Excerpt: 'Moments of Clarity'

I did it. I went to my mother's apartment and I was humiliated and I was terrified but I got down on my knees and I asked for this thing to be removed, and it was. Not immediately, but within the next couple of months, it was gone. That thing that I was absolutely powerless over, that had vanquished me for seventeen years, was lifted out of my life. And it hasn't come back since, in over twenty-two years.

The moment I realized it was gone, that was like a burning bush. That was nothing short of a miracle.

Bill Wilson, the guy who founded Alcoholics Anonymous, said, "You sober up a horse thief, and you've got a sober horse thief." And that was the case with me. I came to sobriety thinking I was a pretty good guy who hadn't done anybody any harm. I came in with that kind of self- delusion and also an enormous sense of entitlement, of self- centeredness. And I still have all that. I've chipped away a little bit at those faults, and I keep trying, but I'm the same flawed human being I was. The difference is, now that I'm sober, I'm closer to realizing all parts of who Chris is, the good and the bad. That's the great gift of recovery. To discover yourself and also where you come from—it really is a remarkable gift.

If the darkness is down there below and the light is up there above, I'm going from darkness to light. It's not a straight line and it's not a fast journey, but it's going up. I have a set of spiritual principles that I try to live by. Very imperfectly, but I try. Try to do no harm. Have a power greater than yourself to rely on. Serve other people—that's a big thing in terms of your contentment. And clean your house. Clean your own house, and don't worry about other people's houses.

What I realize now is, I could not navigate my life. I couldn't do it. I didn't understand how people did the world. I was a law school graduate, I had this résumé I'd managed to put together, but the basic mechanics of navigating the world—I had no idea. You schedule a business meeting and you show up. You get a part in a movie and you show up. Even if you're terrified, even if you're afraid you'll fail. Even if you do fail. You show up.

Right now, I'm a productive member of society. I'm involved in other people's lives, I have three great kids, I write books, I make movies, I speak all over the world. I get to do all this stuff because I'm in recovery and I've learned how to put one foot in front of the other. Normal people probably already know this on some level. Addicts and alcoholics, we've got to learn all that.

What I think happens for a lot of people, people who've had a road like mine, is that at the end you're hanging out with users and dealers only. At the end I just had drug dealer friends, so I stopped calling them. It wasn't like they were big losses when they were gone, although there was a part of me that thought, "What about that guy, that really nice pharmacist that I used to know?" Because you have to come to terms with the fact that your relationships aren't really friendships, they don't really mean that much, they're just accommodations to the 800- pound gorilla.

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