Friday, April 18, 2014

Good Friday Is My New Beginning

On April 17, 1987 I had my last drink. In 1987 April 17 was also Good Friday. This is a very symbolic day for me – my AA birthday; the beginning of the death of my ego; and Good Friday, the beginning of the Easter weekend. Rarely, however, since Easter is a floating date, does April 17 actually fall on Good Friday. This year is very, very close.
I am so very grateful to the God of my understanding who touched me with His answer to the prayer I prayed in abject desperation looking at my kitchen counter and Who provided me with the most addiction-knowledgeable physician in the Kaiser Permanente HMO. As I went to my first AA meeting, I experienced in that Fellowship His Love and Acceptance in a visceral way I had never known before. It began the transformation of my life that continues to this day.
In Chapter 9 of my book I discuss how difficult it is to verbalize spiritual transformation. As I tell my story in that chapter [How the Bible became the Bible, Infinity Publishing, 2007, (pp. 175ff)], I wrote of my Easter weekend in 1987: “…That weekend my attending physician told me that had she seen my blood workup without seeing me, she would have assumed I had recently arrived from Biafra, Bangladesh, or some other ravaged Third World country. ‘I cannot recall seeing potassium levels this low. Have you had a problem with muscle cramps—especially in your legs?’
“Involuntarily, I winced remembering what I could of the last six months. Three or four nights a week I would be forced awake by pain. I would down a jigger of vodka and in a cold sweat I would beat furiously on my calf muscle. But no matter what I did, I would watch it grow to the size of a softball while my foot twisted and contorted until it looked like a preserved bird’s claw. Lordy! Did that hurt!
“‘Yes,’ I replied, ‘I’ve had some problems with muscle cramps.’
 “… I still relish, most mornings, the simple fact of waking up, rather than coming to. I still feel overjoyed sipping my first cup of coffee and remembering last night’s conversation, rather than staring into a black void in my memory, forcing down some coffee laced with vodka, and hoping I wouldn’t gag.
“It’s hell to be dead inside and thinking all the while, ‘This is life!’ It’s hell trying to time your drunk so that you can just make it to bed before you pass out or fall over comatose on the couch embarrassing your daughter and her friends. It’s hell to dread answering the phone because it’ll be another bill collector. Or to let mail stack up, unopened, for weeks because it’s bills you can’t pay, or ‘deadbeat’ letters, or some other form of bad news.
“Bad news. ... Bad news. ... For me, plain and simple, that’s what reality had become—bad news. So I drank my vodka to avoid it, and I avoided it well. I avoided people. I avoided my children. I avoided bad news. I avoided all news. I avoided life. I avoided reality. I avoided everything except my vodka.”
I am a miracle. As of this writing, I haven’t had a drink in 27 years! My visceral sense of who I really am – an already-loved eternal spirit currently having a human experience – is still growing and maturing. My ego still reminds me, though, that it’s here, and when I succumb and follow its dictates, I get a form of the sinking self-loathing that I felt each morning while I was drinking. Sometimes I say to myself: “When will this horrible feeling ever leave me?” Then I remember that these feelings cause me to recall what it was like before sobriety and the sense of the Spiritual that AA promised would happen – IF I worked the Steps thoroughly and with genuine honesty. I believe what AA promises as a sense of the Spiritual and what A Course in Miracles (ACIM) discusses as a growing sense of Holy Encounter or Holy Instant are descriptions of the same transformative occurrence.
Today, I am so very grateful to the God of my understanding for always being there for me, for loving me and speaking to me through the acceptance and vocal chords of those in the Fellowship, as well as those that respond to these weekly messages.
So, I’m sending this message to you on this Good Friday rather than on Saturday evening or on Sunday, as I normally do.
Although these messages are mostly for me, thanks for listening. As always – feel free to forward this message to your friends, family, and those accompanying you on your spiritual journey.
#3 April, 2014

Copyright, 2014

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