Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Keep Going

If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill

Defeat may serve as well as victory to shake the soul and let the glory out. ~Edwin Markham

I have a friend who is learning how to live a life of sobriety.  He is new at it; he's only been out of rehab for a few weeks.  His new life is not easy.  Even a small lapse in judgement can have catastrophic results.  Discouragement is compounded by past mistakes.  There is no escape in sobriety; one must face demons by daylight and fight.  Fight.  Fight.

Sometimes I wish that I could trade places with him for one day so that he could experience a day free of the longing to escape into a drink -- so that he could experience "easy" for one day.  It is not easy for an alcoholic to be sober.  It is possible, after treatment, to make the right choices and to see the pitfalls and to plan for them and to attend the meetings and to ask for help and to keep away from triggers and to take thoughts captive and to and to and to and to...

Possible?  Yes.  

Difficult?  Hell Yes.

One of my church friends has been sober for eighteen years; he has a beautiful wife, amazing kids and a great life.  But, he has told me, there are still days when he wants a drink.  Still.  After eighteen years of sobriety, he is still tempted.  He says recovery is a process.  A long process.  And one is never "fixed" or "cured"; one is always in recovery.

It's Christmas time. Almost December.  I have two interesting, insightful parents.  I have four incredible women who consider me both friend AND sister.  I have two brothers-in-law who love my sisters well.  I have a funny, creative, and endearing niece who thinks I'm "crazy, but in the good way" and another little niece who's joyfully expected to arrive in early February.  I have a job I enjoy.  I am able to pay my bills.  I have students who encourage me professionally.  I am a little bit fat but somehow healthy.  I have a church family that supports and loves me. I have friends who help me laugh and allow me to cry.  I have a warm place to lay my head at night and as much electricity and hot water as I need.  I have a reliable car and the resources to put gas in it.  I have books to read, movies to watch, Christmas trees to enjoy (two of them!) and presents to put under the tree for my family.

It is possible for me to live without alcohol or drugs?  Yes.  

Is it difficult?  Hell no.

And for that realization, I am truly and profoundly thankful.

I need to pray faithfully for those around me who are battling demons and facing Goliath-sized foes, and I need to get some perspective.  Rejoice in my wounds and brokenness and difficulties -- because they are so small, in retrospect.  So, so small.  And God doesn't waste pain; He has been my faithful bridge over every moment of it.   

When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something's suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful. ~Barbara

Praise the bridge that carried you over. ~George Colman

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