21 October 2018

The Downside of Optimism... Re-Blossomed in Recovery

"It is hard to get enough of something that almost works." - Dr. Vincent Felitti

"My drinking was broken and could not be unbroken." - My visceral response to Dr. Felitti's quote
Eternal Optimism was part of my 50,000 drinking history and part of my 8 years of Perpetual Relapse. My hope would have me believe that after brief periods of sobriety, I would become the master of my drinking and not its slave.
Vivid early childhood memories are not my experience, but the adults around me as the years passed on always described me as the happiest child. Can optimism be inherited in your genes or is the environment the more determining factor? I don't think it matters much in my case, but optimistic seems to describe me to a T.
I carried my natural born optimism fully into my drinking career. And optimism prolonged my descent even as my life became a living hell. You see, each bad outcome from drinking had me optimistically determine the consequences would be different the next time. As denial slowly crept in and took over, the inner parts of my essential self would continue to believe that I would eventually learn to control my drinking and conscientiously improve in my ability to reign in adverse consequences.
Where might a more realistic hope begin then? For me, it began in recovery. Sustained sobriety renewed my broken hope, transforming it into something other than an unrealistic pipe-dream. The hope of an addict deep in their addiction is unrealistic, deceived into thinking that MORE will somehow make it all better. False hope. False life. Nothing more than lies.
The naive hopes of my childhood morphed into the unrealistic hopes of addiction protected behind the myriad fortresses of denial. In recovery, a realistic humility and a hope based on fruitful outcomes will slowly arise in those who learn in whatever ways they must (staying connected with the recovering communities was my must).
Hope works best when Under the Influence of Recovery. In my addiction, hope was always defeated by the next drink or drug. Accepting the many responsibilities necessary for a sustained recovery were, are and will continue to be the conditions necessary for hope to remain alive, to grow and to flourish.
Now I have true hope, known it and felt it. Hope is lived. Recovery is possible, doable, irreplaceable.

HOPE: Our Most Human, Truly Renewable Natural Resource
"Nothing matters more than that we remain sober because when we remain sober everything matters more."
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