About 12 to 18 months prior to Cliff's incarceration I began seeking out support meetings for me. I was fledgling and he was floundering and seeing myself in my mind's eye, I realize now just what a chaotic mess I was. Life was a frenzy, always. Finally, I went to a traditional meeting for Al-Anon and there were about 5 people in attendance. It was dry as I happened to land on a night when they read the whole book to me. Or so it seemed. We sat and listened for 50 minutes and then had 5 minutes to share. I never went back.
Being that my faith is as much a part of me as breathing, I began to seek a faith based 12 step program and found one locally to my work. I dialed the number to make sure that they had groups for the family members as well as the addicted. When a male voice answered I began to inquire about family tables and he said, "I'll let you speak to my wife." She said hello, and I could barely choke out my response or my question. When she said yes they had meetings for one such as me, I felt the need to try and tell her a little bit about my situation.
Then the flood gates burst wide open.
I literally sobbed on the phone to her for at least 3 minutes unable to form an audible sound. Guttural groans and abundant tears flowed out from me as if someone just unscrewed the cap on a street hydrant. And she just quietly sat and listened to me cry. An unknown to me, through this plastic piece of equipment in my hand received my hurt and let me sob it out. That had never happened before. Clearly I was in such a state of disrepair, anguish and sorrow that these tears had to come in order for me to take one more step. I must have been very near the end of my rope.
That listening ear gave me a little peace of my life back that day. I went to those meetings for only a brief amount of time as it seems that my heart and my brain just didn't connect completely. But it gave me a foretaste of what I could have and so desperately wanted and needed.
Sanity. Calm. Peace. Order. Sleep.
These things among many others had been absent from my life for so long that finally about a year later, I ended up in recovery. It's been 3 years now.and my life is radically different and so improved I know I will choose to never go back to living my life in that chaos again. I choose to stay in recovery, accountability and friendships that urge me and challenge me to grow daily in my skills toward living a healthy life while trusting God, my Higher Power, to walk beside me each step of the way.
Thank you, whoever you are. You'll never know how instrumental you were in helping me take a step toward saving myself.
Then again, maybe you do.
*Photo by Erika Thorpe, American Physical Society