Saturday, April 24, 2010

"The Fear Will Leave Us"

Last week, I watched a friend of mine chair a meeting. It was a good experience, and I was glad that I'd brought one of my sponsees along. This particular friend of mine brings a lot of humor to the telling of his story. It wasn't the first time I'd heard him chair, but it felt like the first time I'd heard this full a version of the journey that has brought him to where he is now.

During the break, I told him how proud I was to call him my friend. When the meeting was over, we stood outside and chatted for a bit. He commented on how peaceful I was, considering what I'm going through in my life right now. Monday was my last day at work. I am now officially unemployed. The next day, I filled out my claim for unemployment insurance. The amount isn't going to be even close to what I was making at my job, but it will help a lot.

My friend's comment took me a little off-gaurd. Another friend has commented to me, too, about how well I'm handling things. She told me that I'm doing much better than she was when she lost her job. My temptation is to just shrug these off, but one of the things I have learned about myself is that I can really hard on me, especially when it comes to giving myself credit when it is due.

Part of how 'well' I'm handling things is because I've had so much time to accept it. Notice of possible layoffs at my job went around over two months ago. When the official cuts were made known, my job wasn't among them. But because I was in a union and had very little seniority, I knew that I was still very much at risk. The union contract allows for 'bumpin'--meaning that anyone else who was laid-off that had more seniority than me could take my job.

It was't long before the rumors started going around. Soon, I was hearing a specific name, and I heard the same name multiple times. I knew that I was going to be bumped. When I finally got the actual notice that I was being laid-off, it was alreayd old news to me. There was no need to spend my energy yelling at my department head. There was no need to throw a tantrum; no need to throw shit or sabotage the woman who took my position.

We accept life on life's terms.

Accepting life on life's terms means accepting the reality that I was laid-off in as graceful a way as possible. There was nothing I could do to keep my job. I didn't lose it because of poor performance, or because I was loaded at work, or that I'd taken too many days off because I was loaded. People get laid-off. It's part of life. It's what is. By the time it actually got down to my last days, I'd already been through the anger and the pain. I had already done my grieving.

Thanks to my sobriety and the Programe, I have true friends in my life now. They have all been there for mw in ways too numerous to list, and I am so grateful for and to all them. I couldn't be doing this without their love and support. They're the ones who have listened to me talk about my fears and my frustrations. They've let me know they're thinking of me, that I am on their minds, in their hearts, and in there prayers.

None of this would be possible if it weren't for my Recovery. Through working the Program, we learn how to handle life on life's terms. I'm working a strong program right now: I am in near-daily contact with my sponsor; I'm going to three or four meetings a week; I'm actively working the steps; I'm of service; I'm sponsoring other men. When my program is strong, my insanity is minimal.

It is a little hard to give myself credit for keeping such serenity going through this huge change in my life. I tend to feel that I'm doing what I have to do. I don't work the program just because I feel like it. I've learned through experience that it's what I have to do to stay sober and to stay sane. My life literally depends on it. To a certain extent, thinking about how calm and peaceful I am right now leads only to a shrug--of course I'm serene: I'm working the program. But if I were to simply shrug, then that would be a denial of the miracle that is my current state of mind.

The Promises in the Big Book of AA don't say that financial insecurity will leave us, only that the fear of it will. That is the promise that is being borne out in my life right now. I'm doing the next right thing. I'm being responsible, taking care of my business, and doing what I need to do. I'm actually looking forward to this next stage of my life. I'm going to put more focus on my music and my writing. I find myself wondering if maybe this time is actually a gift from my higher power--the chance to do what I was put on this earth to do.

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