It's Sunday, I am sitting here tonight on the floor -- that's where I always sit, I love the floor, and I don't know why, but here I am on the hard floor feeling rather soft in my heart -- candles are lit, a hot reishi elixir fills my mug, and once again I am called to write, and once again, I feel rusty.
I've been sober for 321 days, that's the 1st thing that comes to mind. The 2nd thing that comes to mind is the relapse I have just come out of. I didn't relapse on a substance, I relapsed in my 'ism's'; my obsessive, controlling, manipulative, self-centered, fear-based thinking. One day I felt good, the clouds were parting, joy was entering my soul, love was beginning to fill my heart, I was finding a home in surrender, and then it happened -- relapse. I suppose I became complacent. My "work" was shelved, it became secondary -- and I justified it all in that "I'm not really that much of an addict, I did after all escape before I hit rock bottom, before it became unmanageable". It's amazing how deep self-denial runs, how convincing the stories we tell ourselves are, even when we know they are untrue. It's all to easy to believe the bullshit that comes out of our mouths -- for me that's the case anyway.
All was becoming smooth in my life, the forest fire had rendered me totally aware that my agenda was useless, and that life was in control. The forest fire combined with the journey into sobriety opened my eyes to the power of surrender. All was becoming smooth, I was going to my 12 step meetings, I was spending morning and night on my knees in prayer, I was reading the assigned readings, and I was busy working through the steps. That's the self-care protocol that works for me, and as I have discovered, any divination away from that prescribed way of living results in a wild and uncontrollable mind; my life ceases to operate smoothly and I find myself in a constant state of disharmony, control, worry, and obsessive fear. In other words, I find myself obsessing about... well, myself.
I think fear is one of my greatest character defects; fear of never measuring up to my potential, fear of being unworthy, fear of lack, and scarcity, fear of success -- fear of failure, fear of money (oh my good heavens, this one I could obsess on for days and days and days), fear of being left behind -- abandoned, betrayed -- fear of people being mad at me.
It's fear, fear, fear.
It's self. self. self.
I obsess about it, and left unchecked, I can fall quickly down a deep rabbit hole of self-pity, and darkness. I suppose this can be categorized into many character defects:
and ... control.
I can not handle when people are mad at me, I get stuck in a loop of worrying about the tomorrows rather than focusing on the here and the now, I find the lure of darkness almost irresistible, and before I know it, I become an emotional wreck.
I isolate, anxiety rules my mind and heart, I can't distinguish up from down, I cancel social plans with loved ones in order to hide away because the thought of being in the world pains me to my very core.
It's total insanity.
Unmanageability at it’s finest.
I have known this about myself, but I have not experienced it sober. Sober is so strange, and so beautiful, and so, so, very hard.
This is where I have been the past 2 weeks. One day the clouds were parting and life was finally becoming smooth, and the next -- well, chaos in my mind had broken out, and I was too caught up in my own stories, dramas, and denial to find my way out. I had taken back the reigns of control in my own life, and had become obsessed with micromanaging, manipulating, and controlling life in order to fulfill my own agenda, as if to say that I know what’s best for me.
If there is one thing I am learning in this shell-shocking journey of early sobriety, it is that I do not in fact know what is best for my soul. My agenda and life's agendas are different -- slowly but surely, I am learning to abide by life's cosmic plan.
But of course there are the days (or weeks) that I forget to abide by life's plan, and control sneaks in, and off kilter I fall. Thank God for the humans in my life who know my subtle quirks, and can gently remind me that potentially a 12 step meeting, or a yoga class just might be good idea. They of course remind me at a great risk of my old knee-jerk reactions where my back get's up, my chest puffs out, and I become cold, distant and defensive. That happened over these past 2 weeks. It did, and looking back at it the next day with an emotional hangover at my unkind, and unloving response was humbling to my ego. It was painful to see with such clarity how my shadow side acts out. No wine to numb it, no vices to scratch my itch -- just raw, humbling, painful, clarity. This blessing of clarity results in self-awareness, and so I find myself constantly apologizing, owning my mistakes, and cleaning my side of the street. It's not always graceful, it's sort of messy, deeply vulnerable, and takes real, true loved ones to stand by me as I move through these growth pains. I feel like a teenager sometimes, it's new territory to navigate. I'm still a bit shell-shocked.
