Monday, December 6, 2010

About making amends and Humility.

When we start drinking regularly and heavily we stop growing emotionally.

This statement might seem trivial to most especially those who does not suffer from an addiction. See so called normal people are not as lucky as I am… This might sound even weirder! However it is true.

I believe that a person going through life without falling or lagging behind in emotional growth, as well as life experience; because of an addiction get to experience this growth and life experiences at a normal rate. I did not get to take this road of emotional development at a normal rate that could I could grow emotionally with the rest of me. I had to keep myself in a permanent alcohol induced state for about eighteen years. The reasons for this being what they may, have no consequence now. Neither does it serve a purpose to go and find excuses for that. The fact remains that I did not allow myself this development through choice. As hard as reality might have seemed at times during those years and as much as I could escape from my life because using my drug of choice, alcohol. I am still now faced with the reality of having to deal with an exponential emotional growth, and realization of this emotional Nuclear Bomb that I have dropped on myself by sobering up.

Humility is defined as the quality or condition of being humble, being of modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance, rank, etc. Humility is defined also as being synonymous with, submissiveness, meekness, or lowliness.

For me I learnt the true meaning of humility when I had to go back to people whom I have wronged, when I had to face them and offer not only an apology for my own screwed up actions when I was drinking. But also had to ask them what I could do to make it better. After al an apology without some kind of ratification to the injured party is normally not seen as an apology at all. Yes sure I have also been the recipient of an apology, but only after doing this myself, have become aware of the importance of not only receiving an apology but also being able to feel better through the person’s actions that was in the wrong. Saying sorry is easy; making it better is damn hard!

This is something that caused me to take a long and hard look at my life while having been an active drinker. A drunk.

The experience of looking back over ones life and starting from where you feel you should have started being a responsible adult, and listing the people you have wronged in itself, is an earth shattering humbling experience. The cold shivers caused by knowing you have to go and find some of them for the express purpose of confronting them with your screwed up actions is even worse. And when you get to talk to them, and tell them what you have done, you feel small. Really small.

Some people take this as might be expected. “Ok, what do you want from me? “Or “tell me your real reason for doing this” or even “I thought you knew that I never want to speak to you again.” And then also the absolute worst is to be ignored totally. In this action you get faced with true humbling humility, you get to feel what some people that are in your past might have felt like. And it is not an experience that you want to repeat.

There is of course a very selfish spin off to this, as we human beings are selfish and self centered and egotistical by nature. And that is not only because of the selfish reason of achieving sobriety by doing it. But also the knowledge gained from the humiliating actions you have chosen to take in order to get there.

You start expecting people around you to do the same thing….

By going back and looking at how you have wronged others you realize again that through this all, you have not always been only wrong. That sometimes you to have been be done in. Or wronged or been on the receiving end of someone else’s actions.  I have struggled a lot with this, as I immediately realized this and saw the problem in this for me. I still struggle with it. I have not always been the bad guy only, to the contrary I was mostly a good person with a bad addiction and prone to the lies, deception and neglect to those close to me that paved my road of addiction.

But now suddenly having had this experience and knowing that I wanted to live such a life that I did not want to repeat it and do it to myself again. I started feeling in a strange way free on the one hand and in the other so bound by my expectations of wanting to experience this from the point of view where I could also be apologized to and asked how those whom have wronged me could make it better that it became a struggle in itself. Because facing my own feelings about this, I realized that there were people that have hurt me very badly, people whom I still believe that I can legitimately expect from to do this.

However that is based not only purely on my own opinion and experience but also the disadvantage of being so lucky to have done this myself. I have had some apologies from certain people but strangely did not feel any better. I think I got almost a feeling of a massive let down as I had to apply my own selfish reasoning to their apologies. The one where I found humility, and meekness, where I felt I had tried to rectify and make better what I had done wrong. And this is not something that any person can ever judge another about. This is not something that you can ever ask someone to do.

Any apology that does not get offered, but rather elicited or said in self defense or even self preservation is ultimately no apology at all.

It took me to have the expectation of being apologized to and ultimately receiving a half hearted apology said in self preservation purely because of that expectation to see clearly what my amends to others must look like.

I do still do not believe that living humbly in the true sense of the word is always such a good thing, but I do believe that experiencing a bit of humility here and there goes a long way in keeping me aware of  the consequences of my actions.

Sometimes just listening to the song by Blue October - Hate Me gives me a new realization of these shortcomings I have and most probably will always have.

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