It’s so easy to get bogged down when life gets tough. When the world starts throwing me curveballs, my instincts scream, “Run!” This quote reminds me to keep my feet moving, not kicking. By recognizing struggles are impermanent and resistance counterproductive, I begin to break the chains of challenge.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Transcendentalism aside, Mr. Emerson notes the paradoxical principle of 12 step recovery – that through charity towards humanity, I help myself.
Early in recovery, I questioned whether my benevolent actions truly originated from a desire to help others. A man sober almost a decade told me that under close examination, all actions contain some form of selfish motivation. He encouraged me to set my concerns aside and focus on helping others, regardless of my situational perspective.
There aren’t many people more qualified to comment on drugs and alcohol than a member of the Beatles. Ringo decided to sober up despite the limelight of fame that beckons debauchery.
I still remember quite clearly how empty I felt with belly full of booze and a body full of drugs. I sought meaning, purpose and connection in alcohol and narcotics. What I found was something like a mirage, tantalizing from a distance but evaporating upon arrival.
My roommate looked at me one day and said, “You used to laugh and joke around. You don’t do that anymore.” That hit home hard.
Deep down, I knew I had turned into a creature entirely devoid of substance. No emotions. No feelings. No life. I wished for death like a drowning man wishes for a life preserver. In a way, I suppose I did die. The narcotic garbage disposal I’d become passed away, and from its ashes emerged a man brimming with spirit.
Drugs may have robbed me of emotions, but recovery restored affection for myself and others.
Sometimes I read insights from a recovering alcoholic that make my jaw drop. It elegantly describes exactly how I felt but couldn’t put into words. This is one of those quotes.
Happiness always seemed within a grasp with a head full of mind-altering substances. With it came a cunning sense of pseudo-confidence. All these flash-in-the-pan feelings vanished when I awoke the next day.
“Next time” was a recurring theme for me in active alcoholism and drug addiction. Next time wouldn’t just be different – it would be incredible! Next time wouldn’t just make me feel good again – it would make me feel god-like.
But like Heather King, all my efforts were doomed because drinking and drugging didn’t work anymore. On the contrary, it never worked in the first place. It just appeared to work.