There was a time where those words brought denial, shame, and anger but today they are words of acceptance, grace, and serenity.
Before I got sober my life was spinning further and further into chaos. My marriage was a glob of secrecy, lies, and lack of trust. My husband wanted a divorce; not out of lack of love but to protect himself from liability in case I hurt myself, others, or property.
I quit my latest job before I was fired. In a series of previous positions I failed because I couldn’t stay sober long enough to reach unrealistic goals. I had gone back to school but failed to finish; ending up nine credits short because I let alcohol and the fear of success pull me down. My finances were a mess. Personal and familial relationships were tumultuous. My self image was distorted and morose.
During my first time at Nova I learned much about myself and my disease but made two critical mistakes. I accepted my alcoholism on an intellectual level but not truly within my heart. Secondly, I opened myself up but not completely. Rather than practicing honesty, openness, and willingness I deferred to my old defense of lying by omission. I had become skilled at giving just enough truth without revealing my true motivations and fears. It seemed more comfortable than disclosure.
Those mistakes insured relapse. Four and a half months after leaving Nova I was back and broken. I finally internalized the truth, I am a drunk. I was more open and honest with others-and myself-than I had ever been in my life. I went on to Terra, where more growth through counselors, staff, my sponsor, and others in recovery occurred. I can’t stress enough how important others were and still are in my recovery. They’ve taught me to be true to myself, love myself, trust others and learn how to live a fulfilling life in sobriety. Conscious contact with my Higher Power strengthens and guides me on this path. The lessons have been valuable thus far, and as long as I stay sober I have a feeling I will keep learning and growing one day at a time.
I used to think that the promises were a lie; a lofty dream few realistically had a shot at. Today, I believe. Quickly and slowly, I see them materialize in my life and in the lives of those who surround me on our sober journey. What joy, what serenity!