I shared recently about all the idioms of recovery.
Another popular saying in recovery that I like is, “I’m just another bum on the bus.”
Translation: “I’m not special.”
Further translation: “I’m not God.”
A few years ago a high school commencement speech by David McCullough Jr. went viral. The premise: “You’re not special.” It’s quite humorous and if you haven’t seen it I recommend watching it!
The theme of this speech really resonates. My favorite part is toward the end and it sums up perfectly where my heart is at the moment.
McCullough says: “Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you. Go to Paris to be in Paris, not to cross it off your list and congratulate yourself for being worldly. Exercise free will and creative, independent thought not for the satisfactions they will bring you, but for the good they will do others, the rest of the 6.8 billion—and those who will follow them. And then you too will discover the great and curious truth of the human experience is that selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself. The sweetest joys of life, then, come only with the recognition that you’re not special. Because everyone is.”
Earlier tonight in a small, musty room inside a portable I participated in a humble right of passage. 7 men (including myself) broke off from the main SA meeting and gathered in a small circle. The purpose: it was my turn to give away Step One. To everyone that is not familiar with the 12 steps this is simply telling my story. But not sugarcoating it. At all. For about 15 minutes I read my entire history of being a lust addict from my earliest memory to present day. I am happy to report I survived. No one gasped in horror or puked on the paper thin carpet. No one viewed me as a freak or someone that cannot be a member of SA because of my sins. I was treated like another bum on the bus – and that felt like home.
Because my addict brain loves to live in extremes I find myself either wanting to be the center of attention (and with that comes thinking that I am better than everyone) or thinking that I am the absolute scum of the earth that everyone despises and no one could ever possibly relate to. Both are toxic rubbish.
I have thought long and hard about why this is. Why do I give in to these extremes? What is at the root? I think I’m starting to understand its about fear and control. I am afraid of connecting so its easier to view myself either as on top of the mountain where no one can touch me or in a cave where no one would dare look. I want to control my surroundings and that includes how others perceive me, or actually how I fantasize about how people perceive me. Lost yet? With this massive control problem that is a byproduct of my disease of self, I also have a really tough time trusting God still. I literally tell God every day that I trust Him but when I go through old photos I am crippled with fear that my days of experiencing happiness are over. I want to figure out how to fix it and not just sit there and allow God to be God and allow me to be…well me. A regular dude on the bus – trusting that the driver knows where He is going.
When I trust God and turn my will over to Him I can better serve others and not make this life about me. Even in that sacred First Step ceremony I was tempted to allow my pride to make it about me. I realized that most of the guys who were there needed to hear what I had to say to remind them about something regarding their own recovery journey. Yes they were there to support me but after I read my story each person took the time to share how they related to my story. My first step was not just for me, it was shared to benefit others. *lightbulb turns on!
Last Sunday in church the message centered around yielding to God’s will. The speaker spoke about a time he visited a monastery. He said he learned a new phrase and has inserted into his spiritual vocabulary ever since.
The phrase: Deo Volente (Lord willing).
He explained that everyone at that monastery used “Deo Volente” almost any time they were speaking about an event in the future. Even for a meeting that was planned to start in a few hours time. There was a distinct awareness that we are not guaranteed anything. Life is a gift, every single second of it. “See you tomorrow – Deo Volente.” That may seem a little extreme but I think it’s a brilliant take on mindfulness and surrender to the will of God. What better way to live in the moment and admit I am powerless at the same time?
I am so grateful that God is indeed in control. He has a plan and His plan includes me getting well. I am grateful that I am learning new things every day. I am grateful I have completed Step One in my SA program and that He chose to bless others in the process. I am grateful for another day of sobriety and full living.
I am grateful that He will continue to bless me each day…Deo Volente