I have been thinking a lot about the pace of things for the past couple of days. This is largely due to the fact that I am almost finished editing my first Novel, and the excitement of having it done is pulling me towards it like a tractor beam. However, I also work a 12 step program and pace is a common theme in my life. One day at a time is the most commonly used phrase in AA in my opinion and for good reason. While I was drinking I had no concept of one day at a time, I was so consumed with consuming as much as possible, as fast as humanly possible that everything else in my life slipped away. I was so enamored with getting drunk, that the idea of anyone or anything else in my life was barely a second or third thought. And when I am not careful, I can get right back to that sick mindset of, I want as much as possible as fast as possible, to Hell with everything else.
So, in the process of finishing my Novel, I have lost sight of some important things, such as pace. Less than six months ago, I was bedridden, hadn’t showered in weeks or done anything resembling taking care of myself. I had put on 40lbs in two months, from a combination of Vodka, Malt liquor, and frozen pizza. I would dare to say my pace was off then. Today, because of working a program, I have written and published a Novella, and am putting the finishing touches on a Novel. I also have a sponsor, have worked the 12 steps and do service work daily, along with going to meetings, praying and meditating, my life has improved drastically.
But leave it to me to say, “yeah but” when something exciting comes along and life becomes good again, I have a tendency to revert back to that alcoholic pace. With the thought, “oh look, there is the finish line, I will win the race.” It happens so often to so many of us in the program, and it has happened to me countless times. I will forgo the pace and the things that got me to this point because I think I see the finish line.
Here is the Truth of the matter, THERE IS NO FINISH LINE. But I will delude my self over and over again to make myself believe that there is one. Because a finish line means I can stop running, I can take a break, and most importantly I can look back at all the poor suckers I left in the dust. My thinking is sick if I am at this place. Because in reality, if my pace is correct I love walking or jogging along, meeting all kinds of friends along the way having experiences I would never have had if I were still drunkinly standing at the starting line. More accurately passed out in the bushes hundreds of feet behind the starting line. But that is the gift of the program of AA, I am able to see that my pace is off, because I have these checkpoints in my life reminding me that I am on the right path and I’m doing good. Checkpoints like, my sponsor, prayer, meditation, meetings, and working with other alcoholics. All these things are daily practices that can enlighten me to how I am doing and if my pace needs to be checked. Because when I stop doing them, I start running way faster and way harder than I can manage, at the thought of a finish line. By the time I realize it was a mirage and there is no finish line, my legs are weak and tired, I can’t breathe right and I feel like giving up, because, “Damnit, it hurts too much, and it’s just too hard.”
The holiday season has a special way of turning in to false finish lines for me as well. “If I buy them just the right gift or the right amount of gifts they will love me or finally accept me. Or if I give to all these charities I will feel better about doing the horrible things I have done.” The idea of becoming someone different for a few months out of the year can be a huge stumbling stone for me. The idea that I can persuade the people I care about the most to care about me more or change there mind about me. When in reality, I haven’t even made up my mind about my self, I haven’t loved my self. My pace is off again. Its only through the 12 steps of AA, I have found a pace that not only makes every day better, but it makes me better in the process. I focus on my steps and by doing that, I get to the place I am supposed to be however long it takes. “Sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly, they will always materialize themselves, if we work for them.” I will continue trudging the road of happy destiny today, hope to see you along the way.
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