The thing that caught my attention when I attended my first 12-step meeting was the astounding honesty of those present. Shockingly calm and direct and brazen truth of a kind never heard around my dinner table when I grew up. I was hooked immediately.
It’s kind of like a bumper sticker that was popular years ago, “Underneath my clothes, I’m naked.” Well, aren’t we all?
The thing is, while we live our lives as a continuum, like a movie playing; we recall it like a photo album. We recall specific moments, and just like a photo album, we can choose what to include. We sift through our lives to find the moments that tell the story we want to tell. All the moments are likely true and real, but the overall picture we paint with those stories may bear no connection to reality at all. Consider the constellations among the stars. There really aren’t any bears or scorpions or swans or dippers up there; those are stories we’ve made and passed down that connect unrelated stars to make pictures we like. The moments of our lives are just like the stars; moments scattered over our years. Some are bright and some are dim. Some always catch our eye and some fade away. The story of our life, if telling the truth, would include them all and it would be like a cold winter night out in the mountains away from the lights of the city. There would be a heavenly host indeed; representing the path we’ve trod in our years and it would be broad and captivating and deep and magnificent and there would be scenes everywhere you looked.
The stories we tend to tell about our lives are like a child’s drawing of the big dipper, (Ursa Major: the Great Bear) on newsprint with a crayon. All the delicacy and detail and nuance is be gone and there is only crude wavering lines to tell our tale.
Within “The Rooms” I began to hear people tell the whole broad and honest truth. The patterns weren’t easy to trace, but the honest brilliance of the telling made up for the lack of an easy moral to the story.
Before I put up my first internet dating profile, I was given some advice: tell the truth. Put up the photo of yourself without the toupee and without the push-up bra. If that’s going to put off people, you may as well get that over right from the start so you’re not wasting time with people who will find out the truth eventually. If there is an eventually.
Tell the truth. To yourself. Begin there. That’s where your Recovery will start.
There’s a reason the coins look like this: