She sat across from me, broken again. How many times was I going to be willing to sit down with her after yet another relapse? This was a question I had to ask myself. If I had a limit on how many times – why? Perhaps, I felt inadequate? After all, I’m not a therapist, I personally have never been in a treatment center, I hardly recognize drugs prescribed for depression. Why would I end our relationship?
Well, what does one do with someone they sponsor when the person can’t stay sober for any length of time? That morning, I tried my best to put myself in her place. How broken it must feel to be 50 years old, at one time had 16 years of sobriety and now can string a few months. To have to sit across from someone, yet again and admit you drank again. How awful it must feel? As I looked at her, as much as I saw the broken alcoholic, I also saw someone who was extremely humorous, an energy people were drawn to when she shared in a meeting. She never lacks friends or things to do. People genuinely love being in her presence. She is employable by about anyone. She has no trouble finding work, she has trouble staying put. As she sat there that morning, those were my thoughts. Next, what do I say?
I had worked the steps with her, albeit she never got to 12 because she would drink before she got there. But we did do the inventory and she had made several amends. She had done some good work, it was unfortunate we were starting over – but were we? I don’t believe we lose our growth because we drink. When we keep coming back for round 1, round 2, round 3, and continue to work we grow – the drink doesn’t get to take that away from us.
Additionally, I believe no matter how down the scale we go, we all have amazing abilities in our arsenal. How could we not? We have things we are good at. So, that morning, sitting there with her I decided to push her to brag on herself.
“What are you good at?” I asked. “what?” she replied. I repeated the question. She was hesitant, but began to share she is a really good worker at her employer. She always gets a lead position, and her employers love her. I asked for more detail. She further explained she has attention to detail, and works very hard. A very good work ethic. I then asked “what are your dreams?”. She was shocked I asked, I think she figured we were going to talk AA, relapse, the story – she said “well, there is this one thing…” I inquired. She told me a story of a dilapidated house she drives by, and how she envisions creating a non-profit for abused dogs. She has a sensitivity to abused animals. (Now, me knowing her story reflects it’s because she was more less an abused animal in her child hood – more compassion overcame me). She shared about her passion for dogs. I then took her through a meditation exercise where I had her vision the house, all fixed up – her office, the dogs running outside, we got detailed – what her plans would be for this day she was envisioning. What did the dogs look like? Afterwards, she opened her eyes, we talked some more about her other dream to play a violin. We discussed her taking lessons. My goal with her became to give her hope why she could do this one more time. To give the sobriety another shot. Her life wasn’t over, there were things still left to make happen. One day at a time.
We all have talents. In fact, we are really good at something – you know, that thing only you know how to do. We forget how unique we are to the world and the relationships we are in. In forgetting our uniqueness, we lose our esteem. Remember as kids how we would get in debates with friends about who did what better? Or we would get jealous of a friend because they could do something well, that we couldn’t? As adults, we are all good at something. What are you doing with your something? Are you using it to help others? Are you even using it? What about teaching others how to do it?
This is a great exercise to do on your own, especially if you are in a rut and questioning your being, what you do for a living, if you are suffering from low self-esteem – have a little negative talk going on. Believe me, we all have wicked talents – but we grow up and we forget them or we minimize it as just something we do.
Do yourself a favor today, and remember all you are good at. It is a blessing to have one talent, and most of us will have several. Share your talent, maybe pull it out of the closet where it’s been hiding and enjoy it again!
Have a nice day, and enjoy the journey – you only get one!