Road to Recovery
“Autobiography in Five Short Chapters” by Portia Nelson
Chapter 1: I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.
Chapter 2: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I PRETEND I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I am in this same place, But it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.
Chapter 3: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. It see it is there. I still fall in. It’s a habit, but my eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.
Chapter 4: I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
Chapter 5: I walk down a different street.
This reading reminds me of the definition of Insanity by Albert Einstein: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”. Like – how many times did I tell myself after a day/night of heavy drinking and subsequent horrible hangover that I would never do that again? How many times did I make a promise to my God that if He got me out of the mess I had gotten myself into that I would never get drunk again? Too numerous to mention and I couldn’t keep the promises I made. I would justify my drinking by telling myself that if s/he hadn’t said or done that, or if you had my problems, you’d drink too, etc.
I would berate myself for doing this repeatedly and wondered why I couldn’t get off the treadmill of doing the same things over and over again. That hole in the sidewalk (alcohol) removed my feelings of self-worth and self-esteem and left me feeling useless, worthless, less than and a person who even I wouldn’t want to be around. When I became sick and tired of doing this, I prayed and cried out for help to my God to show me a better way to live my life.
My prayer was answered when a co-worker friend of mine with 9 years of sobriety saw the pain I was in and took me to my first meeting. I was relieved to learn that I wasn’t a bad person trying to be good, but a sick person trying to get well. This made so much sense to me that I admitted I was an alcoholic and that my life was unmanageable. At first, I choked on the word, alcoholic, until I learned about your struggle with this disease and it was pretty much the same as mine. For the first time in my life, I finally fit in with a group – a group of alcoholics who got sober and helped others to get sober by sharing their ESH.
What havoc is/was that ‘hole in the sidewalk’ playing in your life? What or who helped to get you onto the Road to Recovery?
I’ll be interested in reading your shares on this subject or on anything else that is happening in your life that you’d like to share with us.