Friday, July 23, 2010

Cadillac Problems

When he first told me, "If it's a problem that money can solve, it's not really that big a problem at all", I didn't really hear him. That's the way it is with money problems. They confuse your thinking. I learned later that he was saying that money couldn't get a eye back or replace a lost leg or return a child or parent killed too soon.

It was early recovery and I was thinking mostly about my smile. I'd lost a tooth. It just came out at the most god awful time. I had no money. I was in the middle of divorce with a fellow addict who was using all her money and power to ensure that I had none. Welfare refused me help and I was down to living off the charity of a friend in church. Naturally I didn't think things were fair. I'd walked away from work because it was the only way I knew of ensuring that people wouldn't be hurt. My colleague was stoned, dangerous and dishonest. I'd lost track of the idealism that had caused me to give up my life for the work. My friend I'd trusted with my vehicle had got into coke and stolen my wheels.

They say that addiction is a country and western song. First you lose the girl, then you lose the job, after that the truck goes. In my case I kept the dog. I'm thankful for that because he gave me a reason for living when I thought I had none.

I'd lost my tooth though. That made my winning smile look crooked.

I was pretty miserable, too. I only felt safe in church because that's where I'd gone as a boy with my mother and father. I knew no one would hurt me there. I didn't know if they could help me, but I knew they wouldn't hurt me. Mostly I cried. Later I'd go to my first 12 step meeting. Eventually a whole lot of people from the church, the community, the 12 step meetings, family and colleagues helped me find my way back to where I'd gone off track. I felt I was given a new lease on life.

I even got a new tooth. When Doug Lovely, the dentist, restored the tooth I really did have something to smile about. I'd worn such a frown for so long that it was like the tooth came along when I had need for a smile again.

Recovery is said to be like a country song played backwards.

I got a new truck, a sober girlfriend. I'd have a dog and despite all efforts to the contrary I returned to working again. It was the same but a whole lot different.. I was helping others with addiction I felt good about what I was doing. I had a whole lot of sober and spiritual friends. There wasn't the same kind of dishonesty anymore. Nobody needed a drink or a drug to be with another. No one needed to be hammered to have a good time. There was a whole new level of peace. The good times really were good times.

I still had problems though. These weren't like how to pay the rent or back taxes anymore. Now I had to worry about how much money to put aside to pay the taxes and how much money to save in the bank. I found myself worrying about which vehicle to buy and where to go on vacation. I told my friend about my concerns.

He just shook his head and said, "Everyone should have your kind of cadillac problems!" That's when I learned about cadillac problems. They're the kind of things normal people and people in recovery worry about long after they've cleaned up the 'wreckage of the past.'

Amazing what comes with sobriety and the 12 steps, God, church, family, friends and Cadillac problems. Everyone should be so lucky!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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