me, on the contrary, showed me how big a heart and beautiful soul she has. The next one was opposite; I was sure I knew how to handle it and thought enough time had passed but it didn’t; it was not only terrible timing, but the person wasn’t really in a place where we could even talk. I failed miserably to see it and just made it worse trying to force it. Time will tell whether is possible to fix the debris of my old ways or not. I can only keep working and learning about myself.
In a different theme and about being grateful for the chance to be not only in recovery but alive, the last months of my first year and most of my second were hard, and I spent them with a lot of anger. People I was very close to passed away. When I was 20, a dear family member died, and it hit me hard. He was an uncle I looked up to and respected a lot, he went down so quickly. One weekend he looked ok and the next he was so ill I didn’t even get close to him, that night he died. It was never spoken but today and only after my struggle, I know today he was one of us. The same story repeated itself this time. It happens all the time, and I understand; you are not going to your friends funeral and talk about how being an alcoholic caused him a premature death. It is an emotional moment, and the family members are going through a lot, and we owe them respect. It’s is very clear once we are sober to understand that in our addiction we are killing ourselves by affecting our health. After this first loss, just months later one more friend died and under same circumstances. The celebration of life was worse since a lot the people decided it was a good way to honor his life in the same way he had lived it, right, drinking and doing cocaine. I couldn’t stay there; I was so angry that I had to leave. For me, it was so clear these two men died after years of abuse of alcohol and drugs. I didn’t hear anybody acknowledging the fact of why they died or talking to their kids about the dangers of addiction. It appeared to me they were celebrating it.
These deaths were entirely my issue, I was mad because I got the gift and they didn’t, we lived the same way, we grew up together, and now they were gone, and I was still here. Why? They should be alive, why didn’t they ask for help, why didn’t they accepted it later on. Why did they keep on going knowing they were not going to make it? I was so pissed at them. I was going to miss them; I was broken-hearted.
Today I understand that saving people is not what we do; we stay by people when they want to save themselves, recovery is personal, they say it is not for the one who needs it but for the one who wants it. I get that it was probably the only way I could grieve until I had the clear mind to understand what was happening.
Stay strong, work on yourself, help others and stay by the ones who want the gift, accept life, clean your side of the street, be aware of your character defects, make amends, be active in every aspect of your recovery. Take care of yourself. Peace.