Friday, July 17, 2015

I Don't Know Anything - Or - Imperfection as the Gateway to Recovery

"The only true wisdom is knowing you know nothing." ~ Socrates
When speaking to fellow parent travellers I will often inject the phrase I don't know anything into the conversation. This is not a exercise in self deprecation. I have a watchful eye on such dismissive articulations. Self deprecation diminishes us.

When I say I don't know anything I am simply acknowledging where I am on a journey on which I have come so far with so much further to travel. It is exhilarating to imagine the experiences ahead. It is a liberating mindset.

Knowing we know nothing is vital to becoming imperfect human beings. This is of course a contradiction, one of the many counterintuitive mindfucks we encounter as we proceed along our recovery journeys. Imperfect human beings don't fix, control or rage against the machine of addiction. Acknowledgement of our imperfections and the freedom to bring about mistakes encourages growth. We don't make mistakes, we create, precipitate and inspire mistakes by our actions, our striving, not our passivity or inaction.

Before we began our journeys when we created a mistake we believed the error exposed a character flaw, so we hid. We isolated and attempted to hide, ignore or gloss over our creation, our error.

When I hid and ignored I became an inward leaning, arrogant bastard. I was frightened and stuck. There was no growth and no potential for improvement.

And so it was with my responses to the son who brought me to recovery. For years I saw his addictions as my character flaw, my error. I internalized The Addiction. I could fix him, control the uncontrollable. I devised incentives for his recovery The Addiction would simply laugh off. I knew everything and as a result became a static being. I lost myself in the process of total certainty and had The Addiction right where it wanted me.

Of course this did not work. Eventually I was broken and on my knees realized I couldn't do what I was doing anymore. I couldn't fix the unfixable, redirect someone who was committed to the addicted lifestyle. I had no answers. I was beaten by The Addiction and admitted this to myself. I had to admit I knew nothing and on that day I began my recovery journey.

In this regard it is hard for fathers. We're supposed to know everything. Society says so, right?

It's hard for mothers as well of course. These are your babies who have spiraled.

It's just hard for all of us to admit we need help.

It's hard to be humble.

We all reach our breaking point, that same elusive bottom we anticipate with trepidation for our children. The bottom is a gut wrenching experience. Many breaking points may be required, many bottoms, before we know we are clueless. There may be multiple interventions from the Universe before we are fully aware of our ignorance.

When the humility finally arrives, it is a gift. Humility is liberating. Humility takes us on a journey with no destination other than where we will find ourselves each day.

Humility frees us to to have only one wish for our children. Our wish is that they too will experience the gift of humility so they may embark on a journey of self discovery unencumbered by addiction and its attendant lies and barriers. This keeps us on separate yet somehow joined pathways. We can feel the sadness of our children who have yet to embrace their own cluelessness, who are resistant to taking those first frightful steps along the pathway already laid out for them by the Universe.

We simply no longer need to be our children's Universe.

With each step along our journey we learn, we discover. We may lose our way for a time, learn from these diversions and find our pathway once again. Each new awareness leads us to the next phase of our journey. We can look ahead knowing we have no idea what the Great Creator has prepared for us. This humility begets trust. Trust engenders growth.

There's no wonder this journey is both so damn hard and so damn beautiful and exhilarating.

When we admit we know nothing we acknowledge the most important truth of our journey. The linchpin to our recovery is the here and now, the present. With this realization our imperfections can be recognized, not ignored or put aside as in the past. Our focus is where our journey is taking us. Our trust in the Universe assures us this journey will lead us along pathways to unimaginable fulfillment. We no longer dread a future that has yet to occur. We trust and feel there is a light ahead, a warm place, a real future for ourselves and our children.

We can offload our children's burdens The Addiction would have us carry and hand them to a Force more powerful than any of us. Our children, seeing us freed, changed and changing, may want some of this humility for themselves - or not.

Remember, it's their journey.

Accept, accept the not knowing, the inherent humility of the recovery journey and accept the occasional reminder from the Universe that slaps us out of our arrogance. Accept the NOW and what awaits us just over the horizon.

Release your burdens, breathe, and live life. It can be beautiful.

Who knew?
"Uncertainty is a sign of humility and humility is just the willingness or ability to learn." ~ Charlie Sheen 

... keep coming back