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The Only Right Answer Is The Truth
By Corrine Barraclough
Deception is the beating, bleak heart of alcohol dependency. Denial is the painful destination where you eventually wash up, stranded. Even then, its highly likely you will attempt to fool yourself into believing that you’re in control. Although, not even you are convinced by your spin and unauthentic self-betrayal becomes your only truth.
Whoever you betray, ultimately, the longer you stay in that stranded place, you’re betraying your best self.
This week a friend in early sobriety sent the message; the call to action. “I need your help,” she said.
“Remember everything you’ve learnt… Remember everything you’ve learnt…” I repeated to myself on the drive to collect her.
I may be two year’s sober but I don’t have all the answers. That’s the truth and I’m not afraid to say it.
Speaking the raw truth is a refreshing new addiction.
I don’t have a magic answer – I wish I did.
I know she wants the key to unlock the door to what I’ve somehow managed to begin to achieve. I don’t have it. I don’t know what it looks like. All I can speak is the truth of I began to change my life after a twenty year addiction threatened to finish me off.
I heard the words, “not any, not ever” in a meeting and they worked for me. They are the truth summed up into four words. You can read books, listen to lectures, tie your brain in agonising knots trying to do deals but until you surrender to those four words, you have not accepted the truth.
I was, as they say, sick and tired of being sick and tired. I heard those words; let go and every day those words are my focus. All the hours I spend listening and talking to addicts, and the more I learn about addiction, the more I see the only right answer to any question, ever, is the truth. Always, always, always do the next right thing. Live in that moment of your life, in truth, and you will do the next right thing.
Chuck out denial and ditch deception.
You cannot have any. Ever. Now, do the next right thing, in truth.
Some days are easier than others. That’s life, for all of us.
Some days, as I told my friend as tears fell from her eyes, we have to white-knuckle ride our way through. The water is rough, feelings are tough and memories crash around us. These are not fun, sunny days at a brightly coloured water park; they are cold harsh angry seas that try to overwhelm you to a point where you don’t do the next right thing. Tread water, go to bed, read, walk, call a friend, hold steady, they will pass.
Learning to feel is absolutely the hardest part of being sober. We have to be honest about that too. This is why it’s a daily practise. Daily work. This is your most important full-time job. On the plus side, every day is different.
Holding your breath through the bad days when they come is part of that process.
When I was utterly broken in very early recovery I remember asking a lady with a friendly smile at AA, “How did you do it?”
I desperately wanted the answer.
I wanted a life raft to cling to.
I sat with a notebook in hand, pencil poised, eyes wide.
“I just kept coming back,” she said.
They were not the answer I was seeking, but she was as correct as her smile was friendly.
She was honest. I felt it.
You have never cracked sobriety. Time up teaches you that the waves will come and you can hold your breath until they ease up. It does not stop the waves from crashing. It doesn’t mean they crash any lighter and it doesn’t mean you always see them coming.
They catch you by surprise and try their hardest to drag you under. Holding your breath until it passes, believing these emotional waves will subside, that is the truth. Acknowledge that, and don’t make anything any worse.
Somewhere inside you know the absolutism of agony is not a constant.
Hold your breath. Choose hope.
You’ll find the truth again tomorrow, you’ll be proud you hung on in there and refused to drown yourself in denial once again.
Find Corrine on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/CorrineBarracloughWriter/
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