Must Not Lose It

I struggle with being an addict. It is a life-long curse, never-ending. It is a constant awareness to stay away from the drug that leads to death, a constant battle to avoid the temptation of escaping from facing life.

…that wonderful feeling of euphoria that happened only once the first time, becoming instantly an elusive apparition to be chased ever-more and never caught.

I wish I could be rid of this disease called addiction, but it will never happen. It’s with me for the rest of my life.

In the AA and NA world of addiction, I am surrounded by other addicts. Some stay clean and sober, some don’t. The ones who stay the course are an inspiration to us all. The ones who drift off course are disappointments to be avoided because of the threat they pose if we continue associating with them.

Sometimes I think the world would be perfect if I were not an addict.

But that would not be true. Look at the troubles non-addicts have. There are relationship fallouts, divorces, separations, hurts and fears.

The non-addictive world is not paradise.

Addicts who relapse – like me – suffer spiritual death when they fall. A moment of instant gratification in exchange for a long journey back to sobriety from the black abyss of guilt and shame, a long climb up out of the big black hole.

It takes hard work. It takes going to meetings, having a good sponsor and keeping in touch daily if necessary, extending oneself to others by listening to them and being their chauffeur if necessary. It takes getting out of the house, getting out of oneself.

It takes love, Higher Power, platonic love, agape love, Corinthian love – patient, kind, protective, trusting, hopeful, persevering, not envious, not boastful, not proud, not rude, not self-seeking and not easily angered, keeping no record of wrongs, delighting not in evil but rejoicing in truth.

Love never fails. It is a good yardstick to use in measuring oneself…good Higher Power to live by.

When I did Step Four, taking inventory of how I conducted myself in my relationships with people, I did not measure up very well. I was quick-tempered, easily angered and often unkind. I yelled at my kids and spouted angry words at Diane.
I’m sorry for that.
I am also grateful.
I’m grateful for the good memories I have of being married to Diane for 38 years.
I’m grateful for the children we raised together, three beautiful daughters who love me despite my shortcomings as their father.

After Diane died, my daughters discovered I was smoking crack. They reeled back in horror. I would never see their children again, they said. I was a dangerous person, they said. They banned me from a family wedding in New York. They researched the definition of a crack addict and applied to me the worst of everything they found on the internet. I was not worthy of being their father and their children’s grandfather.

This is the third time I have finished rehab. A third time they have forgiven me and given me another chance.

They all have a Grandpa’s Room in their homes. They welcome me now. Their doors are open again, inviting me to come and stay, frolic with my grandchildren, spend Christmas together, dine with them and sit around the table to chat after dinner.

That’s why I’m grateful.

They might not survive another relapse. They have lived through my initial drugging and two falls.

Do I want to lose what I have?

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