Times Like These
“It's times like these you learn to live again
It's times like these you give and give again
It's times like these you learn to love again
It's times like these time and time again”
Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters
As I steered my Chevy 4x4 truck home tonight, earphones serenading me in place of the broken radio, one of my old favorite songs filtered through the sweet November air. I heard the initial electric riff so familiar to my ears and Dave Grohl’s light rocker lilt singing about the essence of time and the lessons we learn from the moments that we breathe on this earthly plane. The multitude of lessons that we get to glean from our mistakes and victories. The bruises, black eyes, and broken hearts. I personally choose to learn my lessons in the hardest way possible. The year 2017 will go down in the books as one of the hardest and sweetest years of my life; therefore nothing could be more appropriate than a proper thank you card to the year that turned me upside down and inside out.
I sit alone on the eve of Thanksgiving, laptop in bed, ruminating over the loss of several years of sobriety and how the fact that I fell down hard on my face is the greatest gift that I have been given thus far in 36 years of this being human. The amount of anger and sadness that enveloped me from within drove me to the edge of a cliff where the only relief was to jump or get high again. I have always been a little squeamish over heights, both literally and figuratively, and so I picked up my “drugs of no choice” again, searching feverishly for relief.
And I got none. I handed myself the gift of desperation, and somehow, in the midst of karmic agony, the Universe bestowed upon me the present of GRACE. It is an experience worthy of utter befuddlement. My human brain lacks the understanding of the willingness it takes to get sober. Where does it come from? How do some people live with addiction until their dying breath and succumb to the inner demons that I, too, possess? What the hell? Why do I get this grace? I have close family members who have perished from the disease of addiction. My father struggles daily with his own battle. And yet I have once again been given the opportunity to learn to live again, give again, and love again, as the Foo Fighter’s song so eloquently repeats in its chorus.
I started using drugs and alcohol at 14-years old. I often liken the feeling that I got the first time I smoked marijuana to the feeling of connecting with a cosmic soulmate. It. Was. Amazing. Reminiscent of when Tom Cruise tells Renee Zellweger, “You Complete Me,” in “Jerry Maguire.” I was instantaneously smitten and remained obsessed for 18 years. Eventually I peppered my life with harder substances. Constantly striving and seeking. A slow burn sort of unwitting suicide. I became numb to the world. The paradox of self-annihilation and anesthetization is that I numbed the good with the bad. I lost the ability to experience joy, peace, contentment, and solace. I was born with a big, bleeding heart that has longed to help others all of my life. In active addiction, the only person I longed to help was myself. I made a mess of my life and only knew how to function within the chaos.
In January 2014, I was graced with this enigma referred to as “willingness.” I have heard it is the main essential ingredient for recovery, rivaled only by honesty and open-mindedness. Those gifts eventually came as well and my life began to heal and become incredible. At a certain moment that I cannot pinpoint, I lost gratitude. It slowly leaked from my soul at such a pace that by the time I realized it was gone, I was high. In a flash, my world crumbled and Humpty-Dumpty fell of her proverbial wall. My ego wanted to hide it from the world. Tell no one. But the signs became incredibly obvious. The light dissipated from my eyes and my voice. My honesty became mythology. This nightmare became the gift of reawakening. I refuse to say that I have been humbled, because if I state that I am humbled, it really is just meta-humility. I will say that I have been reawakened by GRACE. I capitalize it to illustrate the omnipotence and mystique of it. I simply do not understand and find myself incapable of understanding. I am not certain of the lessons that I missed the first time around. They are important, but unknown to me. It truly is a matter of times such as now teaching me and guiding me and holding me. Times like these. In honor of Thanksgiving 2017, I let go of the need to know. Let all the way go. My heart is filled with gratitude and a magnificent prayer that those who need GRACE most tonight are the ones who will wholeheartedly receive it. And I whisper a final breath to the Universe that I may forever remember to say thank you 365 days a year.