Sunday, May 26, 2013

No matter what happens tomorrow, or for the rest of my life, I’m happy now.  –Groundhog Day

As an addict, I’m looking for a deal.  I’m looking for a way out that free and easy.  I want half measures that actually work.  I think this way because I want some guarantee of the future.  I want to know that there will be enough, enough joy, enough food, enough numbness, enough safety.  I want a secure tomorrow so I can live without obligation or limits today.  I want sobriety for free. 

That’s not what the program offers.  The Twelve Steps are not about how to get high without getting high.  The Twelve Steps are about honesty, surrender, inventory, becoming ready, amending, service.  No one promised us an easy program, just a simple one.

My recovery and my higher power give me all I need.


What would you do if you were stuck in one place, and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?  –Groundhog Day

            As an addict, it’s very easy for me to resort to black and white thinking.  Truth is sometimes bad stuff does happen.  Life has issues and troubles and hardships.  I was never promised an easy, trouble-free life – that notion came to me early in recovery when my addict brain tried to interpret the 12 Step Programs and determined that the hope of the program could be translated to promises of a fantasy world.  How do I know that my addiction tried to corrupt that hope?  Because, at the end of any such stream of thinking, I would get to drink or smoke or trip or eat or sex with impunity.

            Reality at all costs shows me that while there are troubles, that does not mean my life is hopeless.  The issues every person faces in a day, and the unique issues that every addict faces in a day, are not the full sum and total of my life.  Even if the troubles continue on into a monotony of pain, there is evidence of my higher power holding up the earth beneath my feet.  And that’s where I find hope that at the end of today, it’s worth it for me to put my head on my pillow.

My higher power gives me recovery and the chance to fill my life.


Roy:  Hey Herb, how’s life?
Herb:  Takin’ forever.

            My addiction, unchecked, is a suicide.  Likely not even a slow suicide.  My addiction ends in insanity, institutions, or death.  Which ultimately means, my addiction ends in death.  That death can come as fast as my consequences chase me.  In active addiction, I am one hazy, intoxicated decision away from causing my own demise.  Whether it’s following a dealer into a dangerous looking building, going home for sex with a total stranger, or pushing my high jamming my fingers down my throat a little further, any decision I make in my addiction can always be my last.

            Even out of active addiction, am I embracing life, or waiting for death?  Do I have a sobriety plan that includes self-care?  If I have a bottom line, do I have a top line as well?  What am I filling the hole of my addiction with?  It matters, not because I used to be “bad” and now I have to be “good”.  It matters because the hole of addiction is a hole in my self and my soul, and it’s worth filling with self-respect and self-love.  How do I know that?  My higher power tells me so.

Being me is good.


Phil:  What if there were no tomorrow? 
Gus:  No tomorrow.  That would mean there would be no consequences, no hangovers, we could do whatever we wanted.
–Groundhog Day

            Throughout my addiction, I believed in the fantasy of denial.  I believed that if I was willing to lie to myself, if I believed my lies, then everyone else would too.  And maybe they did, or maybe they were in just as much denial as I have been or maybe their self care involved not saving the unwilling.

            The lies do not hold up.  To believe there are no consequences is to believe a lie.  In fact the only way for no consequences to be the truth is to let addiction win and give up on tomorrow, literally.  I have walked that circle of thinking many a long and lonely night in my addiction.  And all the while there has been a side door for me to escape.  The door is surrender, surrender the lies, give up the fantasies, find another addict and follow a new path.  My new path is straight and it is paved with the truth and leads directly to my higher power.

If I think there’s no way out, I just might be wrong.


Although you’ll never know all the steps, you must learn to join the dance.  --Prince of Egypt

            I procrastinate a lot.  I often say, I will do that thing, I will take that risk, when I get a sign.  I will engage in self-care when it’s proven to me that I should, that I’m worth it.  I will call my peer when I feel better about myself, when I feel like I have something meaningful to say.  I will share at a meeting when I am good and ready.  What am I waiting for?  I’m waiting for perfection.  I’m waiting until I can guarantee myself that I won’t make a mistake, won’t sound stupid, won’t embarrass myself, won’t get it wrong.

            But that thought process ends in continual self-denial.  The truth is I will never know all that I need to know, I will never be without mistakes, I will never achieve perfection – even if sometimes I accomplish exactly what I dreamed about, that doesn’t make me perfect.  So maybe I can take a chance, maybe the next time I’m at a wedding or a christening or a bar mitzvah, I can get up and join the dance, not because I will be perfect or even be good, but because it’s okay to be me, as God intended.

‘Mistake” is not a bad word.


I’ll give you a winter prediction – it’s gonna be cold, it’s gonna be gray, and it’s gonna last you for the rest of your life.  –Groundhog Day

            The winter can be relentless.  It can be bleak.  It can be long.  It can seem interminable.  Why?  Because I am human, and an addict, and so I have a hard time perceiving reality.  I easily forgot the truth and think that the frozen world will persist forever.  I believe that I will never get out from under, never feel free, never win.

            No matter how cold it gets, no matter how bone-chilling the winter, the isolation, the pain, there is one guarantee that our higher power gives us.  Change.  The very sidewalk that is covered in snow, and the very wind that penetrates every layer of my protection from the cold, will someday bring sunlight and warmth and life and joy.  Green leaves will come again.  The flowers will perfume again.  The sun will rise tomorrow and I can be there for it.  All I have to do is be willing to do the next right thing.

All I need to know about tomorrow is that it will come.

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