WHAT IS MY GREATEST GIFT OF RECOVERY?
By O.R. Marv
Switching gears here a little today family, today’s post won’t be as fitness and health specific as usual; however I do feel very strongly about what I am about to say. This is a question I think we all should think about, especially when we inevitably have those moments of feeling tired, irritable, and discontent in our new lives.
WHAT IS THE GREATEST GIFT YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN AS A RESULT OF YOUR RECOVERY PROCESS?
Well before I can answer that let’s give a little background first.
Whenever I was young and fantasized about the “perfect life” it always included a private island, lots of fancy cars, beautiful women, lots of fame, etc. Never in my “ultimate daydreams” did I ever think about having self-esteem, self-worth, or a true internal identity. Hell, all that materialistic stuff would give that to me right?
Well, when I came into the rooms of recovery I wasn’t worried about finding that “perfect life.” I was simply looking for a way to stop the insanity of having to drink and use even when I didn’t want to. All I cared about was staying alive, which was not a guarantee for me, given the rate of drinking and using I was doing on a daily basis.
I was a train wreck – if my existence was a class called LIFE 101 I had definitely flunked it. Hell I didn’t even show up for the final exam.
I was lost, broken, afraid, and angry.
Luckily I had managed to make it back after yet another “secretive” relapse in which within a matter of weeks I was right back to being too afraid to live yet too scared to kill myself. Previously that had taken me years to get back to that point, so my disease was definitely progressing.
I knew I was beaten and beaten badly by my disease of addiction. All those theories I had about how things would be different had failed. I knew I had to truly surrender to certain 12 step fellowships I had merely been “dabbling in.”
NOTE: 12 step fellowships are not a requirement for a clean and sober lifestyle but they absolutely are for me.
I didn’t know what the result would be if I surrendered to “the program” – but the fear of change no longer outweighed the fear of pain so I was finally willing.
I had bounced in and out of the rooms for some time – well let me clarify – my SOBRIETY bounced in and out of the rooms – I stayed; but I took “dirty” tokens, worked “dirty” steps, and held “dirty” commitments.
Fortunately I finally found my GOD in 2013 – the “Gift Of Desperation” - I was finally able to do all the things I knew I needed to do to save my sanity and my life.
I quit my job, moved all my possessions into storage, went to treatment for 4 months where I got honest, and I actually worked on myself for the first time. I finally had the courage to face my core issues. Once I transitioned out of treatment I worked all 12 steps; I got into the solution instead of wallowing in the problem.
As a result of doing so, I learned some valuable lessons I was completely unaware I was needing to be taught.
It’s so clear to me now how not having any sense of an identity or value even from a young age plagued me my entire life and led me down the path towards active addiction. My self-worth was based on what other people thought of me so I was doomed to a life of seeking attention to feel good about myself. My lack of self-worth led me to a life of self-sabotage because intrinsically I wouldn’t allow myself to have anything nice. In my core and my unconscious I didn’t feel I deserved anything positive so I wouldn’t allow myself the joy or success that I should have experienced.
I was like that farmer at the market with his apples for sale. I would set my apple cart up oh so nice – each apple individually polished, each blemish hidden, forming a perfect pyramid that was sure to attract countless customers. I would finish all my hard work, step back, admire it….then kick the wheels out from underneath it, sending my apples flying! I couldn’t explain why I would do this – but every few years I would kick the wheels out from beneath me and my life.
My low self-worth would re-surface time and time again – yet I would fail to recognize what was going on. No, I embraced all of my self-sabotage because I got to feel like a victim. Feeling like a victim would allow me to sit in self-pity, allow me to feel sorry for myself, then allow me to feel entitled to do whatever I needed to do to make myself feel better (more often than not continue my self-sabotage with drugs and alcohol).
All of that is my “what it was like.”
My “what happened” like I said before was finding my GOD and then completely surrendering and working all 12 steps.
My “what it is like now” is this:
Slowly but surely I started to feel a little bit better about myself. Slowly but surely my sense of self-hatred and loathing started to ease up. Slowly but surely my need of validation from others started to disappear. Slowly but surely I was recovering and I didn’t even know it. Slowly but surely I was given a gift I don’t think I ever possessed, even as a child – the gift of self-worth.
That gift – and for me it is a gift – has completely changed my life.
I allow myself to have positive things in my life today, I allow myself to have a unique sense of identity not contingent on something or someone, and I allow myself to not be constantly seeking validation from others.
Now, it wasn’t like I just woke up one day and BOOM! my self-worth suddenly appeared. No, it was a process in which my esteem-able acts and work of the 12 steps started to add up.
Slowly but surely it developed and continues to develop, so long as I am spiritually fit and making my recovery a priority in my life. Slowly but surely I am started to accomplish things I never once thought I would ever do as I no longer self-sabotage. Slowly but surely I am living that life I can be proud of as I no longer need validation from others. Slowly but surely my gift of self-worth allows me to avoid toxicity in my life. Slowly but surely…I am recovering.
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST GIFT OF RECOVERY?