Six long weeks have passed since the last time I planted myself in the nourishing soil of a meeting. Why, you ask? Well it had nothing to do with lack of desire to remain steadfast in my habits of recovery, but I had the great opportunity to travel to Colombia. And unfortunately I wasn’t greeted by meetings that were held in English. Fortunately for me I stood in place of freedom when it came to a desire to drink, but then again alcohol was never my problem to begin with. Hyper-sensitivity to the world around me and how I dealt with it was always my problem. Or maybe it was my all the suffocating irrational fears I carried around with me at all times that directed all of my thinking. Others might say it was how I dealt with my earthly struggles that sidelined my spirit, and placed me into a temporary state of disconnection with God; to me it doesn’t matter now.
One of the best ways I medicate my few remaining imperfections in character is through meetings. And when I miss consecutive weeks of my medication, let me assure you that I too am not impervious to these nasty flaws in character I seem to produce by the dump-truck load if I don’t take care of my spiritual condition.
Here’s the biggest problem: I’m usually one of the last people to find.
I would consider myself a highly intuitive person when it comes to others, but that same degree of brilliant awareness doesn’t seem to work on myself and the teflon blinders I must unknowingly be wearing.
Did I feel like drinking after not attending meetings for six weeks? Absolutely not! But I sure didn’t feel like my well balanced self a lot of the time. My heart began to slowly harden and I started to view the world through a lot darker and adversarial lenses. This of course brewed up all sorts of insecurities and fears within, and then like chain of dominos I fell back to old survival behaviours I formed as a young man to keep myself safe (or so I once thought). Those unsavoury traits usually look like paralyzing fear, followed by arrogance, obstinacy and bitterness.
“Thanks for your brilliant point of view, but I’m far more intelligent than you are and I will take it from here”.
Sure, I would never actually vocalize these thoughts, but they most certainly were flowing through my mind. My mental defence strategy against the real or imagined cruel world is always blind prejudice and massive intolerance of others. Some how in my twisted thinking I think I will be more well protected if I brace myself with a ‘Fuck You’ attitude. You think after failing with this dimwitted approach several times in life I would course correct more quickly by now, but hey “sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly” as the Big Book says.
My most satisfying state of mind is peace. It’s something I try to nurture to the best of my ability very regularly, and for some reason, no matter how much I pray and meditate I can’t seem to replicate the shift in perspective that I receive from attending meetings. This mental shampoo isn’t available for purchase and can only be earned by sitting your butt down in the chairs with a bunch of like minded, solutions-based individuals for an hour. Jesus really knew what he was talking about when he said that “Man will not live on bread alone”. For me to be at peace with the universe it is absolutely vital that my spirit is fed regularly through the connection/service of others in the rooms. Now, you can try and lie to yourself and say that this doesn’t apply to you, but I assure you this will prove to be a fruitless exercise in mental masturbation.
Minutes into my first meeting in six weeks and the wires in my mind begin to untangle themselves. As the meeting comes to a close and my expression was shared, the volume to my incessant mind seems to have been reduced if not completely silenced. Today my daily bread was served with a side of attentive validation that quietly whispered “everything is going to be OK”, and often that is all I really need.