For one, it is the memory of coming out of a blackout behind the wheel of a car, with no memory of how they got in it, where they came from or where they were headed. Soon to be followed by the chilling realization of the many terrible possibilities that “could” have happened, but didn’t.
For another, it is the memory of the night they decided to go home from the “all night bar”, rather than staying to drink and party until the sun came up – as perhaps was the normal pattern, only to awaken to the morning news reporting the story of a lone gunman who had come into that very bar at 4:30am shooting and killing all of the patrons inside.
For one young mother it is the memory of being home with her 2 ½ year old daughter and deciding it would be OK to take a shot of dope in the hopes of “relaxing and taking the edge off”…only to wake up many hours later to find her daughter, thankfully safe, facing the wall, looking upward and laughing. When she asked her why she was laughing she pointed up towards the ceiling and said, “Him make me laugh!”
Regardless of the story, there is that common theme…that common reality that each memory holds – which is the inescapable thruth that “Something or Someone” kept us, and often times those we loved – safe. However, something else often happens as more time begins to pass: Fear begins to creep its way into our newly found sober lives. We begin to look at the world and ask ourselves, “How am I ever going to make it? What is going to happen to me? How will I stay clean and sober?”
Let’s face it; the “Unseen” is hard to trust because quite frankly…we can’t see it! I watched a video once that showed an inferno at a high rise building in Miami, FL. The media had their cameras fixed on a woman who was standing on the ledge of her window. The flames were visible from behind as black smoke billowed all around her. Below firemen were attempting to get her to let go of the window and jump to safety. However, although the viewing audience could see with great clarity the predicament of this women and the solution that should be taken…she was struggling. The woman did not want to leave the window, but why? Because although she knew how dire her situation was…that ledge was something she could see and touch. It had saved her so far. In order to be saved she was going to have to jump from the safety of her window and trust that she would be rescued.
Those who have experienced recovery have had this same type of experience, leaving the familiar, while having to trust what is not. In my own life, the way I was living was dangerous on many levels and ultimately was killing me. There were those in my life telling me that all I had to do was to leave my surroundings and do something that would save me. I’m certain that to those around me, (who could see the whole picture) – the answer was obvious and the decision was simple. However for me, it wasn’t. All I knew was that those chemicals, (though they were killing me), had for the longest time “saved” me. To give them up and get help, seemed terrifying and inconceivable! However, there was something…Unseen… that I know today gave me the ability to say “Yes, I will accept help”. It did not come from me…it could not have come from “me”. I just didn’t possess the belief or faith to take such a step at that time on my own strength.
Our lives everyday are a living testament to the Unseen hand that has and continues to not only hold us, but guide and direct our paths on a daily basis. This is evidenced in the very fact that we wake up clean and sober – knowing what we did the night before; That a day sober is not an agonizing experience, but rather one filled with promise, possibilities and purpose; That every day there are men and women, who were once consumed with nothing but themselves, now striving to offer their hand to help others expecting nothing in return; Children enjoying relationships with parents they had either thought were lost or had never known; Spouses and parents looking forward to their loved ones coming home rather than dreading it. It is seen when we have the experience of sharing our stories and someone comes up afterwards to say, “You told my story – that really gave me hope”.
Indeed, our lives are a patchwork of experiences filled with ups and downs, twists and turns, laughs and tears…but ALL telling of a miraculous and incredible journey detailing evidence of the Unseen. A friend told me once – “You can argue a man’s theology…but you cannot argue his experience.” How true that is and what an incredible blessing and honor to Trudge this road to Happy Destiny!
Rebecca Balko © 2011-2014