Christmas brings up a lot of memories and emotions for me as my family and friends commune with food and gifts and celebrate life. I am so amazed today as I reflect on this past year and feel loved, comfortable and joyful. I have spent many holidays with bitterness in my heart and in overwhelming fear. Today my heart is open and my life has become filled with new opportunities. I would never have guessed this life for me nor could I have made it possible. I know that what did make it possible was some amazing women showing me how to be a woman of integrity and to walk with grace, my family that is my rock and teaches me to never give up and that no obstacle is too large to overcome, my recovery community that doesn’t kick a man when he’s down and welcomes every person with open arms, and my husband who continues to forgive my shortcomings, shares belly laughs with me and treats me with dignity and love as his partner in life. In and through all of these is God who is loving, forgiving, gentle, frank, powerful, and ALWAYS present.
This year I’ve found a slower pace to life. I finally learned that I cannot do everything and even admit that I don’t want to. I don’t need to solve anyone’s problems nor am I able to. I took a small step back from the front line and let the rest of the world hash out their troubles on their own. I was of course ‘nudged’ into this support role with an injury and some pain that prevented me from doing a few things. Funny though, I don’t think I missed out at all. My year’s been super full and I have come to enjoy the down times so much that many of my rougher days have been the ones where resting just wasn’t an option.
Anger arrived this year. I didn’t count on recovery bringing both positive and negative feelings to the surface, but it did. I figured I had enough depression and angst, so getting clean and sober would just add happy stuff. Well, I was wrong. I found out that I can be quick to anger and once angry a cycle takes over that I’ve yet to stop. It runs its course as a kind of tantrum and I emerge with an emotional hangover and a few apologies to make. I usually become upset by all sorts of little tiny things that just aren’t going my way. Then, I blame someone for all the hardships in my life. Then, some yelling and tears and finally the emotional melt down. The truth is I can see that I work myself up to these ‘episodes’. I generally am over tired and in some physical pain to begin with that I don’t admit or take care of. This leads to me feeling sorry for myself, which leads me to self-righteous thinking and to believing that I’m not getting what I need from anyone or anything. Finally, I land right at irrational anger. Oh boy. Where did I get the ball rolling? It’s easy to see on paper. Probably should have just put some ice on my neck and napped for a half an hour. Ha!
I continue to see that I love love love people. As far as I know, the energy I get from enjoying the company of friends and family is like no high in the world. I can remember the opposite being true just a few years back. The mere thought of family gatherings made my stomach turn. I didn’t want to face any of them. I was filled with shame and guilt and fear. Today, I am inspired and awakened by the people around me and this year was packed with loved ones gathering and celebrating: Easter, my wedding, birthdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and any old day in between.
Most of all, a bit of stability has entered my life in 2011 and it feels so good! I’m not bored. I’m less tired. My life has more options than ever before. I am showered with love on a daily basis. I know pain and don’t have to suffer. I am provided for no matter what, no matter what. Most things I recognize as neither good nor bad but just as they are. A wise woman had me write down and carry with me this quote, “It is what it is and that’s just the way it is.” I don’t have to wonder or ask why tragedies happen or why some people seem to have it so easy. I just don’t know and never will. God knows and God is good. I truly believe that everything in this world happens for a reason and that my purpose is in the acting and the giving, not in the thinking or receiving. No reason has been reason enough for me to take a drink or drug, to bury myself in food, to cut my own body, or to hide in an institution. My options today are wide open, but my solutions are God driven. One day at a time, all year long, all life long, I will continue to seek.