“I am grateful to be a recovering alcoholic” can sound preposterous, ironic, self-righteous, if not self-serving. Yet many cursed with chronic illnesses discover that their afflictions reveal profound insights, deliver unexpected opportunities, and bestow unimaginable peace.
Why so? When disease or calamity strike, we are thrown off course. Devastated and powerless, we may sink, rebound or reset. Once in recovery via the steps, clinical therapies, spiritual quests, and (not to be dismissed) personal resolve, we wrestle with the weight of our woes (sink), our desire to restore our lost selves (rebound), or divine higher meanings for our lives (reset). The process is erratic, taxing and inspired; it ends only with our last breath.
Recovery resides in the spirit, yet we live in the din of a crowded, fraught world. Our society, technology, culture and economy pack howling hurricane winds – all of us grasp frantically for footing, squint for our bearings. As my alcoholism peaked, my grip failed and the tempests destroyed me.
- I am grateful to have lost valued totems and prized assets.
- I am grateful to have lost esteemed rank.
- I am grateful to have lost grand aspirations.
- I am grateful to have lost cherished loves.
- I am grateful to have lost hope.
These damages silenced my life, stripped me of self-assurance, shattered my false self. I treasure the quiet. When I strive to manage the noise within and around me, the quiet arrives, and in the quiet comes grace. With grace comes patience, then wisdom, followed by a spirit of generosity that impels action, igniting the virtuous cycle of recovery.
I cannot be grateful for my recovery without first being grateful for the devastation that stifled me. Thank you, Lord, for loving me to my last reserve.