I guess recovery is really on my mind lately because I keep writing about it. I keep returning to the subject matter of healing. And that is because I feel for myself, and really for everyone, there is this importunate moment in time where we can all wake up to the fact that that which we do not heal and recover from rules our lives. Lives that could be lived differently, lives that could be more fulfilling, better all around. Lives that are actually lived instead of survived.
I met with someone new in recovery last night. I listened to her story. I heard all the places where she could not stand herself. I saw the pain. I heard the anguish. And at the same time, I heard and saw the desperate possibility to return to a life that was not really living. She doesn’t want to go back to that life, but it has her in its grip and she is now the battleground for addiction’s ugly dance. Her need for recovery is troublesomely urgent, and her desire to live differently is persistent now. Will it be enough? Can she hold onto that feeling each day, ever reminding herself that to drink is to die? I hope so. She is an amazingly beautiful light but she can’t see that yet...so the chance that she would do everything in her power to protect it, is slim.
Most people don’t recover. Most people die. Either they live all their lives dying or they actually die. Either way, same thing. One just takes longer and causes more wreckage. I leave it to you to decide which is which.
Of course talking to her brought me back to my own beginning. And I am in awe that I made it to today. I found nothing lovable in myself at the time, I didn’t even really believe that I needed saving. I have no idea why I am still here: alive, living, recovering one day at a time. The longer I am sober, the more in awe I am and the more blessed I feel.
Recovery has to be importunate; troublesomely urgent. Mine was. I was holding it together on the outside but I was imploding on the inside. I was not so slowly breaking apart and it was only a matter of time before the whole Erin structure came crashing down like shards of glass being blown to bits. Each footfall, reverberating my frail structure closer to my own demise. Me being unable to choose anything healthy, good, life affirming...inching ever closer to the grave every single day.
That was a long time ago for me. She on her eighth day. But what I realized last night is that it matters little how much time I have been on this path. I am never guaranteed another day. I am never promised anything. It can all be taken from me if I stop doing all the things that I know have gotten me here today. I have to do all the things...forever. And I can remember when all the things felt like a lot. A huge burden that interrupted the shitty life I was living and felt like a major inconvenience...but not today. Today, I am lucky to get to do any of it because I know that as a drunk, I am really living on borrowed time. Time wrested from my addictions, time that I shouldn’t have been granted but for a moment of grace that entered my life and changed my downward spiral.
This thought brings me to tears...and it is because of that deep, unwavering gratitude for the life I have today, because of my continued efforts at sobriety that I can still be deeply touched, moved and affected, literally moved to tears on a Thursday morning while writing...I am in awe of the life I have today. It isn’t perfect, and is sometimes a real pain in the ass, but it is mine. All mine and I am steeped in gratitude for every shitty, horrible thing that happened to get me to the jumping off place where I found something within myself worth saving. And I am even more grateful that I was able to bring that broken, damaged, desperate soul to people who knew what to do with me because they had been there themselves.
Today, my recovery is an importunate hard return in my life. I keep allowing my disease to remind me that I will never be cured but I can gain a relatively trouble free remission every day I choose to be persistent on the path. And today, I do not mind the effort, the work because I will chase down recovery with all that I used to chase the drink. And that has made all the difference...because today, my recovery is troublesomely urgent and my quest for more understanding, serenity, peace and equanimity requires my overly persistent attention one day at a time. And it isn't even hard anymore...and for that I am so incredibly grateful.