Hi followers and supporters!
My last post, Darkness in the Light, showed just how serious the disease of addiction is, even when drugs and alcohol aren't present. In fact, without the right tools and experiences, it can, and almost certainly will be, even worse without the chemicals. Thankfully, Intervention had me fighting, one last time, for a solution...
It was the fall of 2011. There I sat, in the first place I could legitimately call my own, and more importantly, working tirelessly on my life's deepest secrets. One of the most important lessons I've ever learned in recovery is the need to discuss those things that haunt us the most. I learned through two previous fifth steps of recovery, also known as confession, that withholding those things never allowed for a truly freeing experience.
As I went through a third round, I left nothing out. No matter how big or small, it all landed on paper. One of my biggest harms, and eventually amends, involved an old landlord. I convinced a man to rent to me as a "landlord" and I'd rent the apartments out to others. I took in the money, and I would pay him. The problem was, I never paid the man. Thousands of dollars later, and I was gone. That was a hard pill to swallow, as I had never come from money, certainly couldn't come up with thousands of dollars, and wasn't sure I would ever see that kind of money.
Through a mutual acquaintance, I passed along a message (I had called and tried reaching the old landlord myself) that I wanted to repay him. I couldn't do it monetarily, at that time, but wanted to discuss a plan, at least. The acquaintance, who I'd end up sponsoring, came back and stated the landlord asked if I'd be willing to help fix the building up. I thought it was the perfect opportunity to repay some of the debt, and agreed.
After a couple weeks, the man and his parents cut me a check. I did all I could to reject the offer and work off my debt, but all the man could say was "just keep doing the right thing and that'll be good enough." As wonderful as that sounded, I still struggled with the idea of not repaying this man. I felt horrible about the things I had done. I owed money, destroyed the place, and gave a bad name to him and others for trusting in me while I turned the building into one big party. Nonetheless, I continued to show up and do my work, bringing other men who stayed at the halfway house with me. I frequented there very often.
I don't remember the exact day, but it was in December of 2011. I was working in that man's building. I was also working diligently on the twelve steps of recovery. Medallion night had arrived. As I sat in the hallway, reflecting on a whole year of sobriety, the way the "amends" with this man worked out - instead of paying him/working off debt, he paid me in a time I had no clue how I was going to pay bills - and on the fact that I was still alive, I was overwhelmed with a sense of relief.
Relief is an understatement. Tears came, peace flooded, and gratitude took over. I realized in that moment that the obsession with drugs and alcohol was gone, and that the fight had ended. I KNEW it was over. It felt as if a wall of thousands of bricks fell all at once. The weight that left me is indescribable. There simply aren't words that can express what that feeling is like. Only experience can produce it. I can tell you, though, that I've never experienced a greater feeling of victory. And I've experienced a lot of those feelings over time.
One year in, and I finally knew what life could feel like. I knew I would never let that go. I couldn't. From that moment, I understood, maybe unconsciously to start, that my job on this planet would be to share that victory with as many people as possible. As. Many. People. As. Possible.