Saturday, July 11, 2009

This, too, shall pass...

Mary reminded me in a comment yesterday of my experience in early sobriety with the saying "...this too shall pass..."

I sobered up in a clubhouse in Denver. Near the back door (where we all came in and left), there were always a collection of "old timers" - they generally had more than a year or two sober - certainly a long time relative to those of us with days or hours...

To this date in my life, the worst time in my life was approximately the last 6 months of my drinking and the first year of my sobriety. I hit bottom and "put the plug in the jug" but the circumstances in my life just seemed to get worse and worse. After I sobered up, that first year I lost my job, my profession, my marriage, my house, my family - there was a lot of loss. In addition, I had at least one appointment a week at the Jefferson County Courthouse for one thing or another.

...and, the Sheriff wanted to know any time I was leaving town for any reason (business, family emergency, anything)...

It was a tough time filled with drama - bill collectors, big ugly scenes around my old house, kids that were acting out in the midst of all this with their various adolescent rebellions, business confrontations.

It was the worst of times...

On one particularly bad day when I was about 60 days sober - I don't remember if the battles that day were with work, the IRS, the law or whatever (likely some combination of all of them) - I drug myself to my daily 8:30pm meeting and, as I came in the door, one of the old f___, um, old timers made the mistake of asking me how I was. I remember that he was patient (he describes the same conversation as "tolerant") as I unloaded all the drama of my life at that moment. After I'd slowed down a little, I remember he raised his palm to me and said, simply, "this too shall pass..."

I felt a combination of resentment toward him, disbelief and anger but I went on upstairs to my meeting and, somehow, got through that day and the next several days sober.

Then a few days later, as often happened back then, I got an incredible gift of hope and joy. I don't think the circumstances in my life changed much (they couldn't have, really) but I just remember feeling relief and a lightness that was wonderful and amazing to me. I couldn't wait to get to the meeting that night.

As I came in the door, I found that sage old timer and shared with him how right he was and how there had been this wonderful change in me in the passing of my sorrow and depression. It was a miracle!!!

He looked at me and smiled and simply said "...this too shall pass..."

He was right again...

7 comments:

Prayer Girl said...

I love this.

"This too shall pass" - yep - the bad and the good.

One never knows what the winds of life are going to blow our way from one day to the next. My life has recently been filled with one miracle after another after another - THEN - wham, a crisis for a loved one and I'm in that other place.

At least today, I know what to do. Pray, call my sponsor, reach out for support, and know "this too shall pass".

PG

dAAve said...

LOL

Carol said...

My old Alanon sponsor referred to those as the dirtiest 4 words in the universe, smiling because she knew the wisdom of them.

I mostly agree with them, how can you not, but sometimes if feels like a cop out response, I use it all the time with myself but more carefully with others.

Akannie said...

Great post, ED... I have to laugh out loud when I hear myself saying things to newcomers that drove me so crazy back in the beginning....

Steve E. said...

Those old guys are right just TOO OFTEN, Dammmmmit!

But that, too, shall pass.

Mary Christine said...

Thanks for sharing this.

Syd said...

I like that... it can pass up or pass down, right or left, all depending on what I'm doing and whether I let God take the controls.