I read a beautiful interpretation of ‘my part’ earlier this week… so good I wanted to spread it on thick and plenty to you all. If I were making a PB&J sandwich this would be the secret layer of butter under the jelly side of the sandwich you’re curious about.
There has been some serious internal debate on just what exactly is my part. Sometimes the answer is easy and fluid. Other times, I run back and forth over the issue making road kill of my peace of mind. In the case of helping others, I have really struggled with my part.
Janet advised that the worse thing you could do to another person was to stand in the way of their bottom. I was one of those who would body check the other person, hitting them hard with forced solutions and what I thought to be real love. It almost killed them and it nearly killed me. Today I try to let people be who and what they are, when they are. I try to not make them wrong for doing so. And in return, I let myself off the stand and I’m not wrong either. I’m no saint, but I have work to do here. I gotta’ mission to share all the good news about a life I never thought possible …it’s possible! However, a need doesn’t constitute a want. Recovery isn’t for everybody, it’s for those who are willing to try.
The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.
It used to say, “The only requirement for membership is an honest desire to stop drinking.” Somewhere along the lines they took out the word ‘honest’. And I’m so glad. I first came into AA when I was 20 years old. My then boyfriend, had been arrested in a drunken stupor and was court ordered into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous. I was his ride. After one or two meetings I heard my story. My ears were like that of a basset hound. When some folks shared I perked up in my chair. I stretched my neck to get a glance of the source…I had to know who had been peeking into my diary and into my skeleton closet. I was sober for three months. I was ‘too young’ to never drink again. Alcoholics are all old people, just go to my old home group, you’ll see. I did some more research and found that no matter what outfit I wore or how hard I tried, I could not drink like a lady. At 22, I came back to AA on the brink of losing everything. It was like I came-to one morning and I had this entire life that I had no clue how to manage. I was a Wife and a Step-Mom, I would’ve had my own child by that time but had lost the baby in November the year prior. Which, I might add was a lovely excuse for hanging out in my basement drinking myself to oblivion. I was barely employ-able and completely perplexed as to how I could have a healthy grown up relationship with alcohol. You know, drink just not as much. If it were left to the ‘honest desire’ part of membership requirements I would have been out on my butt.
Well, a year later with some time in the rooms recovering and some time investigating controlled drinking, I still hadn’t ‘got it.’ I still wanted to drink. I still wanted to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. I wanted to tell the truth but was utterly incapable of handling the consequences. My coping mechanism was running. I wanted YOU to blame when things didn’t go well, so I avoided responsibility at all costs. As one would imagine, I ended up almost exactly where I started the year before, alone and confused.
How did this happen again? I was living alone at that time, working retail and barely getting myself out of bed and to work. One day on a lunch break, I called Janet. I expected anger and rejection but I was met with the unexpected, LOVE. She was happy to hear from me. She had missed me. And she asked if I was ready to get to work. Was I willing to go to any lengths to get sober? Eventually, I was. My head cleared and I was able to regain conciousness. I realized I desperately wanted the very life I was trying so hard to sabotage. Once I realized it was going to take changing everything, I quit my job at the department store and was hired on as a full time wife and avid AA enthusiast. I went to meetings, I worked the steps, I started to tell the truth and deal with the variable results, I began to pray, to read and entertain the idea that I had been totally confused on the meaning of Love.
Five years later TODAY I am living the life I never thought possible. If my first sponsor and dear friend, Janet were still alive she’d be celebrating today too. We’d both be celebrating a life beyond our wildest dreams. And the reason I’m here today is because God has been doing for me what I could not do for myself for the last 1,825 days. Each day that I wake up and don’t have the obsession to use or drink, that’s God lifting the mental and bodily allergy I was afflicted with for most of my life. Every time something scary happens and I find a way to hang on to the life raft and not sink into the abyss of darkness, God has once again, done for me what I could not do for myself. I am completely convinced God loves everybody. If He could love a falling down drunk, he can love you too. Yes, even you.
I guess, the real reason I want to share all this is to give you some hope. Maybe you love someone who is addicted to drugs, or alcohol or sex. And maybe that person is you. Maybe you think, as I did, it’s too late for you/him/her. Too much damage has been done, its broken, they’re gone and you’re all done. I’m here to tell you that no one is beyond God’s reach. He has really,really, really long arms. And a bag of Grace that is deeper and more mysterious than the one Mary Poppin’s flies with. Its never too late to get well. To start living. The truth is not everyone gets well. The reality is people who are too young and too beautiful die everyday from this stuff. And its heartbreaking when you realize there isn’t a whole lot you can do to stop it. I would invite you to get better regardless. I would invite you to start living this day to the best of your ability. Take a nap. Be gentle with yourself. Give yourself time to grieve and in return, heal. Go somewhere where you feel safe to tell your story. Only you can say where and what that is.
What: Your life
Where: where ever you are right now is a good place to start.
The party is open to any and all- you’ll need exactly one teaspoon of willingness and a sliver of you-might-be-surprised. And the good news is you won’t have to do it alone. Of course, that’s entirely your choice. That falls into the my part category. You’ll need to do your part. Your work. And I’ll do mine. And we can be bobbly headed together, attached to the dash board, side by side, silly by nature.