Well, maybe not even hate, when ancient patterns change, moving in a more loving direction, then you will know you have worked all twelve steps...
Or that you are changed.
Or that you have evolved.
Or that you are now living in the sunlight of the spirit...
Any and all of those apply.
I didn’t like myself much, for a long time. It wasn’t that I wasn’t a good person, I have always been a decent human being. I have always cared about others, their well being, sometimes, likely far too often, more than I cared about my own. I have put the shopping cart back. I have given until it hurt. I have engaged in the world seeking to add more than I have taken...and yet, yet, I still hated me. And for awhile, was hell bent on my own self destruction. Like it was a life mission. I was seeking to eradicate all that I couldn’t leave behind. And it showed, in all that I was, all that I did.
I am giving credit to twelve step work...but it might be something else for you. For me, it was this. A willingness to apply these principles to my life that changed everything for me, altering my relationship to God, and with myself so fundamentally that everything in my life is different now. Everything.
How did this happen?
How did I go from being a person so committed to my own demise, and change trajectory?
I was talking to a woman yesterday who sits in that gap...hating herself so much that she cannot stop drinking. She sees that it is destroying her life. She sees that she is foundering. She sees that the drinking it going to kill her. And yet, she persists.
To me the equation for salvation is so simple...not easy but simple. Have a desire for life to be different...then surrender. Stop fighting. Stop thinking you know anything, at all really. Fuck, let fucking go! Stop thinking that you have the answers, I didn’t even know the fucking questions. Like at all.
And then just do what they tell you. Just begin. Work the steps. Do the stuff. I didn’t believe it would work. But I did it anyway because I was surrendered. I had no more great Erin ideas. I was a fucking wreck, dying daily and I didn’t want that for myself. But my best efforts got me there. That is what me and my self will got me. Drinking myself to death daily. And I called that living because it was all I knew...
Today I know better and the process of having worked and continued to work these simple, hard steps makes my life worth living. And it changed me from a hate-filled person bent on self destruction, into a person who, God, dare I say it, loves herself...most of the time. I still have moments where I delve back into that self destruction but guess what works every fucking time? The steps. They have never failed me.
And so ancient hate, for me, for you, for life, has been transformed...and as much as I am happy about this fact, it is watching, witnessing the change in others that has made this whole journey really worthwhile.
My new guy is one of us. He has had a long time dance with the devil of addiction. And he has hated himself something awful. And he has almost not made it to the other side. Today marks a milestone for him. And I am so very honored to be walking this path with him. He such an inspiration to me.
This weekend we returned to his hometown. He showed me all the places where he began his descent. He showed me where he copped drugs, where he got laid for the first time, he told me stories that I shall not repeat to anyone, ever. He shared with me his pain, his sorrow, his loss, and let me see his own hatred for himself, even as he barely survives it.
But he too is committed to this process. Of working hard at these ridiculous steps to seek higher ground. To do the stuff we need to do to change the trajectory of our lives. And I am witnessing him change ancient hate into love. And it is miraculous. And tenuous. Not just for him or the woman I talked to yesterday that cannot even bear to hope for another way to live, but for me. I know beyond all doubt that if I ever stop working these mother fucking steps, I am done for. I am dead. Like not a figure of speech kind of dead, but actually dead.
Because the ancient hate will always come back. It is like that for us. Daily reprieve. I get to be happy, joyous and free today because I have to do all the things today to keep the darkness at bay. And the miracle today is that I want to, I want to do the work. I am willing to do the work and it is simply because I like the process of ancient hate being turned into love. Like this is the best use of my life kind of love.
I fucking love myself (not all the time but way more than I ever have). And that is a miracle. The fact that I am not passed out right now and capable of being up early and writing coherent (well somewhat coherent) words on a screen is proof that this shit works. I am not hung over. I am not in bed with someone that I shouldn’t be. I am not fucking up my life, all in the name of a party good time. I am not killing myself one moment at a time. And neither is he. And that right there makes me believe. That even for a day, we could be different, shows me that this shit works.
I pray for my new friend that is stuck, mired in the darkness. I pray that she can claim enough self esteem for herself to begin. Honestly begin a new way of living. I am here for her, I will be there, I will support her and guide her and show her what I did but I can’t want it for her. I mean I can but unless she wants it, then all my wanting is really for nothing...salvation only comes for those who claim it for themselves, then do the hard, hard work of moving towards the light even when darkness surrounds.
Altering an addict’s path is like the tide suddenly and swiftly reversing. It doesn’t happen often and is very likely not permanent. I have been around long enough to see us die, one day at a time. And I have cried and been destroyed by the loss. But just for today, I am not being consumed by that. Instead, I am walking towards the light, being grateful for my path that has altered my own self denigration and hate into something closer resembling love.
And better still, is that I can share that love with my family, my kids, my friends, my new man, my communities, my animals, my everything. I can allow the love to flow right through me to every single being I come in contact with. Every single one. And that is what happens when ancient hate becomes love...lives are altered, trajectories are changed. I am living proof that this shit works. And I humbly offer it up for whomever might want to follow...I am here, willing to give that which was freely given to me...one mother fucking day at a time. You know where to find me...
This is the bench where he used to do drugs, alone. Sitting on top of Santa Cruz, one of the nicest places I have been, dying. Actively choosing to die instead of live. This weekend, we got out of the car, took in the vista, hugged and kissed in this spot and something old became something new. And if you have never had an opportunity like this, then I would proffer, you haven’t really lived...