I'm grateful for my people, I'm grateful for the ones that truly see me, truly 'get me', and have the patience and love to not only call me out on my shit, but offer a shoulder to cry on when I'm totally exhausted from this journey.
It's hard on my ego when I hear my loved humans tell me to get to a meeting, it's painful to know that I'm an addict, it's a super hard pill to swallow. It's easy to look at other addicts and see that "their sobriety has to be placed as #1", that's easy to see, after all they have the disease so much worse than me.
That's been my story.
As of this past week, I have become aware that my story is wrong, a new veil has been lifted, and I can see a little more clear.
December 22, 2016 was the day that I knew I needed help, I don't know why I knew it, but it was as if a voice came to me and said "Kor, it's time. You cannot do this on your own. This will kill you", and I listened. I don't know why I did -- I personally believe that it was the sheer Grace of God that saved me. I embarked on this journey, shaking in my boots, and really, really, really hoping that I was not an alcoholic. Maybe it was a phase, or maybe I was depressed, or maybe, just maybe it could have been anything other than alcoholism.
It wasn't anything but alcoholism, it was just that: alcoholism.
For 321 days now I have been totally shell-shocked. 321 days ago my life totally changed, 111 days into this sobriety journey everything I thought was stable burnt to the ground, and at about 298 days I had my 1st relapse, and it was so sneaky, and now that it is passing I can see with significant more clarity how it is that my mind works, and more importantly, what it is that I need to stay grounded, self-connected, sober, and spiritually fit.
Like any self-care protocol, it's got to be tended to, without it the self withers, and for a human like me, that withering is fatal. I cannot become complacent. I know that I cannot eat food allergens; they make me sick. I know that I cannot drink alcohol; it makes me sick (mentally, physically, and spiritually). I cannot surround myself with drama, and dysfunction; they make me sick. I have learned that I require sleep, regular exercise, healthy food, supplements, and healing elixirs. I need a balance of alone time mixed in with social time. I need to create, I need to work with humans, and I need to focus my energy on being of service.
I am now learning that there is another layer to my self-care ritual -- this is the layer that has been missing all of my life, the layer that sobriety has gifted me, the layer that withers quickly when ignored; this is the layer of trust, surrender, and the willingness to give up control.
I know in my head that this is the step that my soul needs, trust me; I have overthought the life out of this step. But this is a step that cannot be thought of, manipulated, or adjusted in anyway. This is the step of pure faith. This is the step where I renounce the proposed agenda that I think "ought to come true", this is where I must practice -- day-today -- the motion of falling to my knees in abidance that, "God's Will Be Done". -- I'm not religious, but "God" is the easiest way for me to simply articulate this message, elaborating on this point would be an entire novel all to its own, so I'll keep it simple, and refer to my Higher Power as "God" -- I also like: Creator, Universe, Magical Unicorns, JC, Buddha, whatever, you get my point. Somewhere along the line, likely between dancing endless hours under Mother Earth's finest Burning Man Skies and feeling the sensation of love enter my heart, I became complacent in my work, and I began to (ever to sneakily) filter life with my agenda, and my hopeful manifestations. This was where the tightrope balance became tricky, and I tripped, and I fell.
I can't articulate this journey too much more than sharing my stumbling blocks at this point. I'm still too shell shocked, speechless, confused, and also in awe, and reverence.
Life is a strange journey, and I am grateful to live it. Sobriety is a ride, and I’m grateful to have a seat.
Today I know that my sobriety is #1 for me, I know that my self-care rituals keep me sane, and enable me to show up to the world. Today I know that my spiritual fitness is totally key to my wellbeing, without it, I am lost, and my life becomes unmanageable. Today -- although a bit bruised in my ego, and shell-shocked -- I am humbled in the greatest way by this enormous gift of sobriety that I have been given.
Today I am living moment to moment, tonight the candles are beautiful, my elixir is now all gone, and I am still sitting in my floor. Tonight my heart is soft, open, and vulnerable. Today was a good day.