It is the beginning of the month or the end for some, and that means bills are due, or past due. Yesterday, I paid all of my bills (rent, gas, water, electric & cable) on time and had enough money left over to float me until the next payday. It didn’t hit me until I got home what had happened, I wasn’t afraid to pay my bills anymore. I wasn’t stressed out. I had been monitoring my spending, I understood my financial responsibilities and had arranged for all my utility bills to be grouped into one payment, an arrangement that’s proving to work with my busy schedule. If my father is reading this, and I’m sure he is, you can pick your jaw up off the floor now. You see it wasn’t always this way. To be honest with you, it was never this way.
It is written that as we work the 12 Steps of recovery we will be blessed with certain promises. Promises that in the beginning seemed so unimaginable.
These Promises are:
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us.
We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? The Big Book thinks not. However, a year ago they might as well have told me I was going to receive $10 million dollars stacked neatly in a Louis Vuitton trunk, a trunk I imagined boarding the Titanic. Serenity was a luxury I could not afford, at least not right away.
A year ago this month I left treatment and was moving into the most disgusting half way house in Abilene. Taking the advice of my counselors, I made the decision not to move home, but to stay put and trust that I was right where I needed to be. It was the best decision I have ever made. Broke, terrified and completely grossed out by my surroundings, I intuitively made a plan of action. I went to social services and applied for food stamps, I did this immediately. Waiting in line for food stamps a feeling of shame overcame me as I looked around the room. I was in the company of young minority mothers, the handicapped, the elderly and the truly poor. Here I was young, strong and able with reasonable wits about me. I was here because of self-inflicted circumstances… I was not a victim. I felt so ashamed. I made a vow in that damn line that the very moment I was able to get off food stamps I would! Two months later I did.
I needed a job. I needed a job like yesterday. Wondering the halls of the half way house (an old rest home), making my way through the chronic re-lapsers, homeless, wet brainers and speed junkies on reprieve I asked around for work. I was cautious with my inquiries however. There is a saying, “If you sober up a drunk horse thief, what you have is a sober horse thief”. I was able to hustle a gig weeding for a small lawn service outfit. I didn’t mind this prospect because I love doing yard work! Except, theses weren’t lawns… They were apartment complexes. I did a terrible job. The next morning I was so sore I could barely move, but I made my way to the parking lot for pick-up. I wondered how I could ever hold that heavy weed eater for 8 hours when I couldn’t even hold my toothbrush. Having been waiting awhile I went inside to use the restroom, when I came back out I had been “accidently” left behind. Awesome. To be honest with you I don’t blame them, I really did do an awful job. That being said, I was willing to do the work and did the best I could.
With a screw you guys attitude I grabbed my $65 dollars, a days wage for a day of honest work, my laptop and drove to Starbucks. Armed with a computer and a car I was going to invade Abilene and take a job by force if I had to! Friends, you have no idea how valuable a car and computer are when you live in a half way house. They are worth their weight in gold! I was blessed and knew this. I also knew that my car was in active repossession and could go at any moment… If they could catch me, I mean find me. I prayed and asked God to let me keep the car for as long as it was still in needed. To insure it’s usefulness I began to take large groups of jobless job hunting, I gave rides to work, took people to meetings and to the store. I made myself available. He let me keep the car for 8 months.
At Starbucks, thanking my higher power for free Wi-Fi, I found a job online in a field that I was more than qualified for. I emailed them my resume and received a call back in 10 minutes. I got the job over the phone. This part time minimum wage job led to the one I have now, the job that allows me to share my story with you. Unbeknownst to me, the promises were already at work in my life. I don’t believe concerns about money will ever truly go away, there will always be hard times. Today I don’t have to be afraid anymore. The promise that my economic insecurity will leave has manifested itself in the form of hindsight. Today, when money is tight, I’m able to reflect back to the worst of times and know that no matter what happens, God will provide. I know with absolute certainty that he hears all my prayers and will answer them with precision timing. Even if that answer is, No.
My name is Brock Cravy and I’m addicted to me. Email me at: Brock@shadesofhope.com