When we are out there deep into our addiction we do things, unspeakable things that we would never have done had we were not under the influence. Lie, cheat, steal, manipulate, get destructive and abusive just to name a few. When we first get sober and look back at our actions, we are usually overwhelmed when the “guilt gates” open up and flood us. Before I go any further, let me tell you that if you allow that guilt to consume you, it will have you drowning in a bottle just as quick as anger and resentments will.
I know all too well that when my actions caught up with me, my first instinct was to grab a bottle to forget. My sponsor told me that there would come a time when my biggest screw up’s would become my best assets. Of course I looked at him like he had nine heads when he said it. Some of the things that I’d done in my active alcoholism most would deem unforgivable. When people said I turned into a monster when I was drunk, they were NOT exaggerating. Trying to throw my child out of a window, not remembering my wedding night, manipulating people to the extreme, the list goes on and on and on. I thought to myself, how in the hell are those things going to become assets to me? I don’t want to remember them, I wanted to FORGET them.
As time goes on and recovery progresses, you’ll learn that you were not a bad person when you were doing the things you were doing, you were a sick person. Your disease was in full swing, and you would not have done those things had you been clean and sober. Your sobriety will put things into perspective and you will begin to see your self as the person that you ARE not the person that you were. You will also learn to forgive yourself for your actions which is very important. What I’ve just said may make sense to your, but you’re probably thinking, “That still doesn’t explain how my screw ups will become my best assets.” Well, allow me to explain….
It’s a known fact that an alcoholic can not get sober on his / her own. It’s impossible. But when you put an alcoholic in a room full of other alcoholics, they help each other to stay sober because they all understand the struggle, the pain, the cravings etc….They understand the things that people who do not suffer from the disease don’t. This is where our screw ups come in handy. We can use the worst of the worst of our screw ups as examples of where our diseases took us, how bad it got, then share how we got sober and how our lives have changed. We can also use those screw ups on ourselves. Forgetting the things we did, the pain we caused, the havoc and mayhem is dangerous for us. In recovery, we learn to forgive ourselves and let go of the pain, but we need to remember where we were and how bad it got in order for us to never go back to that place again. THAT is how our screw ups become assets to us.
No matter how far down the road you have traveled, no matter how bad things have gotten in our alcoholism, there is always a way up and out. Using our screw ups as learning tools will help us to build a strong foundation and enable us to move forward in clarity and sobriety. Alcoholism is a disease, while we are in recovery, we are in remission. If we do not do what’s necessary to keep ourselves healthy, the disease will once again take over and it will kill us. As long as we use the tools given to us, we stay in remission and live happy and productive lives. That is why we do not regret the past, nor do we wish to close the door on it.
AJ Menendez, Master Male Illusionist
January 8, 2015