Last post I waxed somewhat eloquently (in my somewhat humble opinion) about a phrase some people occasionally say to me about my recovery. This led me to write about another phrase I occasionally hear in recovery that I often find myself thinking about. Sometimes my nonalcoholic friends will say,” It’s good to have you back,” or more often, “It’s good to have the old (insert name) back.” And deep down inside I think, “I ain’t the old me anymore. I never will be that person again. “ Nor can I be.
Life changes you. This stuff changes you. How many people are truly the same as they were ten years ago? Or after a serious tragedy? Because this junk changes you in ways I still can’t fully articulate. I fell hard into depths of darkness I never knew existed. Despite years of battling depression, I found alcoholism to be the most viscous beast of all. It rocked me to the core in ways I never thought imaginable. It destroyed every notion and conceived idea of who and what I thought I was before all of this started. I liken it to soldiers returning from a war. How many were changed for the rest of their lives? I would dare say all. Some things there just ain’t no coming back from.
So what is the take away from all of this? To be honest I am not even sure. I am still figuring out exactly how this has affected me and to be honest it is hard to pinpoint. I will say it has created greater depth in me than ever before. I see things differently now.
It’s narrowed my view as to what really matters in this world and it’s made me realize that many people are
dying on the inside and outside in our shallow and superficial world. It’s stripped me of any religiosity or legalism I had left (although most of that was gone by now anyway). Spiritually I see (to a better degree) things sharper. Gone is any semblance of that kid who grew up in the Bible belt and thought he knew how things worked. Now I am see what a broken sinner in need of grace I am.
I don’t mean to be all introspective doom and gloom here. I have had much joy in the last few months and I have had more peace inside then I have had for years (even before I was drinking). Now I am something new and what I like to think of as purer and refined by some sort of proverbial fire. I am just still figuring out what that is.
It’s just that I have always been sensitive to pain and suffering in the world, but now I see the absolute brokenness and heartache that the human condition can bring about. Now I have experienced it first hand, and from that there just ain’t no going back.