In a meeting today I suddenly pictured myself caught in a fall (more like a climb) between two cliffs. At the bottom was familiarity. This is where I’ve lived most of my life; caught in some cycle of addiction, negative thinking, self-hatred, and distrust. At the top of the cliff I see my friends who have had many years in sobriety and friends who do deep spiritual work standing happily in the sunshine. I am somewhere in between.
There is a part of me that longs for the dark dwelling of familiarity at the bottom of the cliffs. In this place, I could do just enough to skate through life and not have to really apply myself. If I knew the lingo of a spiritual life and what I SHOULD be doing, then I would get the praise and recognition from others I was so hungry for – hungry because my entire sense of self-worth was defined by others. In this place if life became too difficult, I simply checked out through drinking, binge eating, sleeping all day, or watching television nonstop. This kept life simple. Enough effort to get by, but not enough to get up and out to the light.
With my choice to dive into 12 step and make a commitment to sobriety and living a spiritual life, I started climbing up the cliff toward the sunshine. This place, caught in the middle, is severely uncomfortable. Part of me longs for the ease of the dark lonely place at the bottom while I continue to make slow strides toward the surface.
As all of this played out in images in my mind I thought about the pattern I have to apply only enough effort to get the recognition and not enough to make any actual changes in my core self. I realized this is playing out again in my resistance to getting a sponsor, to actively working the steps, and even to attend meetings regularly. I know the lingo. I own the books. I’m not drinking. Isn’t that enough? Well, no.
I moved here with the intention of creating a spiritual, healthy, whole life. This requires some work on my part. It is not enough to own the books, I have to read them and work them. It’s not enough to own a meditation cushion, I have to sit on it each morning and meet myself. When you have built a life around avoiding yourself, these things can be downright scary.
I take a breath. I confess all of this in front of my peers in the program. I write. I sit. I take another breath and get a stronger foothold for my climb out of darkness. One day at a time.