June 2, 2012
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes, the ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.”
I heard the news tonight that a friend of mine has just passed away. He had cancer and although it really upset me at first, I know that he is now spared the pain and misery and may he rest forever in peace. I have been sitting up all night reflecting on the days we were close friends. It was during my twenties when wild parties and free flowing alcohol was all part of the fun. I am in awe of how my life has changed since then.
During my late thirties, the alcohol had started taking its toll on my health and my life. After a near death attempt at trying to stop cold turkey, I booked myself into rehab and stayed sober for the next eight years. The first thing I did on leaving rehab was to visit the local AA group but unfortunately the lack of support from my family and a personal problem I had with the chairperson, hurting my pride and threatening my ego, I stopped going to meetings. I threw myself into working flat out all day in a demanding job, returning home in the evenings to do housework and raising my two sons as a single mother. I was miserable, unhappy and lonely.
When the shit hit the fan – divorce, bad health, depression and the loss of my job – I did what any untreated alcoholic would do – went on the band wagon again. For the next six years I was in and out of relationships, in and out of hospitals and even a visit back to rehab could not stop me from relapsing. Just over two years ago, my appendix decided to take a trip behind the back of my colon and burst. It took the doctors three days and an MRI scan to pick up the problem but by then my whole system was poisoned. The next two months of recovery from surgery, carrying around a vacuum attached to my stomach, was my saving grace. I had time to take stock of my life and realized I had to take a second chance at recovery.
I found an online AA meeting and by the grace of God have been sober since. I have learnt that the drink is only a symptom of alcoholism. There are other underlying causes for my disease. So how has my life changed?
- I have a program which I follow to the best of my ability on a daily basis.
- Pride and ego has no place in my decisions today.
- I am willing to go to any lengths to keep my sobriety.
- I strive to stay open minded and honest with myself and others.
- I take any bad situation and change it into an opportunity to grow.
- I turn negative thoughts into positive thoughts which lead to positive action.
- I do not blame anyone for my wrong doings – only me.
- I have forgiven my past and learnt from my mistakes.
- I have made my amends to those I have hurt and continue to do so if I am at fault.
- I live for today and do not try and foresee future expectations.
- I tolerate those who ridicule me for they do not understand.
- I still have my problems but I have the tools to cope with them.
- I am growing a little more spiritual each day through prayer and meditation.
- I follow positive people and read and listen to motivational material.
- I try and maintain an attitude of gratitude and live life on life’s terms.
I feel blessed today. I have nothing materialistic but I have my sobriety and my sanity. I no longer live in fear and hopelessness. I know in my heart that I am doing the best that I can at this moment and this is exactly where I am supposed to be at this time and place. Outside circumstances I cannot change, but I am changing what I can and that is me, from the inside out.
So I once was a rebel and a troublemaker, I probably am still a bit crazy and others may see me as a misfit and a round peg - but I am doing my little bit to change the world. I have made my pledge:
I am responsible.
When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help,
I want the hand of AA always to be there.
And for that: I am responsible.