Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Ripple Effect

When I started writing this blog in August of 2011, I never thought that anyone would really read it.  I mean, my life and my views on sobriety aren't really that interesting....

Ok, I'm not going to lie, I hoped that people would read it.  I'm not going to say that I have no ego at all....

In my dreams, I hoped that I was talking to that one still sick and suffering addict out there who needed help.  To their families who needed explanation as to why their loved one was addicted and why they couldn't "just stop."
It's not until we step back that we see how our actions
impact the world around us...

It's my way of paying it forward to the community of people who gave so much to me and helped me to get
through one of the toughest times of my life.  And, not the least of which, I write to stay sober myself.

It's important to understand that addicts are never "cured".  It never goes away.  I've been clean and sober since I was 17 years old.  And it's never over.



We have to work at it every day.  Which is not to say that I have any desire to use drugs or alcohol.  I haven't had one in years.  Not during my divorce.  Not during the loss of loved ones.  Not in some of the worst situations of my life.

But in order to stay that way, I have to maintain my spiritual condition and work on the steps.  The "maintenance steps" are steps 10, 11 and 12.

For those of you who don't feel like looking it up....Here are the last 3 steps:

10.  Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. 

11.   Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of his will for us and the power to carry that out. 

12.  Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, especially alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

I've posted about my commitment to rigorous honesty.  You can find that post here.

And, although I struggle with my belief in the "God" taught by religion, I have a firm grip on the fact that I'm not the highest power in my life and I do work to pray only for the strength to follow the path that I'm supposed to be on (which is, incidentally, harder than it sounds).

This blog is my 12th step.  It's my way of carrying the message.  

I thought that I had considered all of the ramifications of writing this blog when I started writing it.  I knew it would be out there forever. 

I knew that someday my children would find it (though, to be fair, I think my kids know most of what's here anyway and I don't think they'd be surprised).  And I'm perfectly fine with them reading it.  I'm not ashamed of who I am.  

I knew that if I ever needed to work for someone else, it might impact my ability to find a job.  But helping other people was more important to me than those risks.

What I hadn't considered was the ripple effect.  

I had never considered that my decision to write this blog would cost someone else something.  That my forthrightness would be held against someone else.  That the fact that I'm honest about who I am and who I've been could be held against someone that I love with all my heart.  And for that, I'm truly sorry.  

And while I apologize for people I may have hurt.  I do not apologize for who I am and who I've been.  I have no reason to be ashamed. 

We are all works in progress.  If you can look at your life and honestly say that you've never made mistakes, you haven't lived long enough yet.  And, as far as I'm concerned, as long as you're still working on being a better person, that's all I can ask of anyone (including myself).  

Just Keep Coming Back


6 comments:

  1. Hi,

    My name is LeRon and I have written an ebook called "Straight Dope, A 360 degree look into America's new favorite past time." It is comprised of interviews with drug users, sellers, teachers, counselors, people who are pro legalization of marijuana, and parents who answer the question, "Why is America so awash of drugs.?" Since you have a great site, I wanted to give you a copy so that you could read it and possibly post it on your site. I have pasted a more detailed query below. I look forward to hearing from you.

    LeRon


    Title of book - Straight Dope:

    A 360 degree look into the world of drugs


    Synopsis:

    Straight Dope is book that asks the simple question – why are drugs so entrenched in America's society. Instead of doing the same ol' rigamarole song and dance and interviewing talking heads and experts, Straight Dope gets to the heart of the matter and talks to the people at ground zero – the drug addicts whose life revolves around getting high; the criminals who profit of the misery of the addicts; the teachers who deal with the children in drug abused homes; the drug counselors that try and balance breaking the addicts cycle of addiction while dealing with the bureaucracy of government politics; the legal marijuana growers battle against tobacco companies and how to thrive in the growing industry; and the parents issue of how they will prepare their children to just say no.

    Inspired by the late great Studs Terkel's many works, Straight Dope is comprised of raw and uncut hard hitting interviews about the participants experiences, thoughts, opinions, and outlook on drug abuse, why or why not drugs should be legal, and how the government is handling the war on drugs.

    Removing nearly all of the questions, the interviews are more like monologues, allowing the reader to feel as if the subject is just, “talking,” instead of your standard interview.

    In addition to the real life accounts of people, Straight Dope also has spoken word pieces compiled of biting social commentary, as well as my own personal reflections composed of my experiences with drugs.

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  2. Awesome blog! Can't wait to read more. You are very inspiring!!!!! ; 0P do the exclamation points ruin my anonymity ? ; 0)

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  3. "I like this line: This blog is my 12th step. It's my way of carrying the message." I have struggled with the 12th step and have been through them twice. Sure I make coffee, clean up, chair, have a sol;id homegroup, etc. Maybe passing it on is simpler than I am making out to be as if sponsorship or going into prisons and hospitals is the only way. Not as if alcoholics complicate otherwise simple suggestions or anything ;)

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    Replies
    1. There are many ways to carry the message to other addicts and alcoholics. I've always believed that there is no one "right way" to stay sober. It really boils down to this... Be honest (especially with yourself), stay humble, and help others. If you can do that on a daily basis, you're working 10,11 and 12.

      And alcoholics can complicate anything... Trust me on that one. I do it well....

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    2. I never, ever read blogs. Until last night, when I started gorging on your words, I was blog-free. Now, having developed an all-in love for your process, your dorky humor and your provocative questions, I decided to check for an update (this morning.) erm...Does this last post mean you're not coming back? Can you hear the stifled terror? Jokes aside- I hope that your loved one's pain heals and, selfishly, that you are able to continue sharing your wisdom. Thank you for your words.

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  4. @Anonymous No. I haven't stopped exactly. I just kind of ran out of stuff that I wanted to say.... And the time to write... But I'm hoping to find some more time and more topics soon. Let me know if you have questions. I love answering them.... :)

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I fully recognize that this topic is kind of touchy for some people. If you want to comment anonymously, I'd still love the participation, just choose "Anonymous" from the drop down menu...I look forward to reading your comments... No, really!