Tuesday, January 25, 2005

I Surrender

I don't think I've ever felt worse, whether drunk or sober. I finally went to my sponsor Saturday, and told him I was lost and didn't know what to do. I actually asked my Mom for advice. Sunday I did the same with my sister. I can't remember the last time I asked people for advice.

The outcome was, I've bit off more than I can chew. I've held onto my house, which I can't afford, and is too big for me to handle, is literally cluttered with "wreckage of my past," and is full of memories of my collapsed family. I've held onto my real estate business dream, that started as a dream that my wife and I would work as a team together. I've held onto them because I haven't been willing to let go emotionally, to move on and start making my own decisions for the reality I now face.

I have to give up the house and the career, and the dreams they represent. I have to surrender them, as part of the past, and the self-will that has made me hang onto them for too long. I have to trust in an unknown future in God's hands.

I'm selling the house. I've left my mortgage broker desk, and yesterday and today I've polished up my resume and started applying for jobs with a regular paycheck. I'm going to move to a studio apartment I can afford, convenient to the AA meetings I need to attend. I need a job that will pay my expenses, allow me to send my wife money to support our son, and afford regular frequent trips to LA to see my son, without me going into debt. I need a regular, predictable work schedule, so I can have time for my meetings, set aside regular time to work on my steps, and regularly and predictably spend time with my son. Keep It Simple. Beyond that, I will have to wait to see what God reveals in His own time. And I have to keep reminding myself that these are objectives I'm working toward, not necessarily a destination that God intends me to reach!

My sobriety is not strong. I pray that, sooner rather than later, I will have the resources to accept and handle the combination of setbacks and challenges I’ve had, without fear, with hope and faith – and without an urge to drink. I’m not there yet. In order to move forward, both in solidifying my sobriety, and in rewiring my brain (which are actually the same thing), I need to focus on my priorities and eliminate other stressful things that pull me away from my priorities. First Things First.

It breaks my heart to go through the emotion of giving up these things. I’m feeling a lot of grief. I’m afraid of starting over, again, in a studio apartment and a temp job without benefits. Hopefully I’ll at least start out without debt after selling the house, but basically I’ll be starting again with nothing. I feel ashamed, and I feel that I’ve failed – failed my wife, failed my son, failed myself. I feel stupid for making choices about the house and my job in the past few months that, it seems clear now, were the wrong ones. I pray that God is merciful, rather than just.

Thank God I went back to AA and recovery within three weeks, before I caused too much damage, before it got out of control. I did not lose the benefit of my recovery so far – I know what kept me sober for as long as I was, and I learned a few of the things I need to do in addition, to keep my sobriety. I have been praying, on my knees, every morning, asking God for His protection and guidance through the day, to show me His will for me and give me the strength, at each moment, to carry it out; and every night, thanking Him for being with me, keeping me sober, and asking forgiveness for my sins and failures to do His will. And I ask His blessings and peace for my wife, for my son, my family and friends, and myself.

The prayer and seeking conscious contact with God do not come naturally to me. I struggle with my belief and faith. Often I’m just going through the motions. Sometimes I feel like an idiot. And yet, I can feel my brain trying to rewire itself. I will not stop doing it. I have hope that it will begin to come naturally to me, that my brain will eventually rewire itself, that my heart and spirit will open up, that my decades-old habits of desperate, miserable hubris, self-will and avoidance will finally be replaced by humility and obedience to God, and the courage and pride that can come only from God. I desperately want it. I want to live in God’s light, and never be driven again by my isolated, fearful self-will. I’m tired of living in a hell that I design and build myself.


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