In Times of Joy and In Times of Pain
April 23, 2012
The challenges of sobriety are nothing compared to the hell of addiction. In fact, by allowing myself to experience life’s regular course — good and difficult — by working hard in recovery, I find that life, of course, is going to be equally painful and joyous. What’s wonderful is that in recovery I get to experience my life in the light of a loving Higher Power instead of in the shadowy depths of acting out. Below, let me tie up some loose ends from the last few months in order to come back to this above thesis. I’ve recently dealt with two important, ongoing situations pretty healthily, successfully, and on my own terms.
The first situation is that my ex-wife, whom I will now again be referring to as my wife, and I have worked our issues through. There are more mountains to climb, but that just means there are more summits to reach. I’m not saying our issues are worked out completely, but we have both accepted them, aired our respective long-term relationship needs, and vowed to work differently and more spiritually than we have in the past. Both of us. Working together. And that feels great. It’s been some time since I’ve felt this positive in our relationship and for all our difficulties, I didn’t succumb to my addiction to sabotage us. I also kept feeling the love I have for my wife as we were working everything out. That may sound elementary, but as an addict whose intimacy is under repair, I appreciate that I can feel my feelings and not deny them; especially when they’re good feelings.
The second situation is that I’m still quietly mulling over my aforementioned issues of self-sabotage and I’m being very gentle with myself on this matter. It appears to be a facet of myself — like my addiction, my rage, and my artistry — that is so deep-seated, its roots can’t just be unceremoniously yanked up too quickly. I may never get to the bottom of this part of my psyche, but with my continuing spiritual work, I can more readily face this difficult, intransigent part of me and accept it lovingly, while learning not to repeat its self-destructive patterns.
The growing understanding I have of myself and of myself in my relationship with my wife, is a blessing bestowed by the God of my understanding and is proof of the ability to spiritually and emotionally evolve through the work of my program of recovery. Having a spiritually-grown awareness keeps me in acceptance and gratitude in “times of joy and in times of pain,” a line borrowed from a nightly prayer my children and I recite. Which is where my main thesis to this share began: that although recovery is far from easy, it affords me the ability to navigate life’s cool springs and treacherous waters far more effectively and healthily, unlike when I was in active addiction. That ability to meet life on life’s terms is nothing short of a miracle.