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June 01 • A Failed Friend

Day 327


One year ago today, I chose hope.


It was a nearly devastating experience because I went there based on the words of others — fellows in the program, a counselor, voices from books. I was deep into my sensual liturgy that had always, always, led to some sort of acting out, usually at a massage parlor. A few days before, a therapist had dared me to treat my addiction as a friend, like the person I always looked for to fulfill any need. She dared me to have a conversation asking him to stay away.

For some reason, I chose that day to stop the ritual in the middle of a downward spiral. I even wrote ‘my friend’ a letter asking him to leave me alone, but acknowledging that he probably would not. I had been going to 12 Step meetings for nearly four months while escalating through my erotic rites with alcohol, sex, and general self-destruction.


It was a rare moment of clarity created by others speaking and me eventually listening that opened the door for trust, faith, and hope, all blending in my desperation recipe and smelling just enough like courage to try it.


I understand that this moment comes in many different ways for addicts as they reach their rock-bottoms. I was fortunate that my pain was sufficient for that trip; for many, it is the pain plus the consequences with jobs, family, and standing. Those troubles may still be coming for me, but they will not be my rock-bottom. They will simply be the inevitable bumps of life (large though they may be). My moment was watching what I thought was my last remnant of hope slipping away. It was a rare moment of courage in a storm of despair. I do not know whether there would have been another opportunity for me.


June 1 is no longer my ‘sobriety date’ as I have been far from perfect since that moment, but that was the pivot point of my life, the one that still gives me a chance to improve, and it pleases me to remember it.


There would never have been a second time for telling my addiction “no” if I hadn’t done it this first time.


–JR

 

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