When I accepted I was an alcoholic, it was like falling face forward into a pool. Acceptance rolled into every crevice of my body, my mouth, my ears, my armpits that had sweated out pools of toxins on nights spent drinking and snorting dust over and over again. Reaching. For a feeling I wanted to feel all the time. Why can’t I just feel this way? It was a wired kind of normal I sought. A connection to other human beings I experienced through games of truth or dare that grew more daring with every roll of the dollar bill that was passed. What would you do if? What have you done when? What will you do now? These questions lit me up. I came alive, anticipating the answers, moving to the next person.
After I got sober I connected the dots about my passion - when I started hearing people tell their stories in 12 step meetings, I noticed how they mesmerized me-people speaking the truth truer than I’d ever heard it before. Raw. Throw down. Fucking drop the mic reality-however rugged or desperate.
People were accepting their past - accepting their own stories told in detail sometimes grim, sometimes funny, but always true. I could trust this. It was through acceptance that they were set free. Telling the truth was a portal to enlightenment - the fourth dimension they called it - where you could live no longer restless, irritable and discontent, rather happy, joyous and free. And connected. To other human beings. Instead of a substance all of us had come to rely on instead of people in our lives who failed us. We’d learned we couldn’t bark up that tree anymore. We had to find something more reliable - something we knew would make us feel better. Feel good. Feel ok. Accept ourselves.
Now new strangers accepted us for all we are - the good the bad and the ugly - in fact they LOVED us, without knowing our last name, our job, just that we shared this dependence on an evil thing that brought us all to our knees - the devil on our shoulder. And somehow each of us was spared death - we’d already been through hell. And we could talk about it. Some people we’d seen before there, we’d danced together, slept together, worked for them, neither of us knowing at the time where we were, or where we could go to retrace our steps - there was no going back. Only forward and through.