Today marks four months without a drop of alcohol running through my system—and the reemergence of feelings, emotions and clarity that were once held captive by my alcoholism. I’m still working off and trying to cope with the lingering effects of consistent, heavy drinking—but overall, I feel 80 percent better than I did five months ago. I look forward to feeling 100 percent. Yesterday, I had a great work-out, and weighed myself—I was 168 pounds. One hundred and twenty one days ago I was 195 pounds and a complete mess of a person. One of the guys at AA last night said “man, you look great. I remember when you first walked in here, you looked terrible.” I appreciate the honesty from my AA brothers—they tell it like it is, and that is exactly what I, and people struggling with recovery need…blunt honesty sprinkled with encouragement and progress.
On day 120, I reflect on what one of the speakers at AA said last night. He said “people like us lug around a heavy back-pack filled with rocks. It’s our decision on how many of those rocks we continue to carry.” The comment derived from the fact that many alcoholics walk around with regret, shame and a tremendous amount of guilt due to past behavior and what is referred to as “wreckage.” The speaker was specifically talking about, when the time is right, making amends to those we hurt during our darkest hour. When it comes time to make amends—it isn’t about saying “sorry.” Sorry is a word that is used to gloss over poor decisions–and us alcoholics have a history of repeating bad decisions and continuing to inflict pain on ourselves and others. Sorry isn’t good enough. No, it’s about amending your behavior—and making real attempts to remove the character flaws that once existed. I became tired of 1) being sick and tired 2) not having the ability to have a healthy relationship 3) isolating myself 4) not holding myself accountable 5) being dishonest 6) being complacent 7) not dealing with every-day problems productively 8) losing friends and loved ones 9) not reaching my real potential 10) living in a cycle of pain.
I still struggle with the amount of denial that resided in my mind and body. How I convinced myself that no problem existed—and my wake-up call came with a tremendous loss. I ask myself, in hind-sight: “how did you not see? How did you not know? How could you? Why would you? Oh my god, what did you do?” It’s easier said than done—specific to removing rocks from my back-pack. The rocks are a burden I must carry for now—but slowly I am realizing that these are rocks from a time when I lost hope—I lost my way. I am not that person anymore—and these rocks won’t be mine to carry for long.
On day 120, I realize I still have a long way to go in my recovery—but progress has become apparent, and that is good enough for today.