".... Words can't get me there. Only experience can."
I remember my parents pleading with me not to get in trouble with the challenges of life. You know, don't drink and do drugs. Don't get sexually active until you are married. Don't hang around with the wrong crowd. Several times they pleaded with me, saying: "I don't want you to suffer the way I did."
What sense of helplessness when we see a loved one heading toward a hell similar to our own, knowing that they have to go there, knowing that their only hope is to hit bottom to find the way up.
I believe that none of us wants to see anyone suffer, especially when we see them heading in a direction similar to ours. Yet, we also acknowledge that our mistakes are our best teachers. Many times, early in recovery, I heard those people in recovery, with years of sustained sobriety express gratitude for their addiction. Without it, they would not have entered into this life of recovery, this life of transformation, this life of surrender to a power greater than ourselves.
Gratitude for addiction!!!!!
Pain! Shame! Unworthiness! Guilt! Self-loathing!
This list can go on.
These emotions become overwhelming, leaving us with a sense of hopelessness, UNTIL - until we hear the complete story of a joy-filled, sober addict. Each has walked through their own hell. Each has come to the table, emotionally exhausted and afraid, and each of us is welcomed without judgement.
Most of us have heard others' words of challenge and encouragement. We have read about recovery and self-help from scriptures, from successfully recovering addicts, from a variety of self-help gurus. Yet, until we experience crawling to someone for help and becoming willing to fully experience the walk through this hell, we don't get it. We just don't get here without the experience.
Fr. Richard Rohr makes this point in his book, Falling Upward. Only from the bottom can we begin to move upward. We will all suffer. We will all come to know the bottom. Only then, will we start the journey upward. Only then will we scream the words of true Spiritual surrender:
In these words, I express a recognition of a power greater than myself.
These words fall on the ears of another person, the real flesh of my Higher Power. We the people speak the words of surrender and sobriety. We the people share the experiences of walking through hell - TOGETHER. We the people work together from the bottom up.
In these moments of falling upward, of shared experience, we begin to experience moments of rest. From our first glimmers of sobriety, we experience peace that passes all understanding. We find ourselves experiencing the possibility of restful waters. When we do, we look around and come to recognize the scars of our friends as the source of healing for our own gaping wounds.
This is it! Naked! With all the others, with scars in full view, we find ourselves beside the restful waters.
Thank you for your scars.