The Word Changes: A Journey in Courage Part II
Part I article discussed a pivotal moment in a woman's life where she decided to choose courage over fear. Where is she now? What has changed, and what process did she follow to change it?
B.M. explained to me that if she was to go through Hell to rebuild a life, she needed a reason, she needed something to fight for. I think it is important to understand that it is necessary to have the “why” behind the “what”, or your fight will almost always fail. This woman's “why” revolved greatly around one area of restoration in her life, her relationships. Now, rather than focusing on loss (the drugs and alcohol), her eyes were fixed on gain (her people). Because she had something to fight for, the process could begin.
At first she attempted to cheat the system by skipping ahead in the 12 steps to the 9th step, “Making Amends.” She went around apologizing only to find out that absolutely nobody wanted to hear her “Sorrys” anymore. She had used, manipulated and hurt the people around her for about three years now. They were fed up, angry, disappointed and wanted nothing to do with her. An old timer in the NA program helped her come to the understanding that it had taken her three years to destroy their trust, so it was going to take time to regain it as well.“The first step,” he said, “Shut your mouth and let your actions do all of the talking. Show them you can actually remain sober.” She explained to him that she had tried getting sober many times before, yet could never seem to remain that way. He then repeated a quote from the meetings, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. If you want things to be different, you must do something different.” Why was is that she had heard this quote so many times before, yet when he said it, it was like she was hearing it for the first time? She did want things to be different, it was time to stop twisting everyone's suggestions to try to fit her life but rather, twist her life to fit their suggestions. Nothing she was doing was doing was working, so what other option did she have?
Learning to live their way was obnoxious. She hated every moment of it in the beginning. Her first big change came in the form of attending meetings. She was to attend regularly, not talk, only listen. By listening she began to grasp more of how the program was actually supposed to work. In attending meetings she finally began to feel less alone. She noticed that the members were all just as insane as she was and they were all going through this process together. She felt understood and a sense of belonging for the first time. Next, she picked up two jobs. In the meetings she had learned, “the less time she had to play with, the less playing her mind would want to do”. She began working 15 hour days, 6 days a week. This kept her mind busy, and exhausted her to the point that the only thing she really began craving anymore, was sleep. Working allowed her to start paying off her debts, reintroduced responsibility to her life, and gave her a sense of purpose. With the little time she did have to herself, she began reading the literature they suggested in the meetings and doing step work (working on her insides). Her internal and external worlds were finally starting to align with the person she once only talked about becoming. She no longer had to get people to believe she was changing, they saw it. Now instead of going around begging for forgiveness, people were welcoming her into their lives again. Her fight had paid off.
Where is she now? Her relationships are flourishing and she has regained passion for her life. People want to be around her and she is inspiring others to start changing as well. When I asked her, “What has changed and what was the process?”, to quote her exactly, she said.. “Once I had something to fight for, I was willing to do anything to get it. You wanna know what has changed... my whole world.”
- a the word changes contributor