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life lessons

Courage, Give Me Courage

Pink Dusk©STMartin

I want, so much, to do good in my life.”

To be the opposite of who I used to be, when I was manipulative, jealous, selfish. But it seems that I have lost sight of my original desire, because after I wrote that first sentence, I realized that I haven’t thought too deeply about it for a while. I’ve been going thru the motions, but it has all been about me: How do I feel? How does this effect me?

. So…where is my gratitude for leaving the life I once lived ? For leaving it only with God’s help. I most assuredly did not do it on my own. Twenty three years of active addiction? NA, AA, White chips, White key tags, surrendering over and over, and over again? Only to return to my ways (like a dog to it’s vomit) within the space of a day, a few hours, a few minutes? No, this was not my doing, not at all. Did I hate who I had become, after it was all said and done; my old man in Prison for 15 to life, and me a “disheveled biker”crawling home, begging my father to let me move in with them again? Oh, yes, I hated myself. But that had been a constant since the day my Dad had called me “disgusting”, a day when I made a conscious decision to be as bad as I could possibly be, since being good had never been enough for him. So it had to be my “Higher Power” who heard my pleas that night, 23 years later, when I had been living back in his house, moved into my old room and sticking a needle in my arm for what I was hoping would be the last time. Because I had loaded it up, baby… I was going to ride the lightning right out of existence.

. It was all set up, the spoon, the syringe, the coke, the pain…

I had promised them I wouldn’t do drugs anymore if they let me move back home. It was 1999, and my husband had been sent to Federal Prison a couple years before, and my folks had helped me get back on my feet, even gone so far as to give me a job at their pool hall. I mean, they trusted me… . Did I deserve that trust? What do you think? I had been drinking behind the bar, befriending all the local sharks and gamblers, and learning who was moving the dope around. It wasn’t hard to figure out who the main dude was…he’d show up and after a few trips in and out to the parking lot later, all the locals would be jumping around like rabbits, talking a mile a minute and wiping their noses.

. I didn’t need any more clues, especially when he was caught on the video camera in the back room wheeling and dealing. My Dad threw him out then, just as he had a million times before. But now I knew where the action was. The next time “Tommy” slipped in when I was working alone, he offered me a ‘pick-me-up’ if I would let him make his rounds.

. “No Problem.”

. Was that me talking? Did that just come out of ‘the good daughter’s’ mouth’ Yup, it did. A few free lines left in the ladies room quickly became an 8 ball every Friday, free and clear. I was up and running, just a few months after landing at the old homestead. Oh, I tried to protest, I tried to stop. I had meant all the things I promised to my Mom, I was never going to risk their livelihood. I told Tommy to chill out, don’t come in the joint so often, finally telling him that I quit using. He just smiled and left my package under the sink, business as usual…

. That’s why I now stood at the window of my bedroom, ready to end the lies for good. The tears ran in hot rivulets down the sides of my nose. It was 2:00AM, Mom slumbered peacefully away in the next room. My fiasco of a life tripped by in my mind like bad scences from a crime movie. Failure, loss, abuse, addiction, theft, hate, lies…a wasteland. And the disappointed faces of my parents, my brother, my deceased grandparents as a misty backdrop to it all. Well, I had it all ready, it was time…

As I stuck the needle in my arm, the wind blew the curtains, and I saw a candle flame nearly blowing out. I watched and, as time stood still, the flame reduced in size, to the tiniest of tiny little sparks-ready to go *pfft* out. Then with the most amazing clarity, I knew that was my life. And I held my breath, I didn’t want that flame to go out. I slowly set the loaded syringe down on the nightstand and got on my knees…one last time. I would try, one last time, to get well-to not give up. . I poured my heart out that night in prayer. I got up and took the drugs and the syringe over to a friends house who I had called and awoken. I had no idea he was in AA when I offered them to him. He laughed and said he had been clean for years, and he sat with me the rest of that long night. He convinced me to throw the dope away, and we were sitting next to a swimming pool, so it was discarded there.

. In the dawn hours, when the light touched the eastern sky, my friend convinced me to try AA again, and we drove to the nearest meeting. I don’t remember anything except spilling my coffee, and that it was a men’s only meeting, but since I had just been 12th stepped, they let me stay, knowing how fragile I was.

. Now, finally , after telling you this story, and going back in time, I am able to be grateful again. Because there was no candle on the table that night. No, not a physical one…

I want to do good in this life, to show my God, who I know is real, how much I love him. And how truly grateful I am. .

God’s Promise©STMartin

By Susan T. Martin

I am an Artist, Poet and Author. A Survivor of Violent Sexual Abuse and Rape, I have lived thru Severe Domestic Violence, Twenty Three years of Addiction and Alcoholism, Family Dysfunction, Chronic Pain, Dependence on Opioids, and 2 Venomous Snake Bites...I have Been Stabbed, Shot at, Tied to a Tree and Choked Unconscious. A Quarter Horse Rolled on Me, as did a Lawn Tractor. I also Wrecked a Harley into a Tree! I also have PTSD and Rapid Cycling Bipolar Disorder, and spent my 18th birthday in a Locked Psychiatric Ward. I am so much more than this: I feel like a tiny seed that sprouted in a desert, and now has grown into a Passion Vine. My Art is my Voice, Screaming, Crying, Praying, Loving, Laughing, Healing- all in Riotous Color...