Piercing the Armor
Tracy H, Nashua, NH
I wasn't engaging fully in program, there was something invisible
separating me. I was trying to absorb, attend and be helpful, and I did
appreciate the generosity I witnessed, but I was self-conscious,
self-critical and unable to find my voice.
of new sobriety was spiraling into long set patterns of anxiety. While I
was grateful for some changes, I was questioning others. Underlying it
all lay the question - "why couldn't I drink again?"
While on a road-trip, I heard a loud bang. It was 15 miles before I
could stop to inspect damage. Similar to what I had come to recognize
in the past year as layers of denial, my brain could not process what I
knew to be true. The hole in my car door had
been made by a bullet.
In meeting with officials, I began to understand how fortunate I
was. While a new instinct, I did think to thank HP. But I was in a shaky
state and to my chagrin I was thinking of how nothing but a drink could
calm me down after such a trip. But I had
prayed! I was 9 months sober! Still I thought, I would be justified, HP
I had 4 hours of driving to go, alone with my thoughts. I came to
realize that not only was I relieved to be alive, I had hopes for the
future. It hadn't been too long ago when I had felt otherwise, that not
only had I been acting in reckless disregard
for my life but for those around me as well. The guilt of this
realization hit hard, and I understood this as the real essence of my
prayer. That yes, while a thank you had been in order, what was really
necessary was that I honor HP's will and not disrespect
it by entertaining thoughts of selfish justifications.
I realized that not only had that bullet torn through the metal of
my car door, but it had pierced through the invisible membrane of
ambivalence that had been smothering me. I was grateful.
I've since had a few months to reflect and grow within the program,
and the whole experience has been woven into the general blur of the
first year of sobriety.
I carry the bullet in my pocket, alongside a
newly received medallion, the faint clink of metal
on metal oddly comforting.
As was encouraged by my sponsor, and set as an example by those in my
home group, I continued to work on my personal relationship with HP,
which has both become more comfortable and comforting. My group
encourages "slow-briety", which the very mention of, used
to make speedy-me cringe. But I'm beginning to see the wisdom of just
being. With new tools, I'm learning to sit with myself.
Daily communication with others in program has become essential: an unexpected gift of connection for this loner.
I work on acceptance.
Having the physical reminder of the bullet I dodged as a metaphor
for all the "yets" I won't have to experience
now that I have become an involved and contributing member of AA, next
to the proof of ability to overcome my history, should I choose to stay
close to my program as embodied by that circular coin over which I rub
my thumb daily, reminds me of the priorities
of unity-service-recovery to help fortify this new awareness.
That I would turn to this barely audible clink of bullet-on-coin as
a talisman to help navigate a still-complicated world with new sober
eyes comes as a surprise, but increasingly feels more "me", the reality
of which makes me eternally grateful.