You are an alcoholic. Or an addict. There is precious little difference, really. You indulge in some substance or activity that you cannot for the life of you control. You have tried, under your own power. You simply cannot stop.
It started innocently. You got drunk, or high – maybe a little accidentally. Certainly, it was harmless. Over time, you needed to get just a little drunker or higher to achieve the same result – feeling okay in your own skin. So you start to drink a little more, to get a little higher.
But one day, you start to need the substance or activity more than you really want it. You begin to dread coming down from it.
Who wants to come down from something? All of the great clichés espouse the glory of high…
Ain’t no mountain high enough.
Soaring to great heights.
Your love keeps lifting me higher…..
For a while, “high” made you feel weightless, but not anymore. Now it feels unbearable because you can’t get high enough. It becomes apparent that high is a manner of deceiving yourself. You used to have direction. What happened to knowing where you are in relation to other things?
Then, the spiral. Everything is out of control. Which way is up? It is impossible to tell as you flail about, falling.
Coming down is a bummer. But coming down from artificial heights is inevitable, and fast. It is not the gradual and glorious slow decent of a skydiver with a sturdy parachute.
You must come back to earth because there is nowhere else to go, but doing so results in a free-fall, a plummet. No parachute to catch the wind, and no wind to fill the chute if you had one at all. And something inside you tells you that you should fall and with a hard landing.
The dual demons of entitlement and self-loathing surface in this free-fall:
You deserve to drink/ use and get away with it, because you have all of these pressures and why shouldn’t you have a little relief?
And you deserve to use and lose everything, because you are a weak and hopeless person who can’t cope with Life on Life’s terms.
That is why sharing recovery is the Highest calling for an alcoholic or addict. There is purpose in it – God makes sure that no agony goes to waste in this life.
Authentic life takes place in the venue that is grounded. Recovery can be bumpy path, but it is on solid earth, at least. It is, in the truest sense of the term, death-defying….more so than any leap. It is life worth living for any addict because an active recovery is an expedition..a wonderful journey into uncharted territory and the clarity to soak it all in.
Your active recovery is a hike in the wilderness with a pack full of provision – more than you will ever need, courtesy of God. It is helpful to know which tools are available, but even a blind search through a knapsack is better than a fall from a high cliff.
On the ground, there are people to link arms with who will pull you up when you feel like tripping, because everybody feels like tripping sometimes and everybody needs support. On the ground, it is okay for you to have weight – a fullness and purpose in your step, because you are a human being carrying around a burden of being human. But not by yourself.
Most importantly, you aren’t artificially high in a free-fall of destruction -you can easily locate “up” . From positioning yourself on your knees in prayer, you can see in all directions. You can clearly discern that God is God and you are not. It becomes obvious that He was the wind that filled the parachute you didn’t know you had so that he can be the solid ground beneath your feet now. You are filled with gratitude for having survived, for not having to be your own higher power anymore.
So, where do you go from here?
You go out and find the ones spiraling in the air, grasping at entitlement and self-loathing as they fall. You make sure that they don’t hit the ground without knowing that the dual demons of entitlement and self-loathing are not trying to catch them, but waiting for them to destruct upon impact. Tell hurting people that there is hope because of Grace, and Grace promises that we don’t get what we “deserve” (thank God!)
That’s how you will avoid the same temptations of dangerous height – by providing the gear for others and leading the expedition. Because you are not immune; you are never immune to relapse. You must stay on your guard and ask for God’s help on the journey – each day. He is strong and full of hope and He has sent others to walk with you, victoriously.
One Day at a Time, you feel okay in your own skin. Lifted higher by real love, the Highest Power.
You are going to be just fine.
5 thoughts on “Take me Higher – an Alcoholic Finds Solid Ground”
Love this so much!!!! What a gift you are!
Thanks, Liz. It is my heart.
This is beautiful, Jana. Being grounded is so much more than just not drinking, which is why relapse is always a real danger and why God is so important. I can never forget it. I’m grateful to have people like you to walk with!
And I’m grateful to be walking this journey with you, too, Karen. Thank you so much for letting me know you got something out of the piece. I hope you and your beautiful family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
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