Friday, March 15, 2013

Seven Years

Today is my sobriety birthday. Seven years ago today, I checked into a rehab and have been living "one day at a time" since. I would not be sober if left to my own care. It was the hand of God, the fellowship of A.A., the grace of my family, and the help of professionals that has seen me through these past years. I am grateful for the many people, including other bloggers, who have helped me to stay sober.

Depression has continued to dog me. This time round, I decided to chase the shadow, to go into it and find out if it has a bottom (apparently not.) Working with a councilor, we explored using the ideas of Carl Jung, James Hillman, and Thomas Moore. Using the premise that depression is not something to be cured, but something that can be lived with, integrated into one's life. I have a constant ringing in my ear, the specialist says the ear is damaged, it will always ring. If I focus on it, the ringing loud, able to keep me awake. If I can find a way to put the noise aside it does not impact my life, I can sleep well. The same with depression, I have danced with it for forty years. When I focus on it, make those feelings front and center, I struggle. The urge to drink, to act out on the internet, can become an obsession at those times when the feelings of depression engage me. We are finding a way though this, a strange journey. I never know where the next foot hold is going to be. Faith and trust.

God has kept putting people in my life that help me stay sober. Other men who have asked me to sponsor them, have given me such wonderful gifts. The opportunity to help start and being involved in a step study for men has giving me many opportunities for service, opportunities to stay sober. My home group and our local district have also given my opportunity for service. Helping others has been the best way to stay sober as I relearn how to navigate through life.

Grateful for the members of my home group who kept on loving me when I could no longer love myself. Who endured my resentments. Who teach me what love is.

I have learned to keep no secrets, not to let the ideas that pop into my head have any privacy. I need someone I can trust explicitly so I can be open and honest. My best intentions can kill me. I had secretly unpacked my suicide plan at one point, it was overwhelming me till I finally shared it with others, then it lost it's power. I love that bumper sticker: "Don't believe everything you think"

I am grateful for my partner who stuck with me through this painful period. It has been hard on her, I have been hard to live with. My ego has needed fresh deflation, I spend more time in the service of A.A., and my character is changing subtly. All difficult for our relationship. Yet we have managed to fall in love again, to have a new relationship.

I have also discovered poetry, taking some creative writing classes. Writing poetry has become a rich tap into my emotions, allowing me to see deeply. Reading poetry shows me that I am not alone.

Jung was right when he spoke of synchronicity. I think that God conspires to use the many elements that make up our lives to draw us closer to Her or Him.

"Bidden or Not Bidden, God is Present"


Syd said...

Thanks for sharing your journey and congratulations on seven years of sobriety. I find that I must work on my attitude daily. I can so easily slip into isolating and not being available. It is my default position to forego the pain.

Grace-WorkinProgress said...

When I get stuck and my mind takes over it is usually because I think I will always feel this way. I too had a plan but usually told myself that I would wait 24 hours and see how I felt.

I sometimes couldn't see the point and felt that nothing mattered. I have given up my plan for a quick exit.

I realize I felt so bad because I just couldn't accept where my life has taken me and it is my fault.

I have finally accepted that this is it and I need to find something fun to do.

Congrats on the the lucky 7.

Annette said...

So happy to see your name pop up in my reader! Congratulations on 7 years. The depression issue is huge...I am currently learning lots about that right about that now.

flowerdave said...

Awesome !!! We are modern day miracles.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your anniversary. Reading about you fighting depression gives me hope. My partner is an active alcoholic who deals with depression on a daily basis. I follow a 12 step program but I'm about to give up with him. I know he loves me in his own way, but his way is filled with fear and confussion, he's going trough a lot and he can't see the light on the other side of the tunnel. I know I'm not the one that can show him the light. I try to fight my own demons and I let him live his own life without trying to change him. But I'm tired!

indistinct said...


A sponsor taught me to take my addicted child and put them in God's Hands. To allow God the space to do what God has to do in order to set that child free. With no expectations, for sometimes the outcome is not what I would want so I need to stay out of the way.
I use the serenity prayer a lot, also I try to live "one day at a time."

Stay close to the people of your fellowship, listen to their hope and experience, share yours with others. Much easier to carry your burden with the help of others than to be alone. My burden seems to lighten when I try to help others.

Just for today.

Anonymous said...

You said that God uses sinchronicity to help us follow his plan. Today I like that idea too, sometimes I forget he knows better than me, but trough your words I remembered.
Just for today I needed to remember.

Robert G. Longpre said...

You are so right, Henk, in using the guides of Jung, Hillman and Moore to aid you in this journey of depth. I am honoured that you chose to follow me on Twitter. Like you, I am on this journey into the bottomless depths of the soul, the psyche. Though we make individual journeys, we are not alone.