Saturday, October 05, 2013


New in recovery, stumbling along, frightened, wanting to be anybody but me. So-and-so seemed to have it together, that other guy was awfully serene, there was someone who sounded very wise, and there was a whole planet full of people who never were addicts and could drink a beer, have a toke, pop a pain killer and not have the Dragon take the act as a contract to become a forever slave.

And then there was my profession. This writer was a billionaire, this other guy got in before male protagonists went out of favor, the President of the United States gave a shout out to one guy, making his career, a writer friend of mine landed a great teaching position at a prestigious university, another landed a six figure contract advance, this other one wrote crap and seemed to have no troubles selling his crap to publishers, and hell . . . I was still me and there didn't seem to be anything I could do about that except rail against the injustices of the universe.

Then I got a sponsor I actually used. He introduced me to "Addictions Rules For Me."

The first rule is, nothing comes between the addict and the drug.
The second rule is, if the first rule is violated (by abstaining or getting into recovery), addiction will use the entire power of my own mind to make me miserable enough to go and use again.

There are a wealth of miseries. The one concerning us here is ENVY.

Oscar Wilde said, "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."   While I was being myself, though, I was wishing I was someone else. More accurately, I was feeling hopeless because the universe's magic wand seemed to have missed me when it was handing out the magic gifts.

Twenty-seven years ago, my sponsor suggested I make a list of all those persons I envied.
I did that, and said, "Now what?"
He said, "Now nothing. Every couple of years or so, take out that list and look at it."

I did and the results have been both instructive and chilling. It is almost as though I had written a hit list of men and women I wanted taken out and destroyed. This one got a disease that made it so he could no longer work, that one went permanently on street drugs and died of an overdose, another went blind from a stroke, another went to prison, several became homeless and died in pain, many died of cancer, one died in an airplane crash, and last month the last three persons on my list died.

And . . . I am still here!

Almost three decades of pain, suffering, and death. The lesson for me was not to abstain from making lists. The lesson was and is that there is no one in the world I know well enough to wish I had his or her life instead of my own.

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." And that's a good thing.

If you woke up this morning alive, congratulate yourself. You have another chance.

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