Gratitude, Attitude, Affect
I forget to pray for the angels
And then the angels forget to pray for us.
Once upon a time I sat in rooms and watched as men and women, their heads hung in shame, confessed before a crowd of peers that they had lost their recovery. Some had drank again, others just stopped doing the right things, stopped showing up and their disease and therefore their lives had once again become unmanageable. At the time, I told myself this is important, this is truth, remember this. I sussed out the dangerous pattern that every one of them had followed. First, they stopped showing up and without the accountability, they slowly stopped doing the steps and the other rituals, they told themselves they are strong enough now to go it alone anyway. Soon, they lost sight of what was important, of whom was important, then they decided all of those things were okay and then before they knew it, they were in trouble and they started tossing out whatever good things existed in their lives, dancing all over the self destruct button.
The ones I met were the lucky ones, I knew that too, many never make it back, dead, in prison or on the way to both destinations. I took all of this in, once upon a time. I made myself pay attention so I would remember the stories. I told myself, this will never happen to me, I would never be so dumb.
Then…I stopped showing up. I stopped doing the steps and staying vigilante; I decided I was strong enough to go it alone, I forgot all about those people and their stories, the same story, over and over and over again. I decided I was special, I was the one in a million alcoholic that could carry the burden by myself. For a while, I think perhaps I did alright, or I just wasn’t tested. But I too lost sight of what was important, I grew selfish and lost all gratitude for the things I was given every single day. I grew negative and greedy and over the last few weeks, I nearly drove the best of my blessings out of my life. All to learn a lesson for the millionth time since I started with AA. I am not special, I am not immune, I am not different. It will happen to me, as it has everyone else. I am not the one that can do it when no one else can. That is apparently a very hard pill for me to swallow and keep down.
The truth is that, while I am not weak, I have a disease that is stronger than I am, it is so much stronger than I am that it takes the help of everyone around me, rituals, constant maintenance and the aide of God to relieve me of the symptoms. I have to accept that and surrender to it. I have to believe too that maybe this was all by design, maybe I never really gave myself over entirely, my will, my commitment. A lesson hard learned and as usual not at my expense alone.
To that end and with the choice of not doing what I needed to, I hurt someone. I hurt Kim and while I am remorseful, I know that I must be more than sorry, that I must right myself and make amends for my poor judgement and the ensuing behavior. She has forgiven me my trespass and that in itself is something to be grateful for, because my behavior could easily have cost me her and the boys.
The subject of Kim, leads me to something else, to another apology and amends that I must make. To my Higher Power, the god I pray to. In the last two years I have been showered with blessings, almost non-stop; The love and kindness of friends and family, a job, not being drunk and experiencing hope and happiness – then the coupe de grace, this woman, this wonderful amazing woman who loves me more than I deserve, those beautiful boys of hers and the experience of connecting with them and caring for them, all of it heaped upon me as though I was deserving of it. My response, my response was greed: to ask for more and throw fits when I my requests went unanswered or a small bump appeared in my path. I seldom asked anyone what I can do for them, what I should be doing to be worthy of the gifts I was handed, I just asked for more. I am sorry it got to here before I saw all of this, but I know now what I have, what I nearly lost and that I should be thanking you and the universe and the people around me every day for the things I have.
So, I will learn soon what it is to stand in one of those rooms and say I lost my recovery because I thought I knew better. thought I could go it alone. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t drink, because ultimately that isn’t the point, the point is to be rid of the defects of character that made being an addict possible. The point is to be restored to being a valuable, useful, purposeful human being that is of use and value to the people around him, rather than being a drain or a terror. So, thank you, thank you to everyone for dealing with me.
The affect of losing sight of the blessings in your life is the elevation of things that do not deserve to be important, the turning of your own attitude to darkness and the destruction of those things in your life that are good. Kim, the beat of my heart now, the sun in my sky, I love her and the kids and I nearly let it all go because I wasn’t doing the right things and I lost sight of what was important and stopped appreciating my blessings.
Remember to ask Mr J, everyday, Am I in Recovery? Am I doing the right things? What do I have to be grateful for? How can I serve other people today?