My daughter Molly looked at me last night with these big brown eyes of hers and said, “Mom, I did something stupid and I think my back hurts because of it…”

I asked, “what could you have done?” thinking to myself that she perhaps twisted or bent down without thinking.

“I skipped.”

She skipped. Less than three weeks post-op, she was feeling good two days ago and skipped from the computer to the kitchen, which is maybe a good 5 skips if she got any steam up. Remembering that she is still a kid, swingsets are her passion and she still skips when she feels joy, I couldn’t scold her. I said “honey, NO SKIPPING!” She gave me a half smile and said, “I knooooow…”

It reminded me of my alcoholism. At first I would drink and feel joy. Then something would happen and I would hurt. The advice is always simple: if something you are doing is hurting you, stop. Just stop.

Simple, right? Not so much if you are an addict and an alcoholic like I am.

Thing is we are all looking for something to fill in the void in our lives. As addicts, we seek relief in what we believe will bring us joy, regardless of the resultant behaviors and outcomes. When it hurts badly enough, we stop.

When I was driving to my meeting this morning, it occurred to me (as I approach my one-year anniversary) that in the beginning, even though I attended a lot of meetings, the resounding words I heard were simply “don’t drink and go to meetings.” After some time, “call another alcoholic….find a sponsor as a guide to sobriety” started filtering in, followed by “get into service.” All of these things started to fill in my empty spaces and in and of themselves, while they may not bring me utter joy, they help to fill in the void that remained when I put down the drink.

One of the women shared this morning that she was “in and out.” She spoke with a lot of pain in her voice and shared that two women in the program she had previously been close to were told by their sponsors to stay away from her because she was a perpetual relapser and because of that, she stopped coming to meetings. She implored the group to not give up on her, that she was struggling but needed all of our support (which I believe we are to do!)

I told my Molly story shortly after she shared and gave her the same advice: regardless of the voids in our lives, need to do whatever it takes to keep the pain at bay. It might mean praying every day for another day of sobriety and to be helpful to another person…perhaps calling other people and reading the literature. And finally, since I am big into meeting attendance, in closing I told her what I told Molly: Don’t skip :)

(I’ll keep coming back.)

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