“Being sober isn’t just about not using. Being sober is about the joy a life of clarity and living by spiritual principles can bring. There is nothing greater than that. Forget drugs….. Forget everything. We are living to experience the undiluted amazement of life on life’s terms.” Tweak by by Nic Sheff
I finished reading the book “Tweak” by Nic Sheff. It was intense to say the least. It is the story of his life of addiction and recovery. There were times it was very difficult to read because I “felt” his pain. I understood his struggles with recovery. It doesn’t matter what the drug of choice, addiction destroys you from the inside out. It takes your spirit hostage first and then attacks your mind. It leaves you with a body that has been taken over by the alien force-addiction.
I am quickly approaching my 26th sober anniversary/birthday. In recovery, we celebrate our “belly button” birthday as well as celebrating our sober birthday. I haven’t celebrated the past few years. I acknowledged it and even wrote about in my blog. Please understand that I am truly grateful for my sobriety and all it has meant to my life. I just haven’t celebrated.
A certain sadness comes this time each year. Birthday and anniversaries bring reminders of the past. I think about my life before recovery. We keep the memory “green” to remind us who we used to be. The promises from the Big Book say, “We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.” We share our stories to keep the memories alive for ourselves and to share with others. We share not only the story of our addiction but also the story of hope and faith through recovery.
I am also reminded of the people who are no longer here to celebrate my journey. Before Jan died, she was such a big part of my recovery and celebrating each year. Her memorial service was held just a couple of days before my anniversary and the two seemed intertwined. I think about my “Papa” Paul who died just last May. Stan, Tommy, Mikey, Rachel, JoJo, and more all died sober. I can’t begin to list those who died because they couldn’t stay clean and sober.
I miss the people who have been through so much with me in this journey and now live so far away. Donna has been with me for 25 of those years. Cathy has been there for 22 years. One is in Vermont and the other in Nevada. Peggy, Juana, Jack, Dee, Ann, Mary, Jess, Mark and more are all scattered across the country. I know they will be with me in spirit but I want to hug them, laugh with them, see their eyes…..
I know someone is going to quote the Big Book page 449 so let me do it first.
Acceptance is the answer to ALL of my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation- some fact of my life- unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment. Nothing, absolutely nothing, happens in God’s world by mistake. Until I could accept my alcoholism, I could not stay sober; unless I accept my life completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy. I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.
I write this knowing full well that I need an attitude adjustment. I decided to write this and share it in spite of that because this is where I am today. I know what I need to do to get that attitude adjustment. I need to focus on acceptance. I need to make a gratitude list. I need to reach out and do something for someone else. Thanks for letting me share my thoughts today. Here is one last quote from Nic’s book:
“And though I have done many shameful things, I am not ashamed of who I am. I am not ashamed of who I am because I know who I am. I have tried to rip myself open and expose everything inside – accepting my weaknesses and strengths – not trying to be anyone else. ‘Cause that never works, does it? So my challenge is to be authentic. And I believe I am today. I believe I am.” ― Nic Sheff, Tweak