A Letter to the Relapsed

And sometimes you realize the only thing you can do is wait, —and waiting in times like this is a painful thing because (of course) we want the world and we want it now.
But no matter how fast we want something and no matter how quickly we want a change to come our way and regardless to how we want to speed up the outcome and feel better, we find out time has its own speed and it never moves the way we want it to.justice-20clipart-clipart-panda-free-clipart-images-o9pwpl-clipart

No matter what we want or how bad we want something, life happens without asking our opinion. And it’s enough to make a man grit his teeth. It’s enough to make us shake our fists at the sky. It’s enough to make shake our head, —especially when life is crucial and everything seems so damned intense, the weight of the world is on our shoulders, and the burden on our chest is enough make us explode.

And here we are . . .
We’re back at the starting point (again)
Here we are, back to square one and all we had, all we gained, and all we worked for is lost because we willingly chose to take the wrong path.

So let’s break it down. Shall we?
Today is day one. This means yesterday is still on our heels. This means yesterday is still fresh in our minds and tomorrow is at least 24 hours away.
Today is day one and all you see is the work in front of you. All you see is a hill too steep to climb. And standing at the bottom, a hill like this seems more like an unclimbable mountain. All you see is the road ahead of you and you’ve already quit because somewhere in your mind, all you tell yourself is, “I just can’t do it.”

Today is day one and day one is a bitch.

I get that . . .

imagesUP0WOOJXAnd of course, it’s a bitch. Your past is right there to remind you who you were and where you’ve been, —it’s always right there, right behind you, whispering in your ear, telling you reasons why you shouldn’t even dare, and wherever you turn or wherever you go, your past haunts you like the cheap perfume of a date gone wrong.

You want to run, but you can’t.  You don’t know where to go. And you try to run away but you just can’t seem to outrun yourself. Even if you do run, you can’t get away from yourself because no matter where you go, your past is always right there.
No matter where you go or how fast you get there, —there you are, and all your doubts, and all your worries, all of your pain, all of your fears, and all the shame you can’t get rid , all the guilt you’ve stuffed away, all the resentments, and all that decays your mind is right there, nipping at your heels, and smiling at you like an unwanted guest that won’t go away.

Eventually, you realize the only thing you can do is wait. You realize the only thing you can do is go through the pain. You see there is no short cut, —at least, not this time, and the only way out is through the pain itself.

You’re tired and you’re hurting.
I get that.

You’re done with this, right?
The pain, I mean.
It hurts because it’s real. The pain hurts because you know you can’t shake it, which is why you want to run away. Someone once told me, “Kid, you can’t save your ass and your face at the same time. So pick one.”
If you save face, the fix is only temporary. If you save your ass, it won’t be easy, but at least you can rebuild from here. At least you have a chance to do or be something else.

But let’s get back to facts.
Day one is a bitch. Day two isn’t much different. Day three feels the same, and to save you the suspense, day four, five, and depending upon the issues at hand, the beginning as a whole is a bitch altogether.

I get it . . .
As far back as I can remember, I have never been a fan of catchy slogans. I never liked the therapeutic sayings or the positive affirmations or all the one-liners that come with therapy.

Back when I entered into treatment, I sat in a room filled with others who were like me. They were exactly like me and going through the same early steps. And like me, they felt pain too. Like me, they were afraid, but unlike me, they were ready to deal with their problems, —while me, I was still looking for an easier way out.
Angry and loud, I started shouting and pointing at different people in the group. I complained about everyone and everything in front of me. I was angry about my choices (or lack thereof) and angry about my circumstances. I was angry about the consequences I had to pay and angry that I was there in a small group of people, feeling vulnerable and foolish, while being called out on my bullshit with no place to hide.
I tell you I pointed at everyone in that room and told them exactly what I thought of them. I pointed without mercy and cursed them all.

After my outburst, the therapist took control over my tantrum. In an effort to have me see things from a different angle, she asked, “Now Ben, you complain that you have no shoes . . . but what about the man without any feet?”
This made no sense to me.
It made no sense at all. I suppose this was the counselor’s way to introduce the idea that I should be grateful for what I have. Maybe this was her way of opening my eyes. Maybe this was her way of telling me that I’m lucky and that I could be somewhere else or someplace much worse. But rather than see where I should be grateful, I was outraged.

Grinding my jaw, I responded with all the hate in my heart.
I told her, “Fuck the guy with no feet. He don’t need shoes!”

I had a rage inside that was strong enough to burn the world. And I wanted the world to change. I really did.
I wanted it all to be easy, —but then again, I was at the bottom of the hill and all I could see was the steep climb ahead of me.

I tell you this with all I have and with all I can give. I am like you. I am exactly like you. The only difference between me and you is I have a little more experience. And as a result, I’ve learned a few tricks along the way.
Malcolm Gladwell once wrote it takes 10,000 hours for someone to perfect their craft. Now, I’m not sure how many hours I have under my belt and I’m not sure if I’ll ever perfect my craft or if I’ll find a way to pull off my trick, but I can say; I’m not at the bottom of the hill anymore. I’m not at day one either. I can say that it gets easier. It takes a while, but it does get easier.

I said this before and I will say it again. I am exactly like you. I want instant gratification. I want to feel better too. I want everything fixed in the quickest, easiest, possible way. I want it done now and I want it done without hurting or disturbing my life whatsoever. Unfortunately, this is not how life works.

One of the sayings I remember hating most is, “Sometimes, you just have to give time, time.”
That means time has its own speed and it doesn’t stop to ask us how we feel about it.

And sometimes (if you’re lucky) you realize there’s nothing you can do. You sit back. You replace negative thoughts with positive actions. You surrender to the moment, you accept what you cannot change, and work on the things you can.

Know what that’s called?
That’s called staying sober . . .

and that’s how this thing works

Back in the beginning there was this crazy old bastard that used to tell me, “Don’t quit before the miracle happens.”
And I listened to this crazy old man. I stuck around and waited. I waited for what seemed like forever, but there was no miracle. So one day, I fired back at that old son of a bitch. I asked him “So when the hell does this miracle happen, huh?”

That crazy old man smiled at me.
He asked, “You’re still here, ain’t ya?”
I answered, “Yeah, so?”
He put his hand on my shoulder and said, “That’s a miracle!”SEBAGO-SUNSET-1

I guess he was right . . .

Hold on kid
It gets better


I promise

One thought on “A Letter to the Relapsed

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