Ahhhh. What a great couple of days I've had! On Sunday, I took my sister grocery shopping, out to dinner, and to a meeting. She's been back out for a few years and every moment of it has been sad. But, it's also been a miracle. I'm thankful that I could learn a few lessons vicariously through her and not destroy my life in the meantime. I'm also thankful to know that it doesn't get any better when you go back out. Not that I didn't know it to begin with, but it's definitely something that has been proven time and again by others.
Being able to do things for her, like she did for me when I was in early recovery, makes me feel really good. Not only am I helping my family, but I'm also giving back help that was given to me with no strings attached. Seeing her begin to climb back out of the hole she has created is a blessing; and being able to be a part of that is a miracle.
On another note... Each wednesday for the last 4 years I've attended an after-care group at the treatment facility where I did my inpatient treatment. Basically, we sit around (with a counselor) and discuss our issues in recovery and talk with the people who are just finishing up the 28 day program about any issues, questions, or concerns they may have. This week an unusual topic was brought up by a former sponsee of mine. She said, "What happens when the pink cloud is gone and you're not happy with being sober anymore?"
Ummm, Huh? I have always understood the whole theory behind the concept of the pink cloud - happy to be sober, waking up feeling good, worries behind you, nothing can hold you down, no bad will happen now... But, I can't recall ever feeling that way. When I got clean and sober, I felt like shit. I was withdrawing from benzo's and had slight tardive disknesia from some medication to help with all of the mood swings. I've always understood that life will always happen and that just because I've rung the bell and decided to clean up my act, that life will still happen just the was it is supposed to. Bills will need to be paid, people will be angry with me sometimes, some will die. Never did I have that euphoric feeling of everything being all rainbows and butterfiles. Don't get me wrong, I was happy with life; but I never had the idea in my head that life was going to work out perfectly and that all my problems would disappear.
I really had to take a step back after hearing her say that. Perhaps it's because of "who" said it, but I'd like to believe that I'd have this response no matter who would say it.
Each and every day that I'm clean and sober, I'm grateful that another miracle has occured. Being able to stay around and hear things like, "Don't leave 5 minutes before the miracle happens" makes me realize that this really is the life for me. I finally fit in. I'm finally part of something biggern than myself. I'm finally the person I was meant to be. It truly saddens me to hear that someone thinks the other path of misery, guilt, and shame is a better way to live. Deep down I know it's a misconception. I know it's that part of the disease that never totally disappears that you need to battle every day. I know it's the easy way out. I decided 4 years ago that I wasn't going to take the easy way out anymore, that I'd choose to do the right thing instead even if it was difficult.
Every day I choose to stay sober. I choose to treat people as kindly as I'm capable of. I choose to go to a meeting. I choose to go to work. I choose to pray. I choose to call my sponsor. I know that there will always be an alternative and that as long as I'm willing to do what is right above all else, that I'll be living a good life.
To end for the night, a counselor I once had always asked a trick question. "What is the reward for living a good life?" And the answer is, "A good life."