My son is a recovering heroin addict and his addiction lasted fourteen years. At the end of his using, he was shooting heroin into his neck, having destroyed his veins in his arms, legs and feet. Today, he is ten years sober. That doesn’t mean his addiction is over, but it does mean that Jeff made the decision to change his life.
I hated those cruel commercials early on in my recovery – the ones where stunningly beautiful friends partied merrily, laughed cheerfully, looking chic, holding colorful cocktails or frosted mugs (I would have been holding one of each, by the way.) I wanted that but couldn’t have it. But a wise sponsor told me, “Oh yeah? Well mentally put yourself in that scene. Now fast forward 5 hours of so. See yourself now? Is that you with your mascara smeared under your eyes? What’s that you spilled on your shirt? Is that your voice blabbing too loudly and slurring your words? Keep going… where are you waking up? With who? Eww. There may be puking.
After my first dramatic encounter with God that previously detailed, I stopped drinking, joined a religious order and went through 5 years of seminary. I also obtained a Bachelor’s in Philosophy, a Master’s in Divinity, a Master’s in Moral Theology, was ordained a priest and was assigned to a large parish in Delaware. A lot of stress to be sure, but I went into it free of alcohol.
Growing up, most of what I knew about God was based on what I was taught, not something I had ever spent time figuring out for myself. It came down to “do what you’re told or God’s going to send you to hell.” Not a very pleasant view. My homiletics professor in seminary summed up my relationship with God very aptly: “We are all sinners in the hands of an angry God.” Up to that point, that’s basically what I believed.
10 Contrary Actions for Life’s Day-to-Day Experiences: Give someone a compliment when feeling envious or less-than… Take some deep breaths instead of speaking out in anger at someone… Engage in visualizing living the life of your dreams instead of engaging in “morbid reflection” based on personal conditions, world events, or bad decisions in the past… Lead a conversation about possibilities, ideas, and dreams instead of gossip, rumors, and drama.
During the early years of my sobriety, I went through several sponsors before I found “The One.” It’s not that the others weren’t great people––each one was wonderful in his or her own way––but the first time I heard J. share at a meeting, I realized she had something I wanted. That was 25 years ago, and working with her has been the mainstay of my sobriety. In my home group, we have a saying: “A sober woman is a class act.” J. is the embodiment of that phrase.
I sense new ideas, new opportunities, and new situations ready to be born through me, about to be nurtured into a thriving existence. As I peer into the beautiful and enchanted month of May, the month that honors the female energy, I see Mother Nature expressing fully, naturally, and vibrantly right now, and so am I. I trust the process as I give life to that which comes to be by means of me. I use my breath to center me when I need to; it’s that easy and that available.
Today’s post is a video from Jewish.tv on Chabad.org. In it, Rabbi Shais Taub delivers an intense yet liberating talk on emotional independence. Rabbi Taub is the author of G-d of Our Understanding: Jewish Spirituality and Recovery from Addiction. Enjoy!