And for an addict, when you speak the truth, you bring yourself out of the world in your head. The world of self involvement. The world of projection and judgment, sadness and madness. The world of endlessly dwelling in the past or tripping on the future.
When we speak the truth, we begin to smash the ego and quell the fear.
Don't judge your truth. Don't waste time worrying about whether you speak it well or not.
Just speak your truth -- in a journal, to your sponsor, at a meeting -- as best you can, share honestly -- speak your truth.
Even if your voice shakes.
When we speak the truth, we make ourselves real.
And that's when the healing begins.
I spoke with someone I used to sponsor today. They came up to me after a meeting, eleven days sober. A year out drinking and using and they look ten years older, to me. Not the face. The eyes. I've said it before, sometimes blackouts are a kindness. I remember so clearly, in those early days, sitting in a meeting, and someone would share something and suddenly some terrible memory would come swimming up out of the dark, like the way words appear in the little window on the bottom of a Magic 8 Ball.
(No, not that kind, the toy, you junkie.)
He had a hard time telling the truth. I understand that -- it took me two years to get fully honest in Alcoholics Anonymous. A lifetime defense mechanism is usually not set aside over night.
We spoke only briefly. I was running late, I had to go, so I urged him to call me. I feel like my dance card is really full, as a sponsor ... but ... I feel very strongly that after only ten days back "sorry, you lost your spot with me" isn't what someone should hear. He hasn't asked, I'm projecting -- borrowing trouble (and ... what's that? Do I smell a whiff of ego there, somewhere? Perhaps.)
To paraphrase what the book "Alcoholics Anonymous" (AA's Big Book) says in the beginning of Chapter 5, "How it works":
You can be a batspit loon, completely off your rocker, totally infantile -- a profound example of arrested development -- you can be all that, but if you have the capacity to be honest ... if you can find a way to begin to tell the truth, you can get sober.
As I said, a broad paraphrase -- but I think the spirit of what the book says is reflected there.
I hope for his sake that this time around he can find a way to be honest with himself and eventually others.
If not, whether he asks me to sponsor him again or not, I don't think there's any way I can help him.
On the other hand, it's not for me to judge. It's for me to try -- that's how I stay sober. That's how I tell my truth, get out of the world in my head -- regardless of what happens with him.