Ah, sweet surrender, the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. I’ve always thought of myself as a fighter — I’ve had to be. Then, in the wake of some sweeping changes I’ve made in my life in the last three years, I had to come face to face with my limitations and give myself over to a higher power. I had to tackle the third step.
Yeah, I’m a friend of Bill. I’m glad to be. It’s brought a peace and focus to my life that I hadn’t ever had before. The rooms have been good for me and have helped me to shift my focus away from my pity party and on to more important things. My husband and kids are far more important than anything else in the world. Now I can appreciate them so much more than I used to. Life is simple, but not easy, and it’s good.
I’ve also had to learn to let go of some people in my life. It’s not that I did a friendship spring cleaning and said, “Peace, out!” to anyone. Not at all. I simply had to acknowledge that I am powerless to change anyone other than myself. I love my husband, but I cannot change him (don’t really want to…). I love my kids, but they have their own unique personalities that are only peripherally influenced by their parents. I love my parents, but they drive me bat shit crazy. I have dear friends in my life, and I see some of them careening into miserable existences — and all I can do is watch. What I can hope to do is to write my story, my truth, and maybe someone will read it and the light will go on.
I have a dear friend in NYC who is one of the first friends I had from the Program (I will not mention her name, but I hope she reads this). I met her years before I went to my first meeting, but I cannot deny that her example was always there for me in the years that preceded it. In my darkest moments of depression in the last 3 years, she’s been there with a kind word and encouragement that I could get to the other side safely. She was willing to listen and willing to share her experience, strength, and hope with me. She is my cheerleader and I am one of her biggest fans. She is a huge example of how it is impossible to know how someone you meet will impact your life in the long run. I thank God for the day we met. Love you!
This is another scary admission for me. My sobriety is a great gift to me and to my family and friends, but it is scary to talk about it so openly. This is the bravest thing I’ve done, openly admitting that I have a problem and I’ve taken steps to tackle it. I have a disease, but I am not my disease. Through God’s grace, I am able to be a living example of what we can all be if we want — healthy, whole, and happy. Yes, I am, for the most part, happy — for the first time in a long time.
I used to think I’d be happy when… (fill in the blank). At forty I found myself with all the trappings of a “successful” life — a house, two cars, and a whole bunch of stuff I thought would do the trick of making me happy. I was always living in the future, the “everything will be better when…”. Ironically, that’s when I realized that I was the only common denominator in my misery. There was no outside person making me unhappy. I was making me unhappy. I had a full set of designer baggage and I needed to unload it. Rather than face myself, I turned to every quick fix I could think of, every available band aid for my gunshot wound. It wasn’t until I looked up and saw my life was on fire that I made the decision to change me. It’s been a long painful road, but I can see that it was the right one. My life is my own now and now I can share it with those I love. I no longer have to give myself away to find myself. I’ve been here all along.
I can do things for me and not feel guilty. I can give my family what they need and not resent them. I can listen to other folks’ problems and not focus on my own all the time. I may not be the most awesome person in the world, but I can be the most awesome me in the world. All I had to do was give it all away — the stress, the pain, the depression — and know that it would all be okay. And it is okay today. I am okay today.
I will put my head down to rest tonight (soon, I hope, to make up for the 2 1/2 hours of lousy sleep I got this morning!) knowing that I’ve done my best today. Tomorrow, I’ll try again. It may sound Pollyanna, but it works for me. I just gotta be me!
Let it go. Let it all go. Give it away to the higher power you believe in. God has held me in the palm of His hand for so long. I know He will never abandon me, and I trust that I will get through anything with His help. I’ve been to Hell and back, and I’m still alive. As long as I get up in the morning, I have a shot at life. I can’t be anything but grateful.
Peace and love, my friends. I love you all.