I have been living in the past. The pain of my last relationship has stayed lodged in my heart and mind like a cancer. The moments of abuse, anger and pain, when his fists connected with my bones on a deserted beach, and his hands pushed me and held me hostage in our little house…. his mouth screaming obscenities and insults… Thinking of it makes me feel the ache of a still-healing wound on my heart.
But I know it's time to love again. That sounds a bit dramatic, doesn't it? But it's the simplest way I know how to put it. It's time to trust again - not just other people, but God and myself as well.
I didn't realize how much fear of failure and intimacy that I've been living with until I started dating my current boyfriend. He is sweet, patient and one of the most open-hearted people that I've ever met. He expresses his emotions with a passion and clarity that I can only dream of possessing. His openness has shown me just how closed off I have become since leaving my aunt's house.
But I don't want to live with fear and bitterness. A hard heart is not something that I want to possess. But the truth is, I haven't been going to 12 Step meetings as regularly, working the Steps as often with my Sponsor, or even praying daily. I have let being back on the mainland and leading the busy life of a working college student take a toll on my spiritual condition.
So in consequence, the past two weeks I have again been consumed with cravings for alcohol. They come with a ferocity and a persistence that terrifies me. I catch myself daydreaming about being drunk and having fun drinking with friends. I suppose there's a part of me that still hasn't surrendered to the understanding that my life is completely unmanageable and I am an alcoholic.
Really, these cravings are just showing me the holes in my spiritual life where I am putting my ego in charge instead of my Higher Power. I have to constantly remind myself that these cravings are a testament to the incredible strength of my desire to be free and connected with my Higher Power. My Sponsor has been telling me that since day one - my cravings may seem like they're specifically for alcohol, but when I truly analyze what my underlying desire is, what I really want is to feel relaxed, safe and free, not drink poison and blackout. I just immediately think that its alcohol that I'm craving out of years of practice and an alcoholic mind.
Anybody else facing the same issue? Cravings and frustration? I know I can't be the only one…
So if there's others out there that are feeling the same way as me, this is what I have done to stay sober these past nine months.
1. Remember why you got sober in the first place. We all did it for a reason, and it was probably a good one. Ultimately, we get into recovery to follow our hearts and learn to love again. This is a worthy fight, and not to be given up on!
2. Find something to carry with you to inspire you. I keep my chip with me in my wallet at all times so I can take it out and look at it when I want to. I like to reread To Thine Own Self Be True, which is printed on the coin. I also carry the 3rd Step prayer with me. In my mind, I hold the memory of swimming through the clear, warm waters of the Pacific Ocean, my hair flying out behind me and the sea carrying me easily back onto the sun-baked sand. It's a memory that reminds me of my own purity and connection with nature.
3. Read recovery literature and spiritual books. Never underestimate the power of words! I get so much of my peace and strength from reading a chapter in the Big Book or the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. I'm also currently rereading Easwaran's book, The End of Sorrow. I highly recommend it. It has changed my life.
Like I said before, we can't forget that staying sober is a worthy battle. It's like something out of the Lord of the Rings, and its our responsibility and privilege to lead the way in spiritual consciousness.
“Love doesn't hide. It stays and fights. It goes the distance, that's why love is so strong. So it can carry you all the way home.”