Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tough Nuts

No, not those kind. Get your filthy minds out of the gutter right now. Shoo. Scat. Sheesh.

I'm talking about the sort of tough nuts I was forced to crack in early sobriety, when every slogan I heard was like a knife through the heart or a two by four up alongside the head.

One of the toughest was, "It didn't matter what had happened to me throughout my life... all that EVER mattered was how I had reacted to it."

I was outraged. What, in God's name, do you mean "it didn't matter" what had happened to me? Of COURSE it mattered. After all, I am just a product of all those events, outside of myself, which had shaped and molded me into the f*cking mess I had become.

In other words, it was all somebody's fault, G-damn it, and it certainly WASN'T MINE!!! Life wasn't something that had happened "with" me... it was something that had happened AT me. As though I were just some innocent bystander, sucked unwillingly into the slimy mess my life had become.

Bzzzzzt. Wrong. Thank you for playing. We have some lovely parting gifts.

Even in childhood which, admittedly, I wasn't exactly in charge of (despite my best efforts to the contrary), I had not reacted... ahem... "well" to events as they unfolded around me.

But even admitting that I had been a "victim" as a child, of the alcoholism of the so-called adults I lived with while I was raising me, the fact is that those adults were long since dead yet I had continued to live in denial, and overlook all of my own transgressions, by hanging the blame for everything on them.

They were very tough nuts to crack, having to own up to my idiocy.

To this day I have to keep reminding myself that it was my very best thinking that landed me in recovery. I didn't just drop in one day because things were fabulous and I thought I'd check out a 12-Step meeting "just for funsies."

No, that 12-Step meeting was the last stop for the trainwreck called Ron. After that there was homelessness, mental institutions, jails and, if I was lucky, death.

Even at that I only grudgingly accepted God's Grace ("Grace: the unmerited love of God") for the first couple of years of my recovery. I used to sit in meetings arrogantly wondering why God would so cruelly keep me alive. As though God's will, even for me, was any of my f*cking business! It was several years before I finally, FINALLY started being grateful for God's grace, rather than resenting it. (Truth be told, although I mostly let God do the driving these days, I admit that I often sit in the passenger seat offering helpful suggestions as to which route to take.)

And when I actually started feeling grateful for God's grace, it finally dawned on me that ever since my first day in recovery, I had been reciting these words every single day:

"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference. Thy will, not mine, be done."

Thy will. Not "My will." Tough nuts.

I have changed.

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