By: Ben Rose
LIFE IS NEVER JUST ONE THING OR THE OTHER
As dramatic as that classic line from Bill Jack is, as fatalistic as the 15-year-old character sounds, the words are simply not accurate. Life is not always, or ever, just one thing.
Some people share that they don’t have a happy place in recovery meetings and social media sites. According to them, there has never been a happy moment that they have found joy. Sometimes it seems to a person that for all the damage and pathological torment that they have suffered, there truly never has been anything good.
I’m not saying that I know everyone’s life or circumstances, but my experience tells me that everyone has had at least one or two instances in their life where they experienced pleasure. It is almost a comfort to find sick satisfaction in the horror of one’s existence in recovery, especially early recovery. For sure, there is a great deal more attention received when one waxes pessimistic and melancholy. Addicts will do almost anything to help others feel better.
What is true is that life is a balancing act. It is good, it is terrible, but there is a place in between those two. If one is honest, life wasn’t always one extreme or the other, even in their addiction. At least in my experience, it was never one or the other.
IT’S THAT JOLLY SEASON
2021 is winding to a close, and many minds are turning toward comfort food and shopping. For many addicts, the mind might also be drifting toward recalling earlier days with spiked eggnog and brandy – not the ruined holidays, and worshiping the porcelain throne memories, either. For me, anyway, there were happy enough times that involved a cup of cheer. The camaraderie, the friendliness, it was beautiful – until it wasn’t.
Some in recovery will tell us that remembering the good times is a danger zone. They believe that only in recalling the devastation at the end will we not be tempted to try one more run. I don’t see it this way.
Memories, good and bad, are the nourishment of the soul. A mind is an interesting place, after all. Finding that balance wherein the truth lies should be the goal.
THERE ARE PLACES I’LL REMBER ALL MY LIFE
In my earlier days, I had some good times with my found family on the west coast. I miss those days, especially during this time of year. The snowfalls, sipping laced coffee, talking about life and our dreams for the future, it was cozy. We were homeless, or close to it, but we had each other.
The drinking wasn’t an all-day occurrence and wasn’t even the focal point of our gatherings. It was just a part of being alive and enjoying winter. There was so much to enjoy. It was making turkey feasts for everyone, shopping for presents, watching movies, and listening to Bing and The Rat Pack. Oh, to be doing it all again.
There were terrible times ahead for all of us, though. We had our roads to travel, and alone we weren’t as able to keep the inner demons of our pasts at bay. I found myself drinking more and getting drunk each time I did. I wanted to go back to what I had with my people, but I couldn’t. So I stopped drinking altogether. I had to. Drinking was a balancing act I could no longer manage.
HELPING OTHERS TAKES BALANCE, TOO
These days I help admin some recovery rooms on Facebook. In that role, I see posts from people who are struggling. People out there who feel that preempting their demise is preferable to living stuck in the disease of addiction. It’s sad.
I also hear from people whose lives are so tragic, if one takes them at their word, recovery from the disease of addiction looks all but impossible.
Stepping away from social media, I find clusters of people along the main drag here on The Florida Gulf who really are tragic. They have no homes, are often drunk to the point of no return, and have lost all semblance of being human. I want to help them, but I lack the resources. Society lacks the resources. This is the other side of life’s scale. This is where but for the grace of The Lord, I could be.
My life is relatively happy these days. I attend recovery meetings, have friends, my significant other, and I do not lack any basic necessities and am a published author.
If I stopped long enough to enjoy these facts, I might even think I had it made. However, those people in need always remain in the back of my mind. I want to make a difference in those lives. Again, this is a balancing act.
KEEPING YOUR LIFE IN BALANCE TAKES REFLECTING
Enjoying the fruits of recovery, or the promises as AA calls them, is necessary and deserved. Helping others is the only way to keep those promises alive. Not becoming overly involved in situations that I can’t control and threatening to drag me down is difficult. There’s no way around it; this is all a balancing act.
So, maybe the Barbara’s out there do exist, the people for whom life has never had a single moment of pleasure. Perhaps some people have never known a moment of disappointment. I am not one of these people.
My recovery depends on my staying balanced between the good that I have known and the tragedy I have experienced. There is a necessity in enjoying my life clean, and at the same time, remember those who still struggle and are stuck in the vicious cycle of addiction. It’s all in the balance.
I hope that your holiday season brings you plenty of the sweet. I hope that you find time to help those who are still sick and suffering. Whatever you choose to celebrate, Happy Holidays.
Bio: Ben Rose
Ben is an Oregon native who currently resides on The Florida Gulf. He currently resides with his beautiful better half, and their emotional support cat.
He has travelled extensively by bus, car, freight train, Amtrak, and foot in an effort to see America and find stories to write.
Born at the end of the turbulent sixties, his travels began in his formative years. Early in life he developed a love of cheap motels, greasy spoons, and great comedians.
He speaks fluent hipster as well as English and a smattering of French. Ben is an ally to the LGBTQ+ Community, a supporter of human rights, and a believer in racial and gender equality.
As one with Asperger’s, GAD, and PTSD, Ben has seen his share of hard traveling, abuse, and bullying which is reflected in his literary works.
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Your Guest Post Can Help Someone Get Their Life Back in Balance
One addict helping another is how we maintain balance in our lives. We give support, directions, or suggestions when someone needs them. Then we ask for support, directions, or suggestions when we don’t have the answers.
You’ve survived much. There is someone out there who’s struggling with an issue you’ve overcome. Isn’t it time you wrote about that and helped someone today?
Here are the guest post submission guidelines. I look forward to your submission. Thank you.