Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bitter Sweet

Four years ago today I started a new volume of my life, by going to rehab, and in less than 10 hours I will celebrate four continuous years of sobriety. In those four years chapters and chapters of my life have been written. However looking back on those chapters, I can't help to feel that the journey is bitter sweet.

Bitter because of the multitudes of individuals that started out on this journey with me, few have remained faithful and stayed on the path. Some have wandered of to test the waters of life, only to come back with a new resolve. Some have veered off, and have yet to return. And some, painfully to say, have left only to loose their lives. Yet, thankfully, others have stayed true to themselves and the path and have not wavered, thus celebrating yet another year with them makes it so sweet.

Contemplating this just makes me wonder why have I been so blessed. In retrospect I feel that it has it's foundation in willingness. When I arrived at rehab I was unwilling to stay sober. I was only willing to clean up my life enough so that I would have the law, and my family off my back. I just wished to regain my standing in the community, and my health, and then go back to my life as I knew it. However as I got introduced to the sober lifestyle and recognized it was truly not as bad as I thought my willingness grew and grew until I was willing to go to any length. The final keystone in my willingness was when I truly accepted the fact that I was powerless and my life had become unmanageable.

However willingness will only get you so far. As one author put it: "If willingness is the key to unlock the gates of hell, it is action that opens those doors so that we may walk freely among the living." Thankfully when I became willing to go to any length there was a plethora of individuals that had been walking the spiritual and sober path much longer than I. These old-timers, and elder statesmen showed me what actions were necessary for victory over alcohol and drugs, thus allowing me to truly open those gates wide so I may now walk with my head held high, freely among the living. Again some are still with us, some have passed on to the big meeting in the sky. Sharing yet another celebration of yet another year with all of them excites me, and humbles me. Making me be hopeful that I can return the favor one day and be in their shoes to carry the message to the next man or woman who starts on a new path of life.

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