This morning I am going to a funeral of a young man, a friend, whose struggle with addiction was too much for him , and he was overcome. While his path of recovery was arduous, to say the least, he always remained lighthearted and jovial, in the face of his demons. But as much as we try to remain strong, sometimes we falter and the darkness does us in.
So what is my obligation, my responsibility as a sober person, in the face of tragedy? Is it cliche to feel a need to promise to draw close to my friends and family, and my community? To vow to help the less fortunate and the newcomer? To pledge to reform my character flaws and shortcomings? Why is it that in times of sadness, in the pinacle reminder of my own mortality, do I make the hardest, and often the most neglected decisions?
While it is important to learn and grow from these difficult moments in our lives, we must remind ourselves to use them as speed bumps and not necessarily launching platforms. The founders of AA knew that changing lifestyles burdened by addiction was no easy feat. Each step down the road of life is a challenge, and thus we are reminded that we cannot fix all our problems in single leaps and bounds; we are not sober supermen.
Instead, we must take away a strength to endure, to thrive in our sobriety, to fight the great fight. We must reflect upon our journey, and accumulate the wealth of our experiences, and pass on that wisdom to those who have yet to taste the bittersweetness of this disease. We are endebted to the newcomer, who constantly reminds us of our beginnings, and to the old timer as well, who points us to the promises of satisfaction and warm sentiments of being content.
And we are urged to look within ourselves and find the part of ourselves that we wish to bury with the deceased. What part of ourselves are we ready to let go of, and what part to we wish to breathe new life into? Our suffering is not unwarranted, and the pain of loss is not unfounded. We cry over the poor soul that couldn’t hold on any longer, and in our tears we see our own reflection. Perhaps, at the end of the AA meeting, when we take a moment to pause and reflect on the Alcoholic who still suffers, we are not just paying homage to the degenerate drunk in the alley. Perhaps we take a moment of silence to say goodbye to the parts of ourselves that we bury each day, and to the path of recovery we trudge, onward towards the future.
Written by: Yonah, an Alumni of Beit T’Shuvah
Tags: Relapse Prevention