By: Marc McMahon
It happened again, I thought to myself. How could I have let this happen, how could I have possibly fallen prey to my disease when I have never felt more whole in my entire life. Did this really just happen? Is this really happening? Oh dear God why?
At what seemed to be the pinnacle of my sobriety journey I relapsed. At a time when I had never felt more purpose driven or loved in my entire life I fell flat on my face. Why did it happen? Looking back on it in hindsight there were multiple reasons, almost a perfect storm of them. Like only being able to sleep 2 or 3 hours a night for those previous few months. Then I went from my have nothing to do but not use schedule when first sober. To a jammed packed schedule full of school, work and my writing. I went from having no real schedule to speak of to being busy 12 hrs a day four days a week then coming home to study and write into the wee hours of the morning. Throw on top of that the confusion of whether or not I was falling in love with a gal I just met and all my personal insecurities around that. Coupled with a $1600 cash deposit of student loan money into my bank account at the worse possible moment and it was a done deal.
Thats just the short version of it but you get my point. I don’t use those reasons as an excuse. Simply to allow you to see a moment, through the eye of the Mind that lapsed. I should have been able to stand through it, but the fact is, I didnt. This is not something that is new to me by any means. This sort of thing happens to me a time it seems every year regardless of how strong my recovery seems to be. Regardless if I have worked the steps or aquired a higher power, or even whether I’m living in a clean and sober environment or not, it just does not seem to matter. At some point I fall and I fall hard! The only thing different about this time is the fact that it happened when I had decided to recover out loud in hopes my experiences may help others to avoid some of my pitfalls.
I fell at a time when my writing, recovery, and future had never looked brighter. I fell flat ony face in front of all, for all to see!
Can you say humility check? Take the guilt, shame, and embarassment of all my past relapses. Multiply that by 50, then add a hard kick in the stomach, followed with 2 slaps in the face. Topped off with a sprinkle of self pity and you have created the perfect cocktail. The one you drink, dig a really deep hole, and you and your shattered pride crawl into possibly never to return. And at first, that’s what I did. I was so disgusted with myself it almost made me vomit on more than one occasion. For the first time in my life I could not see the slightest sliver of good in the person staring back at me in the mirror.
It was one thing to have hated myself for the years of lyeing and stealing to get the means to support my habit. But this reached a whole new level. This time the anger and bitterness that I felt towards myself was a pain felt deep within my soul. Very, very, personal it became. I felt like I had let down not only God but my fellow man as well. People believed in me, some looked up to me.
God had put his trust in me to handle with skill and grace the task he had set before me and I had just failed miserably, or so I thought.
After what seemed to be an eternity of depression, self daubt and obliterated pride. Came an awakening of sorts in my spirit. It came after a time of prayer which for me is more like a respectful yet completely honest talk with a good friend. I asked the usual why and how could you let this happen, followed by my I’m so sorry’s and tears. When I finished my chat with God I laid down to sleep for the night and that is when it came to me. Like a thought from somewhere else placed into my mind. A thought contrary to my thoughts at the time and I knew who’s thoughts they were, his. The thoughts of my all loving, all knowing creator, father and heavenly counselor.
They don’t call him Savior for nothing and oh how he rescued me, again.
I had a choice to make. Do I continue to wallow in my self pity, bruised ego and belief that I can no longer write about my recovery with any sort of credibility? Or do I continue to do what I had been doing? Share my past experiences with all, in hopes that it might help somebody along the way? That is what I chose to do, stay the course. Tighten my belt and slowly get myself back out into this wonderful recovery community that we all enjoy. I halfway expected a backlash of snide comments from a few, questioning how I thought I was still qualified to write on such a topic and I was prepared for that. What I wasn’t prepared for was the welcome back I received with open arms and hearts of love. There was none of the judgement that I feared, no sideways remarks or criticism, just love and support from you all, my family.
So yes I relapsed, and yes I’m back.
No body ever taught me growing up that one step back was a sign of defeat. No body ever taught me that once you fall you should stay down on the ground and wallow in sorrow. No, I was raised to get up, wipe the dirt off my toughskins and keep it pushing, and that’s what I’m going to continue to do. It is my belief that not only can you rise again after a fall. But that you can soar to an all new height. That the mistake the enemy intended to use to stop you, can be turned around and used for good to stop him from doing this sort of thing to another. The rise after the fall, another tool I can use to help spread my message of healing, hope and love.
Be blessed my friends.