If you are looking for the Christmas special that leaves you feeling like a Norman Rockwell painting, you may want to wait for next week’s episode. I was told that one has to write the ugly to make room for the beautiful so I’m going to make that room.
Growing up, I was fortunate enough to have many heroes. Some real, some imaginary. For those of you that have read some of my stuff, you might be able to pick out a certain comic book superhero that stands for truth, justice and the American way. He’s a bit obscure but I think he’s going to be a big deal someday so keep your eyes peeled…
This edition is going to have some homework but don’t worry, it won’t be graded. I need your help to make this post effective. I need you to close your eyes and picture your real life hero. When did you meet? What about them makes them hero material? Are they the strong, silent type? Are they gregarious? Was there a life changing event that elevated them to hero status or was it a slow process of building taller and taller pedestals to place them on? This is important so please, take your time…
Got your person? Remember how they rose to the top? Good deal. Here we go.
I try to set a goal for each of my posts. One for you and one for me. This time you get two goals. First, I hope you reaffirm your faith in your hero. Second, I hope you realize that you are a hero to someone and more likely than not, many someones. I have the best readers so you obviously have more people calling you heroes, right? The goal I set for myself is to get some more of my “ugly” out to make room for the “beautiful”.
I was once a hero to someone. The pedestals had been crumbling for a few years but I decided to jump from what altitude I had left into a bottle. The problem with the bottle I chose is that its bottom was much farther down than I imagined. Some people seek out hero status and some shun it. I don’t think I sought it out in the beginning but toward the end, I clung to it. I did so because in my mind, it was one of the few things that couldn’t be taken away from me and I was right. It wasn’t taken from me, I threw it away of my own volition. Pride, arrogance and self loathing made sure of it.
One of the many things I’ve learned about my condition is that those afflicted will justify damn near anything in order to keep drinking. We also know, perhaps subconsciously, that it is an unsustainable way to live. We won’t admit it but we know the end of our run is coming. The run could be a job, a relationship, our physical and/or mental health, our hero status or our lives. It could be all of the above and for me, almost was. Surrounded by tons of loving friends and family and all I could think about was what was going to happen to ME once my lie came out. Nevermind how THEY were going to feel. If I kept drinking, I could quiet my insane brain, squeeze out the impending doom and retain my hero status just a little longer. Normals don’t act like that, alcoholics do.
I told the lie and like every single lie ever told in the history of mankind, the truth came out. Family embarrassed, friendships ended, hero status removed. One fell swoop. There was no recovering from what I had done and I was certain of it. Except recovery is exactly what was needed. AA is allowing me to live two lives in one lifetime. Don’t squander that second life, right?
February was the bottom. It was a hard bottom, too. The collateral damage is extensive. I have seen my son once since I’ve been sober and my daughter, not at all. These past almost ten months have been emotionally exhausting. From almost not being here to write this to actually looking forward to each day is quite the miracle and I need to remind myself of that from time to time.
Thank you to each and every one of you. Thank you for being heroes to me. There have been some incredibly tough moments but somehow, YOU found the strength to stick around. You lead by example without knowing. That’s hero type stuff.
Now, the rest of your homework. Get in touch with YOUR hero(s). As you all know, “heroing” is hard work and they would probably love to hear from you, no matter how you need to communicate. And I know you know what I mean.
Until next time!