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.