It’s better to beg for forgiveness, than to ask permission. Living my life on default had given me this outlook. I would fuck something, anything up and beg for forgiveness. It was my calling card. You know the old saying of telling someone, “I’m sorry” only to have them reply, “Your right, you are sorry.”
There is a phenomenon in early recovery called a ‘Pink Cloud’. It is where the addict is on fire to change the world with their recovery. This is usually where the addict makes plans to become a counselor, social worker, or a general do-gooder is born. If I had a dollar for every addict who wanted to be a counselor in my pocket, well, I could afford to go to school myself.
Don’t get me wrong, I admire good intentions. I also know this, the cemeteries are full of people who had no intention of dying, and died with good intentions. I also know I had a ton of intentions in my life and none of them meant shit until I did something about them. Riding on the ‘Pink Cloud’ the first 30 days or so isn’t necessarily a bad thing, until the cloud begins to break apart. It thins out as the daily routine of life slowly sets back in.
The world turns as it does. Life and living move forward. Reality continues on. As I mentioned earlier anger is usually my reaction to the present reality because things aren’t going the way I think they should. This in essence is a stumbling block to early recovery. Resentments are born out of things said and unsaid in an attempt to deal with a reality that I had little understanding of.
What makes up this reality that makes it so difficult for the addict to deal with? It is my experience that it lies in feelings, lack of proper responses to those feelings and emotions, and the thought patterns that have been developed during drug use. I am not a doctor and can give no real medical explanation to neurotransmitters or endorphins, what I can tell you is, that my thoughts seem to drive my feelings and my feelings in turn drive my thoughts. This obsession and compulsion of thoughts and feelings, minus the drugs for the recovering person, is what makes up true addiction.
Pink clouds don’t seem to do much for the loved ones in a recovering person’s life. I don’t blame them. There is nothing more depressing than a giddy addict! Really though, it’s a complete demoralization of the spirit to the family member or loved one to watch a giddy addict parade themselves around while they are emotionally raw and hurt by our actions.
I found this out firsthand after coming home from a meeting. I was in a ‘pink cloud’ when my wife snapped. I had been parading around the house telling her of this and that when suddenly it came from left field. “Well that may be all fine and fucking well for you, but have you thought about what you have done? What you did? Nothing has changed Bob, it all still hurts. Do you even remember anything? You called me horrible names, threatened to take my children away, for God’s sakes, you said you would take the kids and I would never find them. None of this is ‘over’ in my eyes, I’m not sure how it is you sleep at night with the things you said and did, but I haven’t slept well in 2 years. You screamed obscenities at the kids, you made us all feel responsible for your stupid fucking choices. It will be a long, long time before anyone here is ready to forgive you”.
I sat and listened for 45 minutes to a wife who had 16 years of hurt built up inside her. 16 years worth of disappointment, anger, frustration, and sadness. As I sat there the reality of what we put others through became painfully obvious. I told her at that time there was nothing I could say. Trying to make amends to loved ones with only a few weeks clean never works. The pain is too much. There is a formula that I was taught. It is only when our words and our actions equal out that things will change.
I had talked a good game for a number of years, but my actions seldom equaled what came out of my mouth. My wife kept our bankcard from me the first 45 days I was clean. She would follow me to the gas station to put gas in my car, and would give me a dollar to put in the meeting basket. I was that untrustworthy, and I still convey that to newer members when I get the chance to, that shame became a platform for change. I knew after that talk I had to do something more than just not use drugs, or nothing would change.
I had been out with friends all night getting loaded, telling anyone who would listen that my father had left, and my parents were getting a divorce. It had been at least 4 months since he had gone. I heard he was in Columbus but wasn’t sure. My friends felt bad for me and put up with my antics. I stumbled home as I did that entire summer and came in the side door.
I am going up the steps when my mom stops me halfway up the staircase. ‘What are you doing home, she inquired?’ “I came to change, and eat, I said”. I heard a noise behind her and moved past her up the steps. I saw the silhouette of a man in her room, pulling up his pants. He came to the doorway as my mother quickly came behind me. “Bob, this is Roy”, she said. He stuck out his hand and said, ‘Nice to meet you’.
I looked at him and her and the only words that would come out were, “I don’t fucking think so”. I bolted down the steps and out the door. I didn’t come back for 2 days as I recall. It felt like another one of life’s swift kicks to the balls had struck again. My mother had decided to move on with her life, while I was left to deal with feelings of abandonment. Again, I don’t understand why the events happened the way they did, they just did. Roy would become my step-father within a year.
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