The Serenity Prayer… only 27 little words, but with such power, strength, and insight packed perfectly within. Potentially treacherous situations––like being at work or being at home, being with my kids or with my parent, throughout my marriages and for sure during my divorces, in conversations and confrontations––this mantra, this ultimate navigational tool, can be counted on to unfailingly guide me through.
For some reason, cable companies seem to think having 200+ channels is a selling point. But I can only watch one at a time. No matter how many there are to choose from, I’ll only see on my screen what my tuner is set to in that moment. This great TV analogy always helps me grasp that it’s how I tune my focus and my thinking that determines what scenes, images, and experiences play out on the screen of my life.
As Thanksgiving approached, I was almost five months sober––and an orphan. Up until then, I had not experienced a holiday without my Mom and Dad. Honestly, I had no idea how I would make it through, much less stay sober. By the grace of God, the rooms of AA and the people in them, and my friends in Science of Mind, I did make it through––and I did stay sober. In a very real way, I learned what it meant to live one day at a time. And within those days, I frequently practiced living one moment at a time and one breath at a time.
It doesn’t really bother me to say I’m an alcoholic. Not that I nonchalantly or indiscriminately blab it out, but when appropriate, I own up to it. But that’s because I now know that it’s a mere fraction of who I am. That is not my only adjective. In fact, I am a creative, strong, humorous, prolific, wise, open-minded, friendly, caring person in the process of discovery, recovery, and ongoing un-covery. I used to not be able to say any of that.
Spirituality can be defined in numerous ways but it largely refers to a belief in a power governing the universe that is greater than oneself, the sense of interconnectedness with all living beings, and the quest for self-knowledge, meaning, and purpose in one’s life… A regular spiritual practice allows us to find meaning and purpose in our lives … and can be a powerful tool in recovery from any condition.
Like the onion itself, my mask has many layers. For years (okay, decades), I didn’t even realize I hid behind one. When I caught wind of it, I thought it must be “only sometimes in certain circumstances…” on a kind of “as needed” basis, like when I didn’t feel comfortable in my own skin, as they say… which was basically all the time…
I was a high bottom drunk. In my alcoholic, comparison-based mind in the early days, I perceived that as underachieving as an alcoholic. I had no DUIs, no rehab stories, no arrests… I was a high bottom drunk. But therein lies the key word – Drunk. Someone early on told me he was a high bottom too, but “just as sick as that guy living under the bridge.”
What if my alcoholism is my greatest asset? Not when it was alive, active, and devouring me––no. But when I came to my senses long enough to catch my breath. More like the moment it became my reality check, and then the climb back up from that. If I hadn’t hit the place where I was able to admit that my life had become unmanageable, I would likely never have done the depth of work on myself that is requested/required in The Steps.