Once upon a time, I admitted I was powerless over others, that my life had become unmanageable. Indeed, my life seemed to be upside down. It seemed I had completely lost control. It was nerve wracking. I just wasn’t seeing right, kinda like the picture here.
I fought tooth and nail, but finally, I came to believe a power greater than myself could restore my life to sanity, I just didn’t know who that Power was. I only knew, it wasn’t me.
Then one day, I met God, and as I understood Him, He convinced me to make a decision to turn my will and my life over to Him. It wasn’t easy. I fought Him for years, but finally, I did it; I turned my life over to Him.
I sat down with Him, rolled myself joint, or maybe it was two; no, I think it was three. Anyway, I made a fearless daily moral inventory of my character, and when I was done, I smoked another joint just because I had forgotten where I had placed my inventory. So I went to the fridge to look for it. I couldn’t find it there, but I found a beer, so I grabbed it, and satisfied my thirst.
It was hard to do, but I admitted to myself, to God, and to another human being the exact nature of my rwongs. But God laughed at me. He said I had abandoned Him for so long, I had forgotten what it was I had admitted to. So I went back to work on Step One, and while i was at it, I went back to the fridge for another brew. After a few beers, things seemed to be going a whole lot better, but then I learned I had run out of medication.
“On no,” I said to myself, exasperated at my poor planning.
I fought God tooth and nail over those last couple of bongs, and burned my fingers while I was at it, but I forgave Him. Finally, I was ready to ask Him to remove all my defects in character, but He wasn’t interested in listening, said it would take too long, I didn’t really know what those defects were, and He told me to go back and work Step One.
I cried; I lit up again. Maybe it was I who wasn’t listening, I thought.
I wasn’t quite sure, so I asked Him again, and He told me to light up. I did, but then I realized I had misundersood. He had said lighten up. Once again, I was rwong.
When I was done, I set down my roach clip, and burned a hole in my sofa.
“Oh no,” I said.
I humbled myself (it wasn’t easy) because I had forgotten what my mission was, and I was distressed over having that hole. I asked God to remove my shortcomings, (and my hole) but again, He was not willing to comply because He said I was not ready to listen. “Recover your sofa,” He said. I wasn’t sure if it was He or me who wasn’t listening, so I sat down to think, rolled myself another doobie,
and went back to working Step four.
It took me years, even decades, but one day I finally sat down on my sofa, lit up, (being careful to protect my newly recovered sofa with a blanket), and made a list of all the people I had harmed, but the list was so long I ran out of papers. So I went to the store to pick up some more papers, and while I was at it, I picked up another writing tablet, and sharpened some pencils. But when I sat down with my sharpened Number 2 pencil, I forgot the reason why I had picked up the papers, so then I drew this picture:
When I was done, I realized, something about this picture was still not right, but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was. It was then I realized, I had been viewing my entire life from a kilter. I just did not know how to turn it right side up, so I asked God how I could improve my relationship with Him, if that might work. “Send me love, God” I said.
He sent me a cat.
Eventually, he did help me, when I started helping myself. He told me to pick up another eighth, so I did, and for good measure, I rolled myself another joint, just in case I might need it. Then I realized, I had misunderstood Him again; what He had said was pick up at Step Eight. I pulled out my pad, and with His help, I became willing to make amends with all those people, whether they liked me or not.
Maybe it was I who wasn’t sure if I liked them. Really, it didn’t matter.
Anyway, I sat down to watch my ficus tree grow, and humbled myself. I decided that except when to do so would hurt others, I was going to make amends to all those people, whenever possible, whether they had remembered me on my birthday or not. But for years, it wasn’t possible, so I dropped back three steps, and with the comfort of Mary Jane, I started to roll again. Finally, God calmed down, and slowly, I began to move forward.
I made those direct amends that very day, even with those people who were unwilling to send me a birthday greeting. Screw them, I thought. They never loved me as much as Mary Jane anyway. Move on to Step Number Four, I told myself, I mean Step Number Ten.
Now, I continue to take personal inventory every day, and when I am wrong, as uncomfortable as it is, I promptly admit that I messed up (again). I’ve been ‘trying’ to shut the door on Mary Jane, but my loyal friend keeps calling me, so I let her back into my life again. She’s never harmed me. In fact, she’s stood by me for more than three decades, always there when I needed her, unlike the family members who tried to forget I was born by remembering to forget my birthday.
It’s been difficult, almost like a trip through hell (living in Aurora, Colorado), but I continue to seek through prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with God, to better understand Him, and I pray only for the knowledge of God’s will for me and the power to carry that out. Sometimes I fail. That’s when I pick up the phone and call one of my Coda family members. It’s annoying when I get their answering machine, but I forgive them, and call back again later.
Who are these people anyway? I ask myself. They’re working their own steps. They’re no better than me.
Or should that be I?
Anyway, going through a spiritual awakening, as a result of working these steps diligently, I strive to carry this message to other co-dependents and to practice these principals in all of my affairs. Mary Jane has been such a loyal friend, so I allowed her back into my life.
She’s sweet, soothing, always there, unless the dispensary shuts her out because it’s been closed down.
It’s not been easy, even with my friend at my side. It’s been a long, tough voyage of discovery, and recovery. It’s taken diligence and commitment, even when I was angry, but I see no other way to return my life to sanity than to reach out to God, and write.
When I feel I need Coda meetings the least, is when I fall into the trap of thinking I am healed, and don’t need it. Who do these people think they are, anyway? I ask myself.
What I do then is forgive myself, admit I was rwong, and return to working Step One.
I begin all over again, admitting to God I am powerless over others,
and without working these principles, my life is unmanageable.
It’s not been One Step at a time, but rather a smorgasbord commitment to work all of the 12 Steps together, like a sort of buffet table,
or a giant puzzle.
I watch what I put on my plate, fit the pieces together, one by one, beginning with the corners, I separate the pieces of the puzzle by color, shape, and size. Well, that didn’t work quite right either, so I went back to working the steps. Finally, I felt like my world was beginning to function right side up, and eventually, my world started to look better, like this:
“But Alan,” you may say, “this still doesn’t look quite wright.” But let me assure you, it’s a heck of a lot better than looking at the world upside down, and my neck aches have gotten better. Now I just have a pain in the ass,
These Twelve Steps are the answer to my prayers.
God bless you, me, Tilikum the Orka whale*, and our world, and to my seven readers, thank you for reading.
God is good,
God is grand,
and I thank Him
for taking a stand.
* See the film Blackfish.
Ask me what you can do to help free him.