I was pretty good at looking at my life as a sad case when I was still living in my disease. There was always a good reason why I needed to continue to drink or use. No one knew how bad my life was. You couldn’t understand me. Everyone was against me. My problems were so deep and personal no one could help me. I had so many reasons to keep on using and very few to stop.
By the time I got to recovery I, like many others, thought that my life was over. I knew I couldn’t go on the way I was going. Somehow I was able to fast forward and see what my life would soon be like and I knew that I had to stop. I thought the fun was over in life. All was downhill from here on in: no more celebrations and parties, no more reasons to laugh. I figured that I would live a pretty sad life compared to the rest of my friends. But the writing was on the wall: either find a way to quit or follow that road to an early grave. Poor me. Poor me! Pour me another!
Self pity kept me in my disease for many years. Every once in a while I can slip back into it. The why mes. The if onlys. The you don’t knows. I suffer from the disease of ‘terminal uniqueness’, a shortcoming that never lacks a reason to chuck it all and go back to active addiction.
I am grateful for a sponsor who called me on my stupidity. “You’re on an Ego Trip!” I couldn’t believe him at first, but I’ve come to realize that he was right. My ego telling me I am the worst of the worst and things can’t get better is really the same as my ego telling me I am better than everyone else and things have to go my way. The result is the same: a false identity and an incomplete picture of who I really am. What I need to do is put my Ego aside and try to look at things as they really are.
I’m learning that humility isn’t lowering one’s self. It is being, owning, embracing myself as I am, not better than or worse than anyone else. I have my strengths and my weaknesses. And I need them all to make up the person that I am today. It doesn’t make me worse or better than the next guy. I’m just another guy.
I’d like to say that I’m over feeling sorry for myself but I’m still working on it. I am grateful that it doesn’t reveal itself as often as it used to. And I’m grateful that I have learned to apply some of the things I’ve learning in recovery: a gratitude list, a change in my focus, service work and meditation. These help to keep balance in my life and allow me to see that my life can be happy, joyous and free when I work for it.