12 Step Planet - Unconditional Love
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Stories about addiction and recovery, Clean and Sober life styles

written by "Mark G."

I love the writings of Hafiz. He's a Sufi poet, a la Rumi and Mullah Nasruddin. When I read this, I totally understood the unconditional love that the rooms of recovery have given me.   I came in broken, desperate, and lonely. I saw the hope, happiness, and peace in other peoples' eyes, and I wanted what they had. I envisioned the relief that I sought from the grips of a deadly disease, my inability to control what or how much I used, and the feeling of total isolation that only the substance of my choice seemed to provide relief from - even if it was just for a few seconds.  

I found out quickly that it wasn't just about going to meetings. It was dinner afterwards, being invited to my new friends' homes, and getting involved in events that groups put together. I no longer felt alone. I was finally "a part of." I had become a friend among friends. I had no ulterior motive - I just wanted to stop the suffering that I was causing others, praying that I could stay straight for another day. I always ran from pain and toward pleasure. But, this was a new way of life, one beyond my wildest dreams. And I knew that I couldn't do it alone.  

When I first cleaned up, I was in Connecticut. My first sponsor had me over to do some step work and to eat with with him at his house. I was at the end of a bad run and at last - someone believed in me! At first, I figured that he must not have been sane because he left his wallet and jewelry out. While in the grips of my disease, I was an opportunistic thief. I'd take things from my employers, friends, and even family. Yet... he gave me a chance. He'd been there, and gave me a chance, just because he understood.  

I ate ravenously that night. We had steaks off of the grill, and it seemed like the most incredible meal that I'd ever had. I could not believe how he bent over backwards for me and treated me like a human being - not the liar, cheat, and thief that I knew that I was. At the end of a long evening, I was nearly in tears because I was so grateful. I had nothing to give back to him, no way to pay for any of the money that he'd spent in making the day one of peace and happiness. I was new to the rooms and promised him that I'd pay him back once I was working. He looked me in the eyes, smiling while he told me to keep coming back and to pass it on to someone else that needed help when I was able. He wanted nothing but to stay clean and help me to do the same. Was it really that simple?  

After being in the program for years, I know that this is how this works. I can say that there are a number of people in my circle of recovery that would do anything for me, just as I would gladly do for them. True friends, people that genuinely care, working together against a disease of heart, soul, and thought that's cunning, insidious, and powerful. I am clean today - and so are they. But, it's only with each others help, combined with unconditional love each other and those around us. I still have a hard time with loving everyone, but I'm doing a little better as each day. I'm terrible at holding resentments and judging people around me. I know that others treat me with the same kindness, patience, and pity that they would a sick friend, so I should be able to as well.  

Thank you for being a part of my recovery.
I couldn't do it without each and every one of you.

Mark G.