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All I can be is just me... Here I am for all to see, love me or leave me alone.

Criticism Mirrors Back to the Critic

I did not know what it was with me, for the past few days I felt angry toward a few newcomers that didn't act as though they were willing to go to any lengths to stay sober. I wanted to cut them out of my life completely because of how irritable and frustrated I had become around them.
I was sure it couldn't be ME... If it was, I justified it as having hit my breaking point with my own codependency issues and shouldn't talk to so many newcomers.

I distanced myself and found no reduction in the level of disgust that was brewing inside of me, I realized this was in fact MY issue, and I had inwardly become a judgmental, critical, bitch.
I was talking about these people to others, I was negative, and I assassinated their character. That is NOT me, I became more angry, that's just not my style, I am a better person than that. These people viewed me as a friend, a confidant, a mentor.

The feeling in my gut was clammy and cold, I was so full of shame, I couldn't believe that I could have allowed myself to fall back into such horrible habits. I was sick to my stomach for what I had become, I did not sleep that night, the next morning I woke up suicidal and depressed, angry with myself about not being able to identify the why and carrying the guilt of my actions. I went to my regular meeting, we read Step 1. People with time began to share, "not wanting to forget where they came from" and "we are here for the newcomer, we've been where they are".

I crumbled, broke out into tears, not only was I reminded of just how sick I once was, but awakened to how sick I still am. A newcomer was sitting next to me, she wrapped her arms around me, put her hand on my head like a mother to a child and said, "You are going to be alright". I tried to pull away, she said, "Be still, feel your feelings, this is what you have taught me, just breathe and stay in the moment... FEEL, DEAL, HEAL".

I was as grateful as I could have been. She wasn't one of the newcomers that I felt frustrated about, but she spoke for all of them in that moment. Those words that she whispered in my ear were not original, they were not MY words, they were the words of those who came before me, those who helped me when I was new and taught me how to be of service to others, they didn't judge me, they loved me when I did not have the ability to love myself.

Once I had a chance to reflect, I realized that I was not only angry with people for doing exactly what I had done in the past, but I was jealous of the fact that they were doing it. Once more, I was watching people engage in behaviors that weren't conducive to their recovery, and I found that I too, was engaging in those VERY SAME behaviors myself.

During this epiphany, I heard a man say, "This is the only disease you'll have that will TELL you that you don't have it!"

I'm an addict in recovery today. I have no excuses to offer, simply amends to make, apologies for those who saw the evil and negativity of my disease rear it's ugly head, and radical changes need take place in my behavior, my attitudes, and my spiritual health.

Reflecting Back Brings Gratitude.

In the first year, I was out of my mind, I was all over the place, I was desperate to feel better, it's all a blur to try to recall today, but there are a few who can tell me stories... Oh boy, can they ever!

The second year was better, I was able to maintain, I regained all I had lost, materially. I forced myself to be "sane" among my peers outside of my program. It worked, or people learned to embrace my insanity, not sure, but I made it through. I became ill and was out of work for 3 months, I had several surgeries, and came through with no family, few friends, and never fully recovered physically. Recovery from my addiction took a back seat to my health.

The third year into the forth life evolved, my ego blew up with financial success. In my eyes, all was perfect, I was happy and all I needed was someone to share it with... I found a sick relationship that was a horrible relapse for lack of a better description. All of my old behaviors and shortcomings rose above my financial status, and in no time, I was homicidal, suicidal, and defeated. It is a miracle I did not pick up, as I had almost no recovery in my life at that time.

I returned to meetings, dug out the books, the phone numbers, got right back into the middle of the program. I became ill again, shortly thereafter. Surgeries were needed, I procrastinated as my career and recovery was more important than my health, my plate was full, and I was hesitant to trust the doctors. Eventually, it became medically necessary to operate. I lost my job and health insurance before it could happen, was ill which deemed me unable to receive unemployment compensation at first. I was forced to leave a beautiful home and move to a state where there would be help available to me. Back home where I got sober in the first place, back to where it all started, and although my health issues are compounding, although I haven't be able to receive all of the resources I need, I am getting well in my recovery again, because I did NOT pick up in times of adversity, I did NOT pick up in times of crisis, depression, rage, excitement, or celebration.

In my fifth year, I am clearing up enough to recognize when I am going back to the hot stove again and again, repeating the old behaviors, the insanity. I recognize, however still a defiant addict, I am not always willing to stop, even when there is great pain. I never saw my behavior before, it's sick, and I see it now and THAT is progress. I am not riding ever bus til the wheels fall off today, I am not showing up to every fight I am invited to. I have a choice today, I can fall victim to my disease or I can employ the tools and the gifts given to have a defense. I have let go of some sinking (friend) ships, I have opened my heart and allowed myself to TRUST those who have been conducive to my recovery. I am working on me, unselfishly, and well deserved. My plate is full again, this time it's full of recovery, and I love my life.