Tuesday, June 28, 2016
My old friend Hilda once described to me the day she relapsed after 6 years.
"It was just another day, I got off work and decided I wanted to drink, so I did," she said.
Followed by, "I've never been able to stay quit so long since then."
I couldn't understand how someone could give up 6 years of sobriety that easily, but then there was last week.
Just like Hilda's "just another day," last week was "just another week." Before I get you too worried, I did not drink. But I wanted to worse than I have since the early days of my sobriety. And there was no good reason, which makes me think, What if there had been a good reason?
Instead it was a week of the usual insecurities, those moments of feeling like an outsider, those moments of feeling I've not done as well as so-and-so or as much, those moments when my best will never be as good as someone else's and, really, why would I even try? Do I really want to set myself up for failure. For ridicule? What if I let everyone down?
I whined about it all week on the message boards and during chat, causing some alarm amongst those that see me as the Pollyanna of the non-drinking world, because that's usually my take on sobriety. I even whined to the cap'n.
"Sometimes I don't think you realize how hard it is. Sometimes, like right this very minute, I really, really miss drinking!"
He just told me that he "got it' which of course he doesn't since he still drinks. But he also told me how proud he is of me which helped a little.
Then Sunday morning rolled around. I've been making myself go to mass every Sunday lately, I'm not sure why, seems like I've done pretty well without it all these years. But just like when I started this blog, and just like when I decided to write the never-finished book, that inner voice-it's really not all that still, Eckhart, old buddy-has been urging me to go. Last Sunday was no different but I was steadfastly ignoring it and not feeling bad at all about it. Then, at the last minute, I decided to go.
See, I've learned that my inner voice usually knows something I don't.
The Gospel was a familiar one, the one where Jesus tells his apostles that they have to give up all their earthly goods to follow him. The priest expounded on it by saying that it doesn't really mean that we have to drain our bank accounts and donate our houses to the homeless to do His will, it just means that we have to recognize what it is we're supposed to do and be willing to sacrifice whatever is necessary to do that one thing.
Because it is the right thing for us.
I knew the one thing I had to do and I knew that I had to give up all my earthly insecurities to do it. Because it is what I'm supposed to do. The tides turned and all the missing of drinking and feeling sorry for myself disappeared. I've been riding a cloud of "rightness" every since.
It was the same when I finally quit drinking, when I finally listened to the "right" voice and did what I knew I was supposed to be doing all along. Once I accepted that, the urges and the doubts disappeared. Because it was the right thing for me.
In the last 24 hours, I have seen four people return to the sobersphere, to their blog or to their online support community, after being gone for a while. They may not know it, but they are following that inner voice, they are doing the right thing. Whether we believe in a Higher Power or not, we recognize what is right for us, we just need to learn to embrace it.
Even more, to revel in it.