Wednesday, September 23, 2009

stepping (17 )


14 years, 4 months 19 days
& counting

thirteen or so..
the alcohol consumed on that fated night
(that virus infects my memory still) moots

i remember ...
thirteen drunks in a holding cell, just like me;
disreputable, derelict, powerless
just like me.

i saw my life...
its sorry reflection undistorted in
the funhouse mirrors of their faces. i was
one of them.

i was with them;
that jail cell, the narcotic spaces were but
some of the flagrantly normal structures on
my mindscape

a revelatory godtouch this; the truth
of my drinking revealed in a moment of

i asked for help.
i beseeched god like one who begs a stranger –
a stranger who knows aught about me. then i

incapable of resisting impulses;
obsessed by wide gates & glittering broadways –
was insane.

committing self-murder by installment;
shortening my demented life with each drunk –
was hopeless!

a drunken assassin, the car, my weapon
of choice, ill-contained my lethal, spiritless

in denial...
a sadly unmanageable melange of
grandiosity, anomie & spirit

self-loathing voided my stomach; leaving a
gaping, insatiable hole only love might
fill anew.

i prayed until...
god demurely came with sedate reserve &
sobriety; spiritus sanctus, blessed

to everything ...
turn, turning -- i changed the basis of my life –
to god. psychic change came independent of

from sinking sand...
lifted he me from deflated ego's
living terror & my
less than adequate

with tender hand...
his specializing power cleared the way back
from isolation through desolation to
sweet nurture.

on bended knees...
i made a decision to commit to a
future of right actions & choices. grace is

now, i'm ready...
to serve god & man; to labor in
consciousness, even beyond ordinary

watching my feet,
i let my prodigal faith look up the road.
faith fears not; scouts ahead -- while i attend to
my footwork.

with heavy heart
i catalogued the contents of my shadow –
old resentments packed away; the grotesque parts
of my self;

hurts inflicted by others, the rejections,
the criticisms, the disgrace, the threats to
my domain.

i conjured up
the faces i stamped on the randomness of
events. (i have always been competent in
placing blame).

i considered
the victims of my selfishness, my godplay,
my cruelty & vengeance yet afloat in
vision's wake.

i began to
sense patterns, attitudes, habits of mind that
could make automatic my flawed responses
to events.

self-will & negative thought filters had run
me afoul of friend, foe & stranger alike.
this, i wrote –

wrote the darkness
conscious. i took my writing to god, to heart.
i found a sober drunk, a friend & sponsor,
to talk to.

i read to him
my self-confession; told him of all my wrongs.
when i faltered from the weight of a secret,
he shared one –

one so debased,
so vile that it made my guilt seem second rate;
& then he yawned during the telling of my
deepest shame.

he heard me out;
showed me that the only consistent factor
in all my triumphs & tragedies was that
i was there.

he showed me that
shit happens, some events are random, unskilled
conduct offends & some people are sicker
than others.

my defenses
stripped away, i repossessed my shadow; stepped
inside, looked around. the darkness joked & my
sponsor laughed.

& afterward...
alone (save that my creator was near) &
at perfect peace, i really could look the world
in the eye

having revealed
& shared my anger fear guilt & shame, could i
release them, the pent up forces that they were,

might i even
step clear of my practiced defenses & dare
to face people & events without ego

i am ashamed
to say how daunting it was (& is still) to
act in ways contrary to those tendencies,
those habits,

those character
flaws. each day did i labor, sometimes light,
sometimes heavy, to do some things different;
next right things.

when i rested
though, those shortcomings would come back like weeds;
i wondered if god really cared enough to
remove them.

i realized
after a short parenthesis that i was
willfully trying to make myself over.
god chuckled.

when i opened
up my heart, god's laughing grace, operating
therein, resonated in the space between
my heartbeats;

sounding the deep
reservoirs of spirit -- interior to
habit, to compulsion, to thought, to self.
god's spirit

working on me,
in me, even when i doubted; moistening
the dry interiors of ego -- keeping
it supple.

& then i knew ...
he surely would remove my shortcomings in
his time, at his pleasure & in the succor
of his love.

drawing mercy
& self-forgiveness from within, i trained -- to
act against compulsion is spiritual

made a list of
all those i had harmed; checked it twice, even thrice
then called again the friend who made me explore
my shadow.

could i do this?
could i move through my shame & self-loathing? could
i risk exposure? my sponsor thought i could;
said i must!

into my shadow
again i went. much less dense than before, i
could see so much clearer -- the relationships
i destroyed,

the deceptions,
sexual exploitation, controlling &
abuse; the dishonesty, breached agreements,

some misdoings
were soaked in scotch, demon rum, cognac & beer.
others, though, bore the stench of drugs & instincts
run amok.

more important ...
i saw how my egocentric connections
to others left them at best angry, injured
& confused.

i saw the harm
i caused people, the damage done ... & sat me
down 'midst the wreckage. how could i possibly
pay for this?

was i willing
to yield not to dependence on shortcomings;
like i had surrendered my dependence on

was i willing
to make amends -- to take crucial action
appropriate & requisite to repair
the damage

caused by errant
self-will & noxious character defect. if
i opened wide my heart, could this shadow make
make me whole?

after careful
consideration, we picked from my list, my
sponsor & i, just a few of the wounded
to contact,

to arrange a
face to face meeting. i saw most of these -- those
who agreed. some i wrote letters, others i
put on hold

until i was
willing enough to treat with them. i made all
i saw or wrote know how wrong & sick i was;
how sorry.

i humbly made
restitution, reparations, recompense
for damage i caused & in that same process,
freed myself

from some guilt &
shame; freed myself to act independently
of my compulsions; freed myself to live
in a world

less than perfect
with woefully limited physical strength,
mental acuity & emotional

but secure in
my connection to infinite reserves of
spiritual power if i just let god's
will be done.

so i review
most nights the deeds of the day. if i have harmed
anyone, i quickly try to make it right.
i'd rather

have a belly
full of accord than bloated with toxins of
angst, anger & acrimony. perhaps this
is god's will.

i am not sure...
so i pray, silently & aloud, asking
the good god of my understanding to
speak to me,

reveal that will
to me in ways in which i am familiar –
in the solicitous attentions of friends;
the message

repeated time
& again by disparate messengers; the
seamless ease in which events ebb & flow. god's
will disclosed

in the way that
new doors of opportunity open when
old familiar ones close; & in glimpses of
the wonder

between drifting
thoughts, in the space where my prayers are always
answered, where knowing comes without words, even
without thought.

have i had a
spiritual awakening, a psychic
change? my personality has certainly
been transformed.

i don't think the
way i used to, placing blame on everyone
but me; contrary & in collision with

i am slower
to anger, much more patient & even more
considerate of others. i don't avoid
the hardships

& suffering
but embrace the fullness of being human;
nor do i have to drink or drug

& the message
i carry? i've been delivered from bondage!
just like me, so u may also be, if u choose.
watch me step!

please step with me.
step into a faith that works. i like the way
u work it. never again will u have to
be alone!

© Joseph McNair;2009