Something that isn’t talked about enough in the rooms of the recovery community — courage. It takes courage to admit that we have a problem. It takes courage to ask for help. It takes courage to leave behind old habits and old coping mechanisms. It takes courage to get honest with ourselves and others. It takes courage to get sober or get clean.
In some ways, getting sober is a radical act. I mean, one day I was drinking to excess and the next day I made a decision not to drink. And while we use the one day at a time mantra, I knew that I was making a life decision. I knew that I was making a commitment not just fit the day, not just for the foreseeable future, but really for every day of the rest of my life. I knew that in my core.
Getting sober was an act of protest against the substance that had been my tyrant for so long. An act of rebellion. I put my foot down and said, “Enough! I can’t live like this anymore!”
But I didn’t do this on my own. I needed help. I needed people to show me the way. I needed people to lean on. People to call when things got rough. Because, let’s face it, rebellion is a hard road. There are times when we need support. A kind face. An open mind. Someone to listen. Someone to hear. Simone to cry with.
Last Monday, I had one of those hard days. Things went off the rails with my son. I lost my temper. I was angry and escalating the situation — it’s telling that a week later I can’t even recall what the argument was about. And the I paused. I took a breath and left the Hoise for a walk, right after setting dinner in the table.
I went for a long walk and was contemplating the concept of a higher power. Contemplating how the God of my childhood had been a failure and how I had let that go. I was thinking about the mystery of the universe, and thinking about how things always seem to work out. My faith in things getting better is definitely part of my higher power.
The universe has your back.
The thought crossed my mind, just as I was looking at the liquor store where I’d been a regular customer. I kept walking, down an old rails to trails path in my town when I came upon two friendly faces from the rooms sitting outside a local coffee shop.
“How’s it going?”
“Shitty,” I said as I pulled up a chair.
We talked briefly and it felt good to let it out. There was something cathartic about talking about my feelings and frustrations, if only for five minutes. I said I needed to be going and that I was planning to go to a meeting that night.
Both men got up and gave me a hug. Hugs have been sparse in this COVID-19 world and while I’ll admit that they felt damn good, I also felt guilty for accepting them, and vaguely worried that I’d unknowingly exposed myself to the virus.
But, mostly I felt good. Even courageous and rebellious people in recovery need hugs and support.
The universe has your back.