Last night I celebrated my 6th year in Al-anon. My actual Al-anon birthday is 08/05/2004, but in my home group meeting we celebrate birthdays the 4th Thursday of the month.
We call it a birthday rather than an anniversary because when we enter recovery it's kind of like being reborn.
I was reluctant to celebrate and take my chip last night. This year has been quite difficult. As I've shared in many of the posts before this one, I've been off the beam this year. I've struggled with my recovery. I've struggled with praying. I've been disconnected from the things that have kept me sane in the past.
I didn't want to get up and share last night. I didn't want to talk about my year. I didn't want to reflect, one more time, on this past year. It has been riddled with misery, tears and loneliness. This is not to say that there haven't been good things. There have been. Many good things in fact. Some things I wouldn't change...ever.
In my line of sponsorship, it's tradition that when you celebrate your birthday, your sponsor stands up for you and introduces you. Also, he/she will have picked a word or a phrase that represents or sums up your past year. The word my sponsor chose for me this year was "reconstruction".
Recovery is tedious and sometimes it's downright painful. Since May I've begun this process of reconstruction with my sponsor. We've begun working steps again and she's had me doing many things on a daily basis to get myself back on the beam.
I still struggle and I am still full of self will. I took my chip last night and I shared about my year. I shared about my marriage and the state it is in, I shared about my mother and how long she was here.She came and stayed for 4 months with me. It was extremely stressful. I also shared about losing our cousin Jacob to drug addiction. That was the hardest part. I tried to not to sound negative. There were probably six or more newcomers in the room. I didn't want them to think that life sucks once you get into recovery, because it doesn't. But, we are the makers of our own misery. I am the maker of my own misery.
I did the best I could last night and I came away from that meeting feeling empty inside. I have eleven women that I sponsor and there are days that, I swear, they are the only reasons I stay in recovery. Thank God I have them. Otherwise, I would be long gone.
I came home and felt that knot in my stomach. I felt alone.
I didn't sleep very well last night. I woke up at 6am in more misery; the ache in my chest that I cannot stand. Shortly after I got up I received a text from a woman I know in recovery. She asked me if I would come and tell my story at one of the local rehabs. It's family night and she needed an Al-anon speaker. I said yes, because I've been taught that we never say no. We don't say no because this program is given to us for free and it saves our lives. When asked to give back to help others, we do it.
I went tonight to share my story. The story of my life growing up in this disease, and my story of recovery. I was pleased to see that the room was filled with the men and women enrolled in the rehab as well as their families. BONUS! I love alcoholics and addicts. They are my favorite people in the world, so it was a privilege to be able to share in front of them.
We tell our story in a general way: what happened, what it was like, and what it's like today.
I ran out of time (my story is long), but I did get to share a little bit about Jacob. What I didn't have much time to share about was the misery of this past year. I mentioned it, but only briefly because I was out of time at that point. Honestly, I believe this was a good thing.
I needed to remember why I was in program. I needed to talk about how important program is for me. How it saved my life.
I was also able to tell my truth. My truth is that I am filled with self will. I am selfish to the core and I am broken.
But I also got to share that I am human. When I am in pain or I am obsessing over what I want and how I want things to be, I forget that. I also forget that there are people in my life for a reason. Good or bad, they are there for a reason.
It also reminded me to remember to just love people, especially the people that make me the craziest. It reminded me to take a deep breath, love people, and trust God.
God has a plan for me. He has one for all of us. I just can't see around the corners and I forget to trust that.
I'm grateful today for everything that happens in my life. The good, the bad, and the painful. I am grateful for my mistakes and my defects of character. I am grateful because I know that I can recover. I can get better.
Love and peace.