Saturday, July 25, 2009


I awoke this morning at four, sick to my stomach and longing for a fix. I was Jonesing. Longing for something to mask the pain for a while. Something to distract me from the fear and doubt.

Loathe to lose what duration of sobriety I've managed to accumulate, I wrote. Writing creates a pause between urges and actions. During that inky pause I can talk some sense to myself, feel some connection with God and offer myself some healthier alternative. These are times of self discovery, peace and revelation. Fortunate to have learned the efficacy of this method, I always turn to it to avoid the crash and burn that would be the inevitable other option.

Life causes pain. We get mistreated. We get hurt. We seek means of coping. It's like getting a broken leg in the wilderness. We splint it as best we can. We scrounge around and obtain something for a crutch and we hobble along hoping to get back to civilization and relief. We see fellow travelers with no crutch, who even hold our need for one in derision. We become disgusted with our need for a crutch so we throw it away. Of course with the next step comes a collapse, more pain, self pity, self disgust. We are falling behind. We must catch up, so we pick up the crutch again and hobble on. We might even seem to catch up. But then, time and again, we think we're better and tossing the crutch discover we just can't get along without it.

Eventually, we give up trying to keep up. There is nothing for it but to stop a while, attend to the wound and let it heal. Surprisingly, someone is willing to stay behind with us, or carry us along carefully enough to let us heal. Then at long last comes the glorious day when, healed, we get up and go forward pain free. No longer needing the crutch, we leave it behind without a thought.

Still, we are in the wilderness of life though. Still there is the threat of more injury. Still, if we let it, fear, can cause us to reach out for the security of that crutch. My leg is no longer broken. But in a fitful sleep I had imagined that it might soon be and I wanted my crutch. I had leaned on it for so long. It had learned to depend on it through so many miles of misery. It wasn't a comfortable old crutch, but it had been reliable. It was always there for me. I longed for my old crutch.

So, I write. I tell myself how glad I am to be free of the crutch. I remind myself how willingly God healed me. Me, an undeserving, rebellious, faithless addict, He healed. I show myself how disgusting that old crutch really was and how far back I'd have to go to get it. I persuade myself that fear must be dispensed with, replaced by love and trust.

Last night at recovery meeting another traveler reported of an enormous personal crisis she'd endured, how she'd overcome through prayer and carried on, rejoicing. She was shown that the larger the obstacle the greater the blessing.

As I wrote, God showed me the multitude of times He's been there for me. The many times He's helped me through. He helped me realize that I own nothing and that I've got to release my strangle hold of stuff. He encouraged me to step bravely into the darkness, trusting that enough would be revealed to keep my footing sure. I suspect if the light were actually cast upon my future I might fear it more than the darkness. "Nevertheless, I know in whom I have trusted..." I feel it in my heart.

This little writing exercise is about putting God back in the driver's seat. It's about sitting comfortably beside Him without wishing I had my own steering wheel, parachute equipped ejection seat, or at the very least, a brake on my side like the Driver's Ed teacher used to have. It's about surrendering my will to His. It's about reminding myself that I trust Him. After all He has never let me down. It's about remembering that my sober life is every bit as miraculous as Peter walking on the water. And about remembering why I and Peter are able to do so. It is about realizing that I'm looking at the wind and the waves instead of at the Master of ocean and earth and skies. It's about trust, love, faith and obedience. It's about knowing why I chose to come here in the first place. It's about the risk and peril, but it's also about freedom to choose. It's about putting fear, doubt and Satan aside. It's about stepping back into the arms of His love.

And so, I remain sober for yet another day.....

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