Forgive The Drunk

Posted on April 19, 2011


As usual, a million things have happened recently that have my inner mind wheels turning.  I will try to make this entry make sense, but there are a lot of things in my head that all tie together.  At least they do in my head. 

So latelyI have been feeling as if I am in a holding pattern.  Like all the important things are sort of in process rather than accomplished, but there is no way for me to make it go any faster.  Like, my school.  School is going to be another 3 years.  I am taking as many classes as I can to finish as quickly as I can, but it is going to be 3 years.  Intervention…2 years.  Career advancement….waiting on my education.   In my head, all this waiting makes me feel like I am not doing enough.  I completely overload myself, I put myself in a position that I have to cut things out of my life because there simply aren’t enough hours in a day, then I beat myself up for not being able to do all the things I think I should be able to do.  At the beginning of this semester, I also started a third job.  My schedule was insane.  I had to make changes, and I had to decide what I could live without.  I gave up the gym and I stopped going to AA everyday.  Now I have spent this time telling myself I’m a loser for not being able to do everything.  So sometimes I get a little down on myself.  Last week, I had the opportunity to go to an AA group that I used to go to all the time.  I haven’t seen or talked to these guys in 18 months.  As we exchanged hugs and smiles, they were asking me what I had been up to.  I started to tell them all the ‘new’ things that were going on in my life, and for a moment I was surprised.  I have done a lot, I have accomplished a lot.  I have made great strides in making my future a reality and I have worked really hard.  Some of you know that I am a Life Coach and I also work as a Recovery Coach in the substance abuse world.  One of the exercises I have my clients do is make a list of accomplishments in the last 12 months.  As I walked away from my friends and sat down on the couch in the meeting room, I was going over the list I had just recited to these guys and I was amazed.  Like I really had no idea I was doing anything because I have been so focused on what I haven’t done.  But my list of accomplishments, when I really look at it, is great.  I couldn’t ask for more.  Fast forward to today…

I walk into an AA meeting at noon today, as usual I have about 75 things going through my head, things I need to do, calls I need to make, thinking about buying Royals tickets, yada, yada, yada…and the topic is forgiveness.  But it isn’t about forgiving other people….keep listening….it is about forgiving myself.  In a single moment it dawned on me, I have to forgive myself for the time I spent drinking.  I have this obsession with time, planning, organizing, maximizing.  And I realized today it is because I am trying to make up for lost time.  I spent so many years drinking and partying, years when other people were getting their education, building their careers and creating families.  I was drinking.  Acting like a fool, having the time of my life, and living without consequence.  So I thought.  Now, I have to make up for lost time. 

I listened to each person share their perspective as it went around the room, and I learned that I have to forgive the drunk.  The drunk me.  The drunk me made sacrifices that I never knew I was making.  The drunk me made different choices.   I am trying to cram a lot of stuff in my life right now to make up for lost time, and I beat myself up for not doing enough because I can’t forgive myself for wasting that time.  I can’t forgive myself for not being more conscious of the choices I was making.  The thing is, I don’t regret the drunk me.  I lived a life that most people can only watch on MTV and I wouldn’t trade a second of it for anything.  I don’t even regret the bad drunk me.  If I wouldn’t have hurt myself, pushed myself beyond my physical and emotional limits, then I would never live my life with the vigor and tenacity that I do now.  I wouldn’t know how to recognize an opportunity to be grateful rather than judgmental, to be of service rather than entitled, to love even when it hurts.   And sometimes, I just won’t be able to go to the gym.  And sometimes, maybe I will only make it to 4 meetings a week.  And as long as I can continue to talk about it, and as long as I can continue to be sober, then maybe someday, I will be able to forgive the drunk.

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