Recovery Bytes

Spring Cleaning by Erinne L.

It’s spring again, and let’s just say life hasn’t been all roses and butterflies of late. In fact, the last two years have been pretty daunting, at best. In 2012, I lost 9 people including my dear Dad and former sponsor.  2013 wasn’t much better, though nobody up and died on me…I started to die on myself.  And this was at ten years sober! I started wanting to hurl knives at people who cheerfully quipped ‘This, too shall pass’, or ‘yeah, I recall years 9 through 11 as being rough, you’ll get through’.  Yeah, right…you aren’t living MY life.

The itty-bitty pity committee morphed into a full-fledged and horrid Board of Dictators wanting me to fly off the bridge with a middle-finger salute to the universe—all while screaming, “See what you’ve all done to me?” Huh. Sounded like I needed a recovery deep cleaning…and not just a bit of dusting and sweeping.  Though I didn’t want to drink or use (Thank You, Higher Power!), I just didn’t want to go on in this swampy morass of mud.

After a particularly rough day, I called my sponsor in a clump of self-pity and depression, sobbing like a child. I rarely sob to anyone, let alone her, but I was at wits end, with nowhere to hide. I proceeded to get a nice big fat butt chewing, and a list of ‘suggestions’ –kindly disguised as requirements. I wanted none of it. Yet I forced myself to do it…all of it, because I knew she was right…this disease wanted me in exactly the position I was in; hurt, depressed, angry, resentful, pity-seeking, isolating, unmotivated and so off-the-beam that the Board of Dictators had a committee.

Fortunately, I had just the shred of willingness (and pain) left that there was nothing left to do but roll up my sleeves and start taking her suggestions. I got to meetings and called her every day for a week. (OK, I missed one day).  I got back into step work with one of my sponsees and did some service work for my home group.  I restarted my recently spotty morning readings and threw in some extra prayer and meditation.  Back to the basics, and surprise! It’s working!

Most of us in recovery hit rough patches, sometimes short, sometimes longer, with varying degrees of pain and challenge, and therein lays the growth.  Am I willing to learn and grow from these experiences?  I had better be, lest I be ‘Spring Cleaning’ my jail cell, hospital room, or the scrubbing baseboards in the Housekeeping Department of the Great Unknown.

My gratitude has returned, and I have stayed sober, despite myself.  Certainly there’s much more buffing and polishing to do, but I’m thankful today that I have the tools and chose to use them.  I have a great sponsor, a wonderful, supportive network, tons of meetings to choose from, literature, and enough open-mindedness and willingness to get back to work and clean the rust out…One day at a time.  I am also grateful to have a strong relationship with my Higher Power who has carried me through the dark and scary forest, when I can’t seem to do it by myself.  Alas, the flowers are budding now, and the sunlight has returned, slowly but surely.  So, if you find yourself hitting the wall of challenges in your recovery, grab the gloves, roll up those sleeves and get to work.  Spring is a time of renewal and I guarantee that you and your recovery are worth it! Spring looks so much brighter when you use the tools, clear the weeds and plant some seeds!