“I know that you’re afraid of change. I’m going to hang up this phone and show these people a world without rules or control, without borders or boundaries. A world where anything is possible. Where it goes from there is a choice I leave to you.” ~The Matrix
Alright, time for true confessions. I never really got into the film, The Matrix. I know it had a huge cult following. I came across the quote the way I come across everything…by spending hours pouring over the web looking for information on various topics and subjects. That’s my job! I’m a writer.
But I thought it was a great quote. It’s so real for addicts and alcoholics. Am I afraid of change…uhhh, yeah, you could say that. Change freaks me out even when it’s good. Now show me a world without rules or control, without borders or boundaries–that’s something I can get excited about. (Funny how I don’t perceive chaos as change!)
Sobriety creates an opportunity for us to have a life where anything is possible. It doesn’t matter where we came from or what we did there. We’re like cats. Those of us who live through our addiction long enough to find freedom from it get 9 lives. We can constantly create and recreate ourselves as we figure out who we are (and who we’re not!)
This puts us a step ahead of most of the planet. You know some of those people, the ones who decide at 18 what they want to do and then spend the rest of their lives walking the long painful apathetic road to the middle. If you haven’t changed your mind about something at least once in the last year, you’re on the wrong track–you aren’t using your mind.
We know that it’s nothing to be 30, 40, 50 years old and decide we’re going to try a new career, a new relationship, a new exercise regimen. In fact, getting sober is like a hardcore military boot camp for learning to embrace change. When I got here they said, “All you have to change is everything.”
I had no idea what that meant. In the beginning, my sponsor asked me to stop wearing the same dirty overalls every day. She said sober women do laundry and they take showers. (You can tell a lot about my early sobriety by asking yourself what kind of 25-year-old woman needs to be told to take a shower and change her clothes.)
I learned to go to the grocery store. I remember pushing a cart through Ralphs in L.A. and just putting things in the cart and then taking them out. Staring at the rows of food and wondering what kinds of things people cooked for meals in a real life and why in god’s name there were so many brands of toothpaste. My grocery store toothpaste meltdown is a story for another blog post…but the short version was, I can’t f%$ing figure out which brand of toothpaste I’m supposed to buy when there are 79 options on aisle 4. Maybe I should drink.
It’s the little things that will get you in here.
We know how to do the big stuff. Crisis? Chaos? Ruin? Those were my specialties. It was the day-to-day subtle shifts in my life that caused me more pain.
For the most part, I’ve learned that change is a good thing. I also know that the thing I am most resistant to is probably the thing I need to embrace. I am learning (read: one day at a time, little by little, easy does it) to be more like wind, more like water. To move around and through my life with less resistance.
Just a little something to think about on a Tuesday morning.