– Michael, Pavillon Alumni
“I don’t know exactly when I became an addict/alcoholic, I just have to accept that I will always be one.” ~Anonymous
While I understand that reflection upon the road behind me has its value–especially when it comes to not endlessly repeating the same mistakes–I was really astounded when I heard someone say this recently at my home group. I suppose I loved the simple, forward-looking starkness of what was being communicated. I think I also recognized my own inability for so many years to remain in the teachable moment that defines the power of the First Step.
I could usually stop using and drinking–for a while. Maybe. But I couldn’t stay stopped. I had a really hard time accepting that I had crossed over that invisible line and that, having done so, I had irrevocably and indelibly become something new. This new me was marked with a permanence I neither welcomed nor embraced. I really hate it that the hardest truths in life don’t usually require my assent to be so.
I am, however, given periodic glimpses of what can happen if and when I choose to live in denial of those hard truths. Sometimes these wake-up calls come in the guise of yet one more news story about the seemingly endless supply of overdoses reported in the media. Or, like this past week, the lightning bolt can strike far closer to home when a text message notification from my phone randomly arrives with the news that someone I was in treatment with did one last one that was the last thing they’ll ever do.
That’s one hell of a way to be reminded of my still-new and permanent state of being. But I’m also oddly–and humbly–grateful for yet one more sign that, going forward, acceptance is my best bet.