“Trust is like an eraser; it gets smaller and smaller with every mistake.” – Unknown
If there was something I could say I ripped away the most from everyone in my alcoholism, the thing I trampled on the most, the one very thing that I corroded away in the midst of and at the end of my destructive drinking, it was trust. I can’t think of many other things that people hold so sacred as trust – trust in others, trust in ourselves, trust in God…or whatever it is that you see as The Divine or The Universal. Trust is something that we are innately born with, something that is given away with reckless love and abandon. It is like we have a bank account that is full of trust – bursting at the seams. But then trust is chipped away at, lightly at for some, absolutely stripped down for others. For this alcoholic, I certainly had felt the chisel and hammer bear down on my trust over the years – trust in others, and trust in myself. Especially myself.
Yesterday we had some friends and family over – not a large amount – and like many of our get togethers, a bottle or two of wine gets brought over and cracked open. There aren’t any booze pigs like I used to be in our circles, so it’s always very civilized. Early in my recovery, any leftover wine in our house would have been immediately poured down the sink and the bottle(s) put in the recycling. My wife didn’t trust me, or at the very least, didn’t think it was a good idea to have the bottles around me. In the past, she was also afraid to leave her glass of wine left on a restaurant table when she went to the washroom. She also used to sniff my water bottles to make sure that I didn’t have vodka in them. There were many checking of bags and sniffing of breaths in my time soon after my time in treatment. I was certainly not trust worthy for many years near the end there, so why would I be trusted simply because I put the bottle down? Hell, I didn’t trust my own self.
Trust – broken and shattered by my actions, shredded and wiped out with my words. My stock had plummeted. I was bankrupt in so many ways and knew that I was in the red when it came to others’ belief in me. Where people once had full trust in me, I left them penniless in their trust accounts. They wouldn’t trust me with the time of day, let alone anything of worth or importance. I was the Crash of ’29 to many people, brought on by my own selfishness and self-centeredness.
I recall a counselor at treatment tell us that it took his wife five years to finally trust him again after he got sober. I thought it quite a harsh sentence, but looking back at the wreckage I myself caused, I can see how that could be. You see, trust is something that I can’t just offer and hope that it gets taken. It’s not something that someone just takes back, like a loaned box set of “Dexter”. I have to start putting stuff back into that trust account – that fund. With every action going forward and truth I put out there, with every time that someone sees and knows that I am following through on something I said I would go through with, with every moment that I prove myself, I am putting a little shekel into that fund.
Every time that my wife turns in bed late at night and feels that I am there, every time one of my son’s call for me and see my face bounding around the corner, every time that my boss asks something of me and I deliver…those accounts start to fill up a little bit more. I am no longer in overdraft with them. Accountancy is building, and I am more accountable for myself to myself, for myself, in spite of past self. I am creating equity in me again. I can be counted on.
Today I trust myself in being where I say I will be at the time I said I would be there. Others do too. My sponsees trust in what I say, because I have been there. I have trodden the path, and continue to do so to the best of my ability, so they trust that I won’t harm them, that I will be there for them. Because I am…and I do. You see, it’s all about actions. I harmed with my actions, and now I heal with my actions. I demonstrate to others and myself that I don’t take anything or anyone for granted any more. I show that I mean what I say and that the days of empty promises and empty bottles are of the past. I continue to put currency into people’s trust funds. I am not perfect of course, but that’s not the point. It’s about my attempt to change and to be of service.
And it truly is paying off.
This morning, as I was feeding my sons and cleaning up a little bit more from our get together, I noticed two bottles of wine. They were still in the kitchen. Not only were they not in the recycling bin, but they still had alcohol in them. Trusted… I am trusted completely now, and it’s a wonderful feeling. These are fund that will continue to grow, and the more they fatten up and overflow, the richer it is that I become.
And you can bank on that.