I am ready to put a wrap on 2012, I have no choice – the calendar tells me so. A few months ago I remember considering what I thought about 2012, and I remember concluding that it was the worst year of my life, I was convinced of that and I was more than ready to say goodbye.
Now that the day has come, I feel differently. The year did leave a bit of a sting, but something inside is telling me that 2012 could end up being one of the best years of my life. A turning point, benefits to be paid later. The reason for that feeling is summed up in Eminem’s song “Not Afraid”, he says “I guess I had to go to that place to get to this one.”
In 2012 I came to the earth-shattering realization that I was an alcoholic. I shed the denial that my marriage has been a wreck for a long time, and that it was all her fault. I committed myself to a recovery program and struggled daily; attempting to find humility, seeking a Higher Power in which I did not believe, fighting to change, discovering my defects and fighting the refusal to find my part, opening up to people about who I really am. In the past I had quit drinking during one of my wife’s pregnancies and seriously cut back in the early part of 2011 as part of a health kick – it was no big deal. This time it was different, at times it felt great, and many times it was pure torture – that is the difference between abstinence and early recovery – the work underneath. I felt feeling and real emotions for the first time, and was grossly unprepared to deal with them without the crutch of alcohol. The onslaught of life did not stop for Lance’s recovery. At 8 days sober my home was burglarized and the wedding ring I had picked out for my wife 16 years ago was taken, it was heartbreaking. Through it all I did not drink, no matter what, I found faith that if I could just not drink then I could stay on the path.
Some days I am a better man, and some days I am still the same or worse. Still, if I had looked into a crystal ball at the end of 2011 I would not have recognized the image of the man I would have seen in 2012. The vision of myself, doing the 3rd Step prayer in a public park with people watching, on my knees holding hands with a heavily tattooed man whose shirt said “My balls, your chin” (Sorry to be crude, but that is what it said – it’s a song) would have completely blown my mind – and I did that. In 2012 I learned that I can change, and I discovered hope.
If I was to pick a word to summarize 2012 it would be “RECOGNITION”. I recognized things about myself and my life, and that I am not trapped in my past behavior. Even on my worst days, things are different. I recognize things about my behavior that were previously invisible, I recognize that I have the power to be different, even in ways I cannot imagine today.
Today, I still look forward to bidding adieu to 2012, but not because it was the worst year ever. I am excited about the path I am on, excited for the possibilities for personal growth, and looking forward to what 2013 will bring.
Happy New Year,