How can you get someone to see what you mean, to know what you know? How can I pass my experience on to another who may not be ready? I guess we pass it on to whoever crosses our path in the hopes that it will land on fertile ground. They may not be able to see right away, but the seed has been planted. It has taken many years for some of the seeds that were spread my way to germinate. I’m 51 years old and seem to be just realizing how to live, and how to handle failure. Failure is not meant to keep us down, it’s not meant to devastate, and I don’t know about you, but that is what it used to do to me. I was a drug addict for 30 years, but could not completely let go and enjoy it, because I knew it was not right for me. I had some spiritual/moral beliefs that did not sit well with my drug use. So, for many years I went back and forth from using to staying clean, to using again. I couldn’t live my life without drugs, but I wasn’t content being high either. I felt damned either way. And if that weren’t enough to deal with, throw in a mental illness like chronic, debilitating depression, and then we really have a party going on. I use the words chronic & debilitating because just saying depression doesn’t really seem to describe what it’s like. When people hear depression they think, oh I’ve been depressed before, I’ve been sad about things in my life, you just have to snap out of it. Suck it up and take a shower and put some real clothing on instead of those sweatpants you’ve been wearing for two weeks. It’s not their fault they don’t understand, unless they’ve experienced it, how could they.
I think that we are truly in a position to help others after we have gone through a similar circumstance. AA is based on that principle, one alcoholic helping another alcoholic. We all have struggled and been through hardships. We have life experience and we can use that to be there for others who are struggling. We can reach out to the younger generation and pass on our knowledge. Some of our seeds will fall on fertile ground and produce fruit right away, and some will fall on stony ground and may take years until any fruit is seen. So do not grow weary in doing good, in reaching out to others who are in need. Our words are powerful; we can do great good or great harm, so let us choose them carefully.
Well to get back on my point, I saw myself as a failure instead of a person who has failed at times. I tried to be a good Christian, but kept falling back into sin. I tried to stay clean & sober, but kept relapsing. I tried to be a good son, but kept disappointing my parents. I tried to be a good brother, but have left my siblings down. It seemed like the more I tried, the more I failed. The more I failed, the more I identified as a failure. Every time I came up short it reinforced that I was a failure. One day that changed. Many seeds had been planted in my life over the years from many good people. One day I realized that one fail or even many fails did not make me a failure. I did not have to throw my hands in the air and give up. I can explain it like this; I have been clean for the better part of 4 years. I have had a few slips in that time. I used to look at it like I relapsed; now I have to start all over again and none of the clean time counted. My perspective has changed, now I say I have 4 years clean with some slips. I put more weight on the clean time and less emphasis on the slips. I didn’t let the slip define me. I might have fell down, but I didn’t stay down, I got back up brushed myself off and moved on. I t was just a speed bump, nothing more. So that change in my perception changed everything. I didn’t have to live life as a failure. I could have hope.