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With Fortitude and Grace

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varkam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 03:33 AM
Original message
With Fortitude and Grace
All my life I have run from pain. Not just with sex, or alcohol, or drugs -- with anything and everything. Hell, I've even used DU to run away from painful events in my life. It's easy to get lost here, just as I suppose it's easy to get lost anywhere that isn't sitting right next to the thing you're afraid of.

The past several weeks have been some of the most painful and emotionally difficult of my life. I've lost the woman that I loved. She's getting back into recovery, herself, and she had to get honest with herself. That meant getting honest with me, and that meant telling me that she was only using me to feel validated, and that she was never really in love with me. Foolish of my heart, then, to have been in love with her. I suppose it's really only poetic justice, seeing as how I've done the exact same thing to others. Even still, that does little to fit together all these broken pieces in my chest.

I had my hearing with the character and fitness committee, to see if I can sit for the July bar exam. I prayed that morning to be able to place the principles of my recovery ahead of everything else, even if that meant losing the things I wanted. If this new life is to be built on anything, it's got to be honesty and integrity. If I have to lie, cheat, and steal my way into being an attorney, then I ought to question whether it's something I can afford to want. So I was honest. Brutally so. A lot of what I said may have cut against me, but strangely enough I didn't regret a word of what I said. I laid my head on the pillow that night and felt clean. I'm still waiting for their decision. I have no idea what it's going to be. I have no idea if the last three years of work and $100,000 will translate into me being able to speak up for those that no one else wants to speak for. The lost and the broken, the accused and the damned -- my people.

My job is also completely up in the air. I have no idea what will happen if I lose it -- how I'll pay rent, how I'll pay loans, if I'll have to file for bankruptcy, et cetera. This is arguably one of the most uncertain and painful moments of my life. And, as if on cue, women that I've acted out with in the past have come out of the woodwork to offer to assuage my pain. Well meaning friends have offered to drown my sorrows in poisons of various flavors.

But I'm sober.

I started writing this by mentioning that all my life I ran from pain. I always thought, deep down, at some level, that it would kill me. And so I had to reach for something to turn down the volume. I think it's instinctual, and cultural, too -- we're programmed to run away from it. At the height of my confusion and pain, it was three in the morning and I was stumbling through the streets trying to see through the tears. I wanted to run and hide. To find some way out. I thought of all the ways, all the escape hatches I kept at the ready.

Instead I found some trees and a creek, and I just sort of collapsed in the grass. As I lay there, I guess I finally realized something very important about myself and pain: there is no way out. There is nowhere to run, and there is nowhere to hide. All my escapes really just fed right back into the same cycle. All my choices have always just ended up creating more pain and suffering, either for myself or someone else, for the benefit of short-term relief -- but the pain would always still be there. It might harden, it might scar, but it would never really go away. When I got back from the haze of addiction, it would still be there, waiting patiently.

But to stay there, amidst the blades of grass and the moonlight seemed equally impossible. It all seemed too much for me to bear, and now knowing that I couldn't do things how I've always done them before -- on a much more basic level then when I first got into recovery -- I was at a loss. I was finally placed in that impossible situation where to be present seemed like it was going to kill me, but to do things how I've always done them wouldn't work, either.

So, for the first time in my life, I had to admit that I had none of the answers. Even when I hit bottom, I still had ways of escape. I still thought I could figure things out. I thought I could make God into being something palatable for me. I guess I finally let go of all of that.

And as I let go, as I really just listened for the first time in my life, I heard something. I had what I can only explain as a bonafide spiritual experience. There was no burning bush or booming voice, much to my chagrin.

I just had an understanding, an understanding that wasn't the result of my intellect, reason, or will. It was that I've gotten things completely backwards my whole life. I always thought that running away from the things that hurt and the things that made me afraid were acts of loving myself and taking care of myself, that to ease my pain by any means necessary was healthy. But I could see how all the choices I've made have ultimately been to sacrifice things that I valued for the sake of relief. I finally understood that to stay there, to stay in the place that seems unbearable, was an act of loving myself.

And I never, ever, ever thought I would say this, but I can only explain what I experienced as to say that I found God in that moment. I have no clue what God is, but now I have faith that there is such a creature and I can be fairly confident that it's not me. I've found myself willing to let go of a lot of my old ideas, biases and prejudices. I've been to church for the first time in twenty some-odd years. Like I said, I don't know what the truth about God is -- and maybe I never ever will. But, for now, I don't need to know. All I need to do is listen.

So I'm sober, and I realize I'm sober during one of the most painful and stressful times of my entire life. I'd love to pat myself on the back for that one. Look at how awesome my recovery is! Look at how much better I am now!

But I can't. I can just be thankful.

And I am. Even through the pain and the tears and the fear and the loss, I am grateful.

Thanks for reading. I hope you all are doing well. :pals:
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NMDemDist2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 03:06 PM
Response to Original message
1. my sweet V, welcome to true recovery
yes it hurts like hell to get there, but finally you have broken through and believe me when i tell you it gets better and better from here.


i read a poem once that had a line 'I wish you desperation' as it is only the truly desperate that can open them selves up to the power that is there all around us, but so easy to deny. I told a sponsee last week, "You gotta feel it to heal it" and it sounds like (to me) you finally are on the healing path.

you made my day with that post, Vark, thank you.

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varkam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-30-11 02:43 PM
Response to Reply #1
4. That's a good line. It's not intuitive at all...
But then again, I guess if addiction and recovery were intuitive, it would be easy. And where's the fun in that? :)
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elleng Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-27-11 05:23 PM
Response to Original message
2. Dear Varkam,
God is nature, always with us and for us to find. You've found it.


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varkam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-30-11 02:44 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. And right when I least expected it, no less.
I'm glad I found it, whatever it is.
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Kajsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-28-11 02:51 PM
Response to Original message
3. Thank YOU, Varkam!
Through your sharing and healing, you have helped
me and no doubt, countless others.


You have come a long, long way and you're well on the
road to recovery, with its bumps and all.

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varkam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-30-11 02:45 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. Everyone here has helped me, as well.
It's so good to know that we're not alone. If there's anything that I've learned through this, it's that I definitely can't do any of this by myself.
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