Facebooking is funny. Every once in a while I run into these pages with bunch of “facts.” Some of them are terrible grammar, and I try not laugh, because my grammar can suck sometimes, but it is hard not to react. Anyway, some others sound like they were written either by teenagers in heat, or victims of bad relationships that started last week, or resulted from no relationship at all, or simply after a night of bad partying. All of these things have happened to all of us. This is how we learn about life – by making it through crap that life throws at us once in a while. And yet some of us never had a chance to rage online when we were teens, and that’s a blessing, because we really had nothing relevant to say, just tears, snots, and fists flying. But today’s kids just can’t wait to get their rant into the cyberspace. And what’s worse, many of these 16 year olds somehow figure that what they say is an unconditional truth. They build a website or a Facebook page to share these “facts” with others, and if I happen to check it out, I can’t help but shake my head and swear, because, again, their “wisdom” seem to come up after a night of crying and drinking alone. Some are a bit more grounded, thought-out verses, coming out from longer-lasting relationships and histories of abuse of all kinds, and yet those ones are dressed up into no less than complete memoirs or carrying a “life philosophy” tag.
I’ve been there. I was alone and unhappy, drinking too much, thinking too much, punching walls in despair, cutting myself, and questioning everything. I wrote angry poetry to vent about broken promises and frustrated myths of love. But thank God it didn’t occur to me to publish my raging madness for everyone to see. Why? For a long time I thought that I was the only one dealing with this crap, fighting the battle of life alone, that no one knew the depth of my misery and none suffered that much. It turned out I just needed to wait out a bit and finally find forces to look around the corner to see others going through the same crap (or worse). All these was life I couldn’t escape and to stop crying and to start learning I didn’t need to go online and rave like a maniac, but instead to pick up a book and start reading about someone who have been there for decades, dealing with it.
I remember how my AA sponsor said that three years of sobriety is a miraculous achievement, but you are still young (in recovery) and hardly know what you’re doing. And, of course, with me being 2.5 years sober at the time I took some offence to that. And yet he was right – I’ve just completed the Steps and was just wrapping my head around what they actually meant in life, practice beyond theory. I’ve talked to plenty of alcoholics in the regular meetings, but at work I was getting transferred into a shelter/rehab and just starting to realize what the world of an addict in rehab was like. I was joyous and naive at that stage and I was slowly learning the facts and getting a bit freaked out. I was getting into a new romantic relationship after a couple of years of living alone and it was a new experience for me, doing it soberly and spiritually. So my sponsor was right – I was not sick anymore, but I was still a puppy. I had plenty to learn.
And that means I had plenty of crap to deal with but I didn’t have a lot of experience to talk about. I had lots of stories, but not too many facts. Couple years later I’d be looking at what I have accomplished personally, compared to what I’ve learned about others, put those together and look at it through the prism of how reality works. The result of what I’ve compiled is what I could call “I lived it and I know it” and I could share that as true, as fact, and as an experience. Experience still rather fresh, but it was sweated, torn through, ragged, and solidified. My first three years in recovery were the beginning. Next couple would be figuring out what I’ve learned and the next would be acting on the wisdom acquired, persevering, yet still learning plenty.
So all you kids and grown up children who fall in love after decades of loneliness, putting your feelings on pedestal and throwing pounds of heart-shaped glitter on them, with rains of powerful words you found in a dictionary and tsunami of long-suffered tears; you, so excited about the life-philosophy you’ve scribbled on a pizza box last night after a bad time drinking-screwing-saying goodbyes, – please walk for another decade with your mouth shut and idle fingers stuck in your back pockets. What you will learn from it will make you laugh hysterically at what you’ve written lately. And you’ll love it and you’ll truly learn something. To rephrase a common saying, not all is truth that sounds right in the moment.