Before I came into ITAA I felt like I had fallen from a cliff, and was lying broken and alone at the bottom. I believed there was no way I would ever pull myself out of the dark hole of brokenness I felt. Something in me knew my survival depended on climbing that cliff and pulling myself out, but by my own willpower I did not believe I could even begin.
Overwhelmed and beaten by shame I would hide my eyes, dropping my head to the side. I would lock my gaze on the moving image on the screen, hypnotizing myself, dissociating from my state of fallenness.
I came into ITAA the night after a streaming binge that lasted until 4 AM. I woke up feeling that brokenness at the cliff bottom. I was depressed, anxious, frustrated, and desperate for a solution. I could not pull myself from the screen and I could not go on like this. I found the ITAA website, I saw a meeting was happening in 10 minutes, and I got on.
That day the faces of those in recovery began to pop out from the precipice of that cliff edge. I listened for the voices that resonated with my experience and I called for help. Ropes began to appear. People who would become familiar climbed down to meet me. One gave me a deep drink of connection, while another helped me check my injuries. Another sat me up, and then one more said, “Try standing.”
Shaky but on my own two feet I was able to stand. Those in recovery said, “There’s a way out of this place in 12 steps. You only need to take them one at a time.” They showed me the ropes and pulley systems. They said, “you aren’t going to have to climb out alone. Clip into this fellow; they’re a good climber. They know how to use the guide book.”
I still felt a weight pulling me down. I craved the dissociative state that technology would blanket me with. I felt pulled by the gravity of the easy out from difficult emotions and an unmanageable life. While I wanted to sink into the hypnotism of the screen, my eyes had their gaze raised to a much more powerful solution. This was key. I took one step. I climbed to one ledge and as I tried to lift myself, something lifted me.
Up to this point, I believed that I needed the willpower to pull myself up, but that belief was a fiction. I have Meetings and Fellowship. I have a program of Recovery. I have the Steps. I have a relationship with a Higher Power of my own understanding. I have a Sponsor. I have people all over the world I can call at any time of the day. The full force of these levers and ropes do for me what I could never do by myself alone.
I still have steps ahead, some that look scary and complex. Yet at some point in this journey I’ve started to experience a fitness. A fitness of heart and mind; a spiritual fitness that helps me climb. There are sheer walls, with few hand holds ahead, but I can’t fall far. My rope is securely fastened to the fellowship.
I am not the person who started this journey. My brokenness at the beginning prepared me to ask for help. That help arrived in spades when I entered ITAA and reached out consistently. Cooperating with this support has made me fit. I am now fit to dream.
Page last updated on September 3, 2023