On December 11th, 2023, I celebrated 4 years of continuous sobriety. Four years ago, I didn’t believe that this was possible as I had tried and failed so many times and, quite honestly, I don’t think I was able to imagine what a life without alcohol would be like. I had used it as my coping mechanism in life for so long.
But four years ago, I got to a place where I had burnt every bridge, was completely defeated, morally bankrupt and experiencing absolute humiliation. I was licked and alcohol was my master. But little did I know that this is exactly where I needed to be to take my first steps towards liberation and strength. I had arrived at the same destination that millions of men and women before me needed to arrive at to finally admit, and accept, that they were powerless over alcohol – that their lives had become unmanageable. Four years ago, I crawled my way into a fellowship of men and women that suffered from the same disease as I did, and they said they had a solution to my problems. And by God’s Grace they did.
Year one was survival. Year two was building a new foundation. Year three was building the new structure. But in the fourth year I felt like I could finally reflect and look for meaning in the journey.
At the deepest level of my Being, I had known unconditional love, forgiveness, and acceptance, but I had forgotten the experience as I came into this world and got caught up in its conditioning. But having touched it, I was yearning for it and looking for it by seeking it through other people’s ideas and societal goal posts and this only took me further away from it.
I looked outside myself for what was already within me and the more I sought without, the more I forgot my inner connection. My intrinsic relationship with God had been forsaken and I had taken on an extrinsic crusade in search of Love. The more I searched outside myself, the emptier I felt within and the emptier I felt within, the more the search was fueled.
“Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry” – Corinthians 10:14
In my search, God became a large bank account, an impressive education, a fancy car, a bigger house, a successful career, bigger muscles, sex, the promise of love and ultimately a bottle and other substances. All these things delivered fleeting short-term satisfaction but none of them gave the love that they promised. They just left me feeling emptier and wanting more and more. In fact, they just left me feeling over-stimulated and completely cut me off from the capacity to feel within.
My relationship with Love and Connection has been turned upside down. In fact, I had forgotten how to offer love and could only ask for it. Needy, independent, and alone. Yearning for connection but instead narcissistic, selfish, defensive, and blaming, I had driven myself into a cul-de-sac and did not have the sense to turn around. The search for Love outside myself came to an end on December 11th, 2019.
That was the day I turned around, travelled inwards, and began my journey back to Grace. It was not easy to turn because it required that I take total responsibility for my own experience and actions and that I give up the game of shame and blame. It required me to accept that I had made myself the victim of my own circumstances and they were the outcome of my own relentless attacks on myself. I had to accept that in the search for love outside of myself I had made many enemies and hurt many people. I had to make amends and ask for forgiveness. I had to accept that the person I needed forgiveness from the most was myself and there was no way forward without it. The turn is not easy, but it is the turn I needed to take to find the love within me. To turn my life around I had to look at the hell I had created, particularly within my own consciousness, and take total responsibility for it.
The Creator. Not the Victim.
By accepting I was the creator of this hell I can choose to be the creator of a new heaven. I can choose to be the one, who having found the path to love, can bring forth love and compassion. I can use my creativity to be a force of good and not evil. I can choose to create peace as I walk the world with my arms extended and my heart wide open. I can choose to co-create with God and find my way back to wholeness. I no longer yearn for the love that I already am and have always been. It has always been right here.
This has been the meaning in all of it for me, but that is just my experience and I share it openly to be in service to anyone who still suffers. We all have our own path up the mountain, but I will walk with you if you ask. My spiritual teacher, Paul Ferrini, has been a huge inspiration and I will end with his words.
“I must understand once and for all time that I am the one who walks to the cross, the one who is crucified, and the one who performs the crucifixion. There was no one else here but me” – Paul Ferrini
I love you all.