When I first landed in the basement of a Methodist Church, I sat in a cold metal chair closed my eye and prayed “please dear God of mine, please give me cancer, please give me anything but this.” When I opened my eyes, I wanted to enter into a new reality, one where my doctor would call my wife and say, “we’re sorry we made a mistake, your wife, if not an alcoholic, she is suffering from acute and terminal cancer. She has three months to live, and the stress is causing her to drink.”
What a sad state of affairs when that was the reality I wanted to magically wake up to. Boy, was I in over my head. Life had finally caught up with me and said: “I am done with you. Do you want to live or die? Death is one step away, but for God's sake make up your fucking mind! You are destroying the lives of those around you with your self-centered pity, and I've had it with you!”
How dare Life speaks to me in this manner, doesn’t she realize I have blessed her with my presence?!?
I had pigeonhole myself into a place so tight and narrow, one where I was too afraid to die by my own doing and too scared to continue living. It was soothing to think about having a well-respected terminal illness; at least I could drink while lying in my death bed. What I still did not know was that I was indeed suffering from a deadly disease. Alcoholism, unfortunately, is not the kind of illness that fosters compassion nor demands respect. Those around the suffering and dying alcoholic are forced into seeing them wilt and decay slowly while still saying, “I am better than ever, now let’s have a drink and celebrate life!”
I am now nineteen months into recovery and have put together eight months of continuous sobriety. I have never been so thankful for my unanswered prayers in early sobriety. I now feel shame for wishing upon me an illness that many would trade-in for one with a cure.
Today, I am creating a more genuine prayer practice. In the mornings, I ask, mostly beg God to relieve me from the bondage of self - that shit is heavy and sticky and I want it off! I also need loads of help in being of service to others, as that does not come easy to me, so I pray for that too. I need all the help I can summon.
I ask God to divorce me from self-seeking thoughts; to help me stop the self-sabotage carousel ride I have been on for decades. Lately, I have been asking for relief from the guilt I feel when indulging in the abundance of joy surrounding me. I actually never knew what a difficult task it is to be and feel joyful.
But, do not misinterpret me, I ain’t a saint. I still pray for world peace and a fat bank account. :)