So while I’m still basking in the glow that was my golden jubilee (I’m told this is what some trendy gay men call their 50th birthday extravaganzas and I am so down with that) and subsequent trip to Arizona where my LIFE WAS ALTERED forever with that magical otherwordly experience, I just realized that my beloved birthday month is almost at its end, and I had such lofty aspirations to cover one recovery step per each calendar month on my new stinkin’ sobriety blog. *oops*
For as organized as I am, it baffles me that shit like this can still sneak up on me. In my defense, though, I’ve been incredibly busy attempting to meditate and do yoga and eat bark or things that taste like it. . . and, OH YEAH, figuring out my plan for the rest of my life on this earth. It’s been time-consuming, you guys.
I know, I know. . . one day at a time, hippie chick. I KNOW. But when you when you’re excited about your new life you want everything to begin RIGHT THIS SECOND, you know?
So, I’ll put my spiritual/physical/mental transformation on hold for a sec and we’ll switch gears a little bit here and talk about HOPE.
Did I get your attention? Hope. It’s a big one, and sometimes, not so easy to find. Especially these days, it would seem.
If you’ve seen the movie, The Shawshank Redemption, then you know about hope. Red tells Andy to forget about hope while in the confines of the prison, that inside, hope is a dangerous thing. Andy disagrees, he feels that hope is the best of things, the only thing he can hold onto inside the horror of the prison walls.
It’s not a stretch to compare alcoholism to prison. By all means, it IS a prison, except that you hold the lock AND the key. I know you want to throw up in your mouth a little bit after reading that, because I do too – but I’m preaching the truth, Ruth. You have to believe in hope. Do you believe recovery is possible? In the sophisticated words of Russell Brand, if you’re metaphorically fucked, “could you be un-fucked?” Well, then, there’s hope.
“Hope begins in the dark, that stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up.”
Step one begins with defeat, despair, and honesty. Or, in my case, liver failure. You don’t get much traction with dishonesty when your organs are shutting down. Step one was a breeze in that regard. Step two though, is where we find ourselves believing in hope, even if we don’t necessarily believe in ourselves, or in our worthiness of recovery. Read that again if you have to. I don’t care who you are, or what you’ve done, or where you’ve been. . . you ARE worthy of recovery.
We can’t move forward without hope. It is necessary to our human existence. Hope isn’t just wishful thinking, or even optimism. Optimism is an attitude, whereas hope, a belief. A belief that things will get better and that you have a desire to make it so. Where there is hope, there is a potential for healing. The irony is when folks are brought to their knees by alcoholism, hope is usually unfathomable. They can’t imagine a life with or without alcohol. It’s a living hell, if you want to call that living.
I’ve said this before but it bears repeating, you have to WANT it. Some call this “the gift of desperation”, where you are so beaten down by your drinking that you’ll go to any lengths to stop the misery. When your pain outweighs your fear of change, you’ll know. For some lucky folks, all it takes is one “close call”, or possibly a DUI. Others need to be hit directly in the face with a 2×4, perhaps with some crooked rusty nails jutting out, to really get the gist of things. This latter category is where I fit. Some literally call this making the choice between life or death, and that was certainly the case for me. I chose life, and on the days I didn’t, life chose me. I’m still not completely sure why. I hesitate to call it luck as I was recently taught that luck, as a concept, is inaccurate. I was informed of this in the desert by an old cowboy that had absolutely no time for my antics. I’ll have to overthink that shit later and stay on point, here.
If you’re teetering, let me give you this push. If you can’t dig down deep enough to rustle up some minuscule amount of hope, talk to someone in recovery. Go to a meeting. Listen to other alcoholics. They’ll give you some of their hope until you can find some of your own, I promise. No matter how shame or pain (or both) based your identity has been, it doesn’t have to stay that way.