Yesterday, I met with a friend who was in treatment with me. He’s had a couple of major surgeries and his health is improving but has a hard time walking around. We drove to see another friend. She was working but she took a smoking break and came out to talk to us.
That was what we used to do. They’d get up at the crack of dawn to drink coffee, read the newspaper, and chat. Me? I would sit with them for a little while and then go wake people up to practice yoga. I had a wonderful time talking about life and our mutual friends.
Later that day, I visited the treatment facility where I was about six years ago. I saw a few familiar faces at the open meeting they have there. I introduced myself to a few people, and made new friends.
I saw my old self in the dressed up patient trying to look good for the visitors, putting on a brave face while in the meantime being scared and not even knowing it. This is the place where I learned to start speaking from the heart instead of trying to impress people with my brain. This is where I began to stop thinking that I had to be everything to everybody and that I am only responsible for my behavior. I learned to take responsibility for my actions and stop playing the victim role. And I can still do that most days.
Out of the 40 plus people that were there at the same time, I know one who has stayed sober the whole time and that’s not me. I relapsed five months after leaving treatment and got back into the rooms in March 2010. Four more are sober now but it’s hard to know where the rest of them are.
I try to come to this place once a year to remember how it was and where it can go if I stop working my program of recovery. I shared in a meeting last night that I made the decision six years ago to remain a beginner so that I would never feel like I know it all again. Knowing all was a heavy burden I carried for many years but I have remained free of that burden for over five years. I don’t have to play God anymore and for that, I am grateful.