I remember when I first walked through the doors of recovery and began meeting folks with years of sobriety. I thought to myself, “They are SO together”! I wanted to be JUST like them! I would sit and imagine how totally AWSOME it was going to be when I to, was “fixed”, just driften’ in my boat down that sweet river called Serene! Yep, it was going to be FABULOUS! Because after all, life in addiction had been really difficult, it was only logical that life sober would be nothin’ but smooth sailing….right?
Sure enough I got sober and sure enough I found myself floating down that sweet river Serene. There were people who offered to go with me, but you know…this was MY trip & they weren’t really “my type” anyway. I wanted to do it alone. Yep… just me & the river. It was everything I had hoped for and more! I was just floatin’ down that peaceful stream, the water so clear and smooth, a gentle breeze blowing my hair while the warmth of the sun was cascading over me. I floated along in an almost total state of bliss, thinking to myself, “Man, sober living is a snap!” As I gazed at the water I noticed the ever so slightly gentle ripples in the water, slowly building and multiplying around me. I thought, “Wow, look at the water. It looks so pretty. I love water.” I laid back, feeling so comfortable and peaceful as I drifted ever faster downstream.
Hearing something in the distance unfamiliar to me, I raised myself up from a relaxing state of slumber in a feeble attempt to figure out the strange sound. Far ahead of me I could barely make out something white on the water. “Hey”, I thought to myself, “that looks like snow. It’s so pretty!” For just a moment I thought, “Strange that there is snow on such a warm sunny day.” But…not wanting to leave the comfort of my sweet trip down the river Serene I laid back to enjoy my ride filled with peace and joy that would never ever have to end.
BLAM!! BUMP!! BOOM!! BAM!! “AHHHhhhhh!”
I shot straight up! “What was that?!! “What in the Sam hell is going on here?!!” Suddenly I realize…. “That’s not SNOW! Arrrggghhh!!! I’m in the middle of white water rapids!!!” I thought, “How did I get here? How did this happen? I don’t know how to do this! Don’t I need a raft?
But I’m in a canoe!!! What happened to my ride?” Then…up ahead… I see it. (Just when I thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse.) That loud noise…”Oh hell, it’s the falls!!!!”
I grab the ore, paddling against the current with all that was in me! For every 6 fast “paddles” I moved backward another foot! Realizing my efforts were ultimately futile, moving ever closer to the edge of the falls, I begin searching the shore line for someone…ANYONE!!!! I paddle and I paddle….I’m still moving backwards! In desperation I cry out, “GOD!!!!! HELP MEEEEE!!! PLEASE!!!!”
Then, I hear a voice…”Hey! Grab the rope when I throw it!” I turn and see some people on the shore line. I think, “Where the heck did they come from?” Then I think, “Who cares!” They throw the rope and I grab it. Exhausted I can’t even pull my own self in. All I can do is hang on tight and let them pull me to shore.
So, (as in my metaphor), this was my experience in early recovery. Thinking I could do it, thinking it wouldn’t be hard and freaking out when the reality of “living” came crashing towards me. Finding that when my “self-sufficiency” reached its limits, there was a God and a fellowship of people that could do for me what I couldn’t --- pull me to safety. I am so thankful for that realization and that over the years the truth that was there in the beginning continues to be the same truth that saves me today.
© Rebecca Balko