Through the Pain

Through. Not around.

I got sober and stay sober through Alcoholics Anonymous. AA is not the only way to get clean, but it has worked for me and a lot of other people. I don’t push the program on others. If they ask, I offer my experience and share what meetings and the twelve steps have done for my life.

I’ve met a lot of people who can’t stay sober. I don’t have a definitive answer on why some get it and some don’t. Through talking to others, I do know that what blocks a lot of us is the fear of facing ourselves and other people. The steps are all about looking in the mirror and admitting our wrongs not only to ourselves, but to someone else.

That was and still is some scary shit. Facing the person I have been and even who I am sometimes now is not easy. Back then I had to tell family members and places I’d worked that I had stolen from them. It made me almost ill. My ego also found it maddening to make amends to people I was sure had wronged me as well. Why did I have to be the bigger person? The answer to that was that I was the one trying to stay sober. In order to restore some dignity, and be able to walk tall and look people in the eye, I had to clean up my side of the street and clear away the wreckage of my past.

If an alcoholic skips this part—that shit stays there. It eats at us. If we walk around it instead of cleaning it up, it starts to stink to a point where we can’t stand it. If still, we are not ready to confront it—we drink.

The necessity of walking through pain is not specific to addicts. We all have our garbage. Everyone has things they’ve done or feelings and situations they don’t want to face. To fear is to be human.

As a coach, I’m anxious to help people recognize how much freedom can be on the other side of that fear. I want to help others see that going through the pain is the only way to gain the life experience that brings us to our fullest potential.

Who could you be if you were willing to face yourself?

photo: kyle johnson