I am also a lover of life, a coach, a mother and a happily married woman. Not many get to say that, but for 29 years I have been involved in a process that has given me a life that I had never imagined. An outstanding and blessed life.
That process? Seeking truth.
In the beginning it was all about blaming others for where I was in life. Wrong side of the tracks. Poor. Alcoholic father and mother. Too many kids, not enough attention. Diagnosis of ADHD. Rape, hunger, neglect, abandonment – if you have been there you know this list is endless, especially when you are trying to justify addictive behavior. The finger pointing was an exercise in trying to preserve some semblance of my own sanity…I had no solutions and so was constantly seeking a source in which to attribute the problem. Alcohol calmed the need to look for a minute, but never for too long. Thus the constant craving to fix myself and my life with alcohol a welcome balm. My brain was in a constant state of panic and protection mode.
When I walked into my first 12-Step meeting, I was terrified and intrigued. At 29, separated from my husband, 4 year old daughter in tow, I had run out of answers. My father had only months before succumbed to the ravages of his short alcoholic life. His untimely and gut-wrenching death shattered my delusions about what and who was to blame and made me look squarely at myself. The controversy surrounding his demise was to rattle the hinges of our family for an eternity and became exactly the shock I needed to seek help. I found it in those rooms and surprisingly through an interesting assortment of souls on varying places in their own journeys. It was in those rooms, with people like me, that I found the courage and the strength to look into myself and seek the parts of my soul that had been dormant or laying low until the storm was over.
My journey these past 29 years has taken me through many stages of growth, discovery and development. It was not an overnight matter. The program I was introduced to was an enticement to continue living with the hope that it would continually get better. However, it took much work and service to others as well as giving up of a lot of old behaviors and belief systems. This, however, occurred naturally over the years…but it was often as if I were continually being pushed through the birth-canal over and over again. Each hurdle brought on short periods of grief for my way of life and the old pieces of “self” that I began to release. It was not a coward’s journey. To rely on a higher power and not mood altering substances of any kind takes courage and perseverance. Was I blessed with both or just sick of the falsehoods I surrounded myself with? I know today that this alcoholic had to be fully awake to the process in order to come out in this place of peace.
The 12 steps as they were originally designed have been adopted to address any number of maladies. They were adapted from religious texts but were purposely designed to be inclusive of believers and non-believers alike. The founders wanted to make a way for all to come to believe in something more powerful than what they had been dependent on, so that they might become inter-dependent and live a happy and useful life. They were designed to be self-sustaining as long as we pass it on to others. I know THAT is what saved my life.
Today, I look back at the challenges it took me to get here and know undoubtedly that the richness of those hurdles and heartbreaks paved the way for an understanding of the blessings I now enjoy. In retrospect, this kind of acceptance of the abundance and blessings of my life, my love for people, my new career path, and my welcoming of joy would not have been possible for me earlier. I had to know the pain to be able to receive the gain.
I have never relied only on that process however. It was what gave me courage to look at myself in the presence of others who would understand and that lifted the need for judgement. Recovery was the mirror that helped me see my true self and gave me the tools to discard that which no longer served the life I wanted to live. It helped me heal the gap that separated me from a full and happy existence. Recovery opened the door to a world filled with amazing experiences, people, places, fragrances, flavors, and delightful ideas that I knew I was starving for. Getting sober gave me the courage to step out into, and claim, that smorgasbord of experience called life and to walk among those who know how to live authentically.
Seeking truth is the hero’s journey. We all have within us that spark that can be fanned to a rich flame when we are surrounded by those who have gone before us. We breathe the same air as everyone on this planet and have access to the same energy as those who astound and perplex us with their success. It is available to ALL of us. The bravest thing that any of us will ever do is ask for help.
What do you need to start your journey of truth today?