–these are the permanent and legitimate satisfactions of right living for which no amount of pomp and circumstance, no heap of material possessions, could possibly be substitutes.
And, for me–and, I kid you not–no amount of “slight buzz,” the type of which I chased relentlessly almost literally to the gates of hell and the jaws of the death. The actual gate, and real jaws.
The exact satisfactions came earlier in this paragraph and the previous paragraph. I’m no longer (not that “I” was ever doing these exact things, though surely I did my own version of all of them and still do to a lesser degree)
- striving to dominate or rule
- trying to gain self-importance
- seeking fame, honor and praise
I am now
- understanding that leadership depends on love, service, and able example
- gladly rendering service
- squarely meeting obligations
It continues on.
I’ve recently talked to two women, one who is new to the program and one who has struggled. The new one is on work release from jail, because one of the few things she has left is her job. The struggling one hasn’t yet lost her job. The new one is about ten months sober. The struggling one stops drinking for several weeks at a time, then drinks again. Both are over 40.
I just leave these encounters with such a feeling of gratitude that I got so sick so quickly. The work release one is optimistic. She’s been forced into trying a life of sobriety and, as difficult as her situation is, I can whole-heartedly assure her that she is on the right path, that things were bound to get worse for her the way she was going, but that now, though it’s very difficult, things will get better. I’m just about as sure that things will get worse for the struggling one.
The choice between a drunken-stuporous life and a spiritual existence seems so silly now. Of course I would choose this path. If only the other way lead to the drugged semi-consciousness I craved. It didn’t. It’s not like I even ever had an actual choice.