Willingness

by Elaine Palmore

My dear Uncle Albert told me shortly after I sobered up that he had been praying for me the whole time that I had been drinking and destroying my life. Without thinking, I replied, “I didn’t know you could see me.” I seriously believed that I was invisible! I imagined or hoped that people who loved and cared for me could not observe the mistakes and self destructive behavior. I rejected or ignored the people who cared for me and was unable or unwilling to live my life differently.

Near the end of my career of drinking and inappropriate behavior, I received a phone call from my mother. She informed me that she knew that I was in “bad shape,” and that her belief was that if I didn’t quit drinking soon, I would contract Cirrhosis of the liver and die for sure. She said that she had looked up the symptoms. Her next comment riveted me to the spot where I was standing. She announced in a loud voice, “I have called Alcoholics Anonymous and they are coming after you.” I lived in constant fear for the next few weeks that a team of sober people was on their way to drag me out and to those dreaded meetings.

If you leave a plant in a dark place it will not grow and will eventually shrivel up and die. When the miracle happened and I become willing to acknowledge and accept love it naturally began to nurture me and make my life whole again like that plant, being moved to the sunlight. In my Al the Dragon book I mention in the preface that “people loved me until I could love myself,” and truly that is the process that helped me to go from struggling to some level of serenity. If you look at your life as I did and make a list of all the horrible things you have done and come to believe that no one could possibly love you, you are mistaken. Your higher power loves you and so do I.

For me the higher power concept took longer to materialize. I had a different higher power every day until I discovered one that could be trusted. It turned out to be the image of my grandmother that got me over the hurdle, so I stuck with that for as long as it worked. One of my greatest fears was that someone would see me praying. Praying was a singular event and often done with doors closed and blinds pulled down. There were a few years that passed before I would even admit to praying or to speak about my higher power. When I told my story at birthdays I would always omit describing my relationship with God because it was just too personal.

If you haven’t discovered your willingness just yet, be patience and stay away from self pity and resentment. Believe that it will come when you need it most. Self knowledge will not keep you sober but loving yourself is a giant step in the right direction into the light. Eventually, there will be a profound alteration in your reaction to life, love and honesty, and you will be able to see yourself as worthy of love and begin to recover.

In joy and gratitude,

Elaine Palmore