Falling Together


“Just when it looks like life is falling apart, it may be falling together for the first time.”                 …Neale Donald Walsch
     I was a little more than a year into recovery when I broke my leg. I remember thinking, while I was lying there waiting for the ambulance, ‘This is going to change a few things!’ I ran my own business (a Bed and Breakfast Inn) and did most of the work myself. A couple of weeks later my relationship that had been limping along for several years finally ended. I thought, ‘What the hell, is this going to continue?’  My ‘go to’ for keeping myself somewhat sane was going to about 12 meetings a week and driving my motorcycle to out of town meetings. That wasn’t going to be happening for a while. The final thing was that I had already started the process with my doctor of weaning myself off of anti depression medication so I was ‘phasing’ every once in a while
     For the first month or so I was pretty much confined to home. I hired two people who were also in recovery to help me do all the work at the B&B. My mother and my ex pitched in when they could as well. And it was all working out fine. My sponsor came to visit as did other program friends. We had meetings around my bed at first, and later in the living room. Friends lent me some recovery literature. And I survived.
     I also learned several things. I learned that I didn’t have to do anything alone if I didn’t want to. I learned again of the generosity of people. I learned that things didn’t have to be done ‘my way’ to be done ‘properly’. I learned that my ‘perfectionist’ ways could be a whole lot more flexible. I never heard one complaint that I didn’t make the muffins or that the bed was made wrong or the bathroom was dirty. Everything got done just fine.
     I learned that while I wasn’t all that happy with how my life was at this particular moment, I was learning in recovery to play the ‘long game’. I might not see exactly what was happening or why it was happening, but I could trust the process and know that all was happening as it should. And I learned that I could survive and stay clean and sober even when the wheels fell off of the cart, or in our case, the wagon. Finally, it was at this point in my life that I began my journey deeper into spirituality and awakening.
In the time since that epic month of August in 2012, everything that came apart, came back together. After a couple of operations, a hard cast, a soft cast, walkers, crutches and canes and a month of physiotherapy, my leg healed.  A year later the business sold and I moved full time to Costa Rica, which had been a dream of mine. I haven’t had the need to return to medication for depression and I am still in recovery. There was a lot of change in a short time and a new me emerged from the ashes.
     Other momentous things have happened since in recovery. I now tend to look at them as stepping stones on the path. Some I have liked and some I would have preferred to avoid, but if that’s the next right step, then I take it. I’ve learned to trust my Higher Power and the process. My life fell back together in a way I couldn’t have imagined. I am grateful.

Changing Allegiances

I didn’t realize it then, but in working Step Three wasn’t doing anything different than what I had already been doing. In turning my life over to the care of a Power greater than myself I was continuing to do what I had done for years. I always had a power greater than myself only it was the god of my disease: alcoholism and addiction.

My life was commanded by my desire and need for alternative substances in my body. I couldn’t live life on life’s terms. I couldn’t face the world without altering my mind. However, this power greater than myself wasn’t interested in caring for me. It was only interested in more and having its needs satisfied and it’s cravings met. This power was a monster that took over my life and my mind and recreated it in its own image. It got to the point where everything I did, all I thought about was feeding the god of my disease. I had turned my life and will over to the care of this higher power but it wasn’t benevolent. It wasn’t life giving. There was no care. My disease had a huge appetite and it wanted it satisfied; it cared little of me. It gave me a life beyond my wildest nightmares.

Step Three: Made a decision to turn my will and my life over to the care of God as we understood him. 

So in working through Step Three I was changing allegiances. I made the decision that my disease would no longer be my higher power and ruler of my life. I decided that my disease was not a worthy higher power any more. I decided that I deserved better than it was giving me. I finally saw that it had promised abundance in my life and ended up taking away everything it had promised. I needed a new Higher Power.

I decided to turn my life and will over to the care of a Higher Power. In the years since, my life has changed drastically for the better. This is not the jealous, covetous, demanding and mean power I once adored. It is one that presents me with opportunities to grow in love and understanding of it and of life. It opens up my interactions with others. It gives me hope. Together we are creating a life that is more balanced, peaceful, loving and kind.

As I grow in recovery I have discovered that my understand of my Higher Power is changing as I am changing. I don’t know exactly what that Higher Power is. I’ve discovered that to try to define it would limit its power, so I get my understanding of it by looking around and seeing what it does in my life and the lives of those around me. In recovery I’ve discovered a new way to live a life which really does present me with freedom, happiness and serenity. I’ve finally discovered a Higher Power that delivers on its promises.

Leave the Drama Behind

When I was in my disease it was so easy to be the barstool philosopher, solving the enigmas of the worlds of religion, politics and people. Through tyraids, tears and sometimes both, I fought for my beliefs and ideals in order to create a utopian world. “We need to…” “We ought to…” “I’m going to…” Of course, I needn’t finish the phrases because they were as empty as my resulting actions. Nothing ever came of it. The next morning I would be in such a fog that I would be more interested in an immediate hangover cure, if I remembered anything at all, that is. And soon I would be onto my first of the day and a repeat of the vicious downward spiral I had fallen into.

In recovery I can leave all of that outside drama behind me. Initially, just staying clean and sober was my focus. It didn’t matter what was whirling around in the world, it was all I could do not to start again. I went to plenty of meetings, talked to other members and read our literature. Gradually the drama toned down. Once I stopped, I had money to pay my bills. I did the work I was supposed to do; I started to become a responsible person and my life became more manageable. I slowly began to see that the huge problems I thought were insurmountable were actually a result of my using. The people around me suddenly became more reasonable, even personable. Stop the drugs and alcohol and my life calmed down substantially.

Take away the drama and my life became more balanced. Oh I still have bouts of mania and depression, but the swings aren’t so broad: I’m more centred in my self, my relationships and my world. Things aren’t so extreme. It’s not the ‘absolute best’ or the ‘most dismal failure’. I can look at things in a reasonable perspective and see them for what they really are. If I find myself caught up in the tornado of life, a talk with my sponsor will often help to calm the winds. The Serenity Prayer reminds me of the little I can control and the rest? Well, I’m learning to let go of it.

The suspenseful drama slowly gave way to a melodrama and today it’s more of life adventure. I awaken refreshed most days, ready to face what life offers. I trust that I will make it through whatever comes my way. I know that I have the backing of my Higher Power and my recovery program. I try not to worry about tomorrow or fret about what happened in the past. Live in the moment. One day at a time.