There was a moment in the life of every recovering addict when he/she “ran out of time.” That moment is as much a part of his/her story of recovery as any other aspect, because it is the line of demarcation, the Mason-Dixon of unbridled obsession, the BEFORE and AFTER marker in his/her life.
This emotional (and spiritual) Continental Divide is a sacred spot in time for the addict; in addition, everything in its environs is made sacred by this one event: places, people, events, memories.
Running out of time, is, of course, not a pleasant experience in and of itself. It goes without saying the bandit who “runs out of time” must surrender, or die; the cancer patient who “runs out of time” must face the conclusion of his/her life. And the addict who “runs out of time” – he or she must stop escaping, put down his/her bag of tricks, surrender to a higher authority, and “face” the proverbial “music” (come what may).
But every recovering addict will tell you that moment was essential, indispensable, and he or she would not have become sober without it! It is the moment when the mountains dwarf you on one flank, the forbidding desert threatens you on the other, the waves of the sea churn straight ahead of you, and the chariots of a pursuing army are closing in on the rear. There is literally no escape.
What the recovering addict does at that moment is always the same; it is a textbook response. Oh sure, variations exist. But the variations are not significant; they are like the variations between blood types – for all practical purposes they all look the same, and offer the same function (only under a microscope do they matter, and then only to the trained eye). And that textbook response is this: Surrender.
Bargainless, unconditional, U.S. Grant surrender.
This sacred moment in time must be revisited from time to time by the recovering addict lest he/she forget from whence he/she came. For the rest of his/her life it will be the crucial turning point in his/her story, the first in a series of countless “right” decisions that made all the difference in his/her life.
Sometimes . . . if you look at it from a certain point of view . . .
Running out of time can be a good thing.