Sometimes when I see the younger generation, I get envious of the blank slate they have before them. I regret my past and wish I made better choices when I needed to make them.
I think I would have loved to be a scientist, or a professor of the arts and humanities. We talk about having crossed an invisible line into alcoholism, and I wish I could have halted my progression and forged a different path for myself.
But what I’m also then wishing is that I didn’t (have to) find AA, the Steps, and a life of rigorous honesty. I’m convinced I wouldn’t want to be without those things today.
I really believe that when I am healthy, I am smart enough and driven enough to be anything I want to be. When I am tired and my needs aren’t being met, I am susceptible to stinking-thinking. I fantasize about the life I might have had, and feel sorry for myself. But then I remember that even non-alcoholics still have mental health problems, still get heartbreaks, and still have addiction struggles. So would I want a life where I don’t have the tools to manage those things, but be able to have some extra zeros in my bank account, an impressive title, and a drink here and there? No. Absolutely not.
My program of recovery has not only given me the tools to manage these rocky terrains, but it has also given me an attitude adjustment – what we call a psychic change or spiritual experience. Today I am not only that smart, sturdy girl who excelled at the sciences and the arts and sports: I have regained a lot of those faculties and I now also embody the love of Christ who humbles me and gives me a heart of flesh that enables me to love people and live a life of not just faith, but of works, too.
So therefore, I continue to practice my maintenance steps – that I be divorced from selfish, self-seeking motives; those spaces where self-pity festers. Today I can have compassion for the life I led before recovery and to be grateful for the present moment. And, when I’m doing well holistically, be hopeful for the future, as well.