- I know what the "gift of desperation" looks like. I know what it feels like and smells like and tastes like. Three years ago, my life in ruin, the Universe handed me this gift and with it I found a wealth of wisdom. I used that wisdom to turn myself over and surrender. I threw my hands in the air and said "OK! I get it! I give up! Tell me what to do and I will do it." And I did. And guess what? It worked....
I began to heal. I began to learn how to listen without ego or judgment. I learned the difference between "talking" and "doing". I learned how to sit with myself and let that be enough. I learned how to fill the hole I feel inside with things other than drugs and alcohol and approval from others. I learned that just because I am a "good person", the Universe is not obligated to hand deliver happiness to my front door. Nor is it obligated to fork over a life of ease, free of sadness and fear and grief, just because I'm extraordinarily sensitive and afraid those feelings may break me. Today I understand that if there is anything standing in the way of my happiness, it is me and only me. If I sit around waiting for all the things that I "deserve" in this life, I will be sitting until the end of time. Happiness is on the menu today....it is as simple as making the choice to allow it into my heart. I've spent the past three years learning how to live in a loving, responsible, mature, brave, and "blame-free" way. I've learned how to be grateful for what I have and to stay mindful that I am not ENTITLED to any of it. I continue to learn how to take responsibility for my actions. I'm learning how my words and choices may affect another human being and how that is ALL I need to be worrying about; it is not my job to stand in judgment of others.
Today I encourage each of you to also take a moment and acknowledge all that you have to be grateful for. Call a friend or family member and admit that you were wrong about something. Take care of YOUR side of the street and stop worrying about how others are choosing to live. Remember that we're all doing the best we can in any given moment. Rest assured that the rude waitress, the terrible driver in front of you, the bratty teenager or ill informed sales associate, the president of the United States, are all living a reality of which we know absolutely nothing about. Chances are pretty good we wouldn't want their problems instead of our own, if given the opportunity to trade. So how hard is it to extend a friendly smile, offer forgiveness, compassion or empathy?
When people ask me how I find the strength and willingness to share my story in such an honest way, I always say that I refuse to allow the shame of addiction to silence me. But the truth is, sobriety is my greatest accomplishment and I am proud to tell my story.