Justification was my weapon of choice in my own addictive suicide.
In January, my church participates in the Daniel Fast. It is a 25 day fast where we eat fruits, vegetables, grains and drink water. We cut out sugars and all the fun foods that we enjoyed during the holiday season. This is not a diet, yet, I do have a holiday food baby I need to birth. It is simply a time for us to get closer to God and our spirituality and less into our flesh. As we started the fast I was quickly reminded just how good I am at justification. As an alcoholic it was the way I always played God and in recovery I still try to play the part from time to time.
While drinking, justification was the guise I used to hide all the guilt and shame I had. It was the magic trick I would perform to make myself think that everyone understood and approved of my lifestyle. Without justification there was no way that I could have kept up my alcoholic act for as long as I did. It allowed me to play God to a devilish disease. Justification allowed me the control I so desperately sought in my drinking.
I could justify myself out of or in to anything.
In my delusional drinking years it seemed that the excuses used to justify were a dime a dozen. My parents divorce as a child and the trauma inflicted from it had left its hole, that is true, but I used it for all I could get. A divorce I did not want produced the paranoia of an ex-wife out to destroy me. Drinking seemed a good excuse as any to deal with the deteriorating relationships with my children and love that just never seemed to work out in one failed relationship after another.
I didn’t just use life’s curve balls as reasons to justify my alcohol addiction. I would also justify drinking itself. Every day ending in Y would become a drinkers holiday. Ordering ten at the end of happy hour from the bartender I tipped heavily. Who would then serve them one at a time the rest of the evening, see I was saving money. I used to set dollar limits for nightly tabs. However, I needed money in case of a real emergency. So I would stick an extra forty dollars in my sock and each night when I hit my limit a definite emergency would arise. Isn’t insanity so clever. NOT!
In recovery things do get better.
In recovery things do get better. I have tried to practice a rigorous program of honesty, openness, and willingness. My constant and consistent cultivation of my relationship with God has been the foundation I needed to lay my justifications to rest. But, from time to time those rascals do try to make their presence felt. Usually it turns in to forms of procrastination, putting off what I could do today until tomorrow because of whatever excuse seems plausible.
When we started the fast on January the 4th at sunrise we were ready and holding each other steady. At church Wednesday night I found out that the fast did not actually start till sundown. We had started about 12 hours too early. Boom, my justification began to sound loudly in my mind. Surely, I should be able to exchange those 12 hours to give me some time to down a cheeseburger, Mexican food, maybe even a nice Chinese buffet, heck maybe all three.
I am going to take 2017 by storm, what are you going to do?
I shared this as a joke even though there was truth hidden behind the smile. My mistake was sharing this with Cindy and several people at church including one of the service leaders. I was shot down, one by one. My justifications were no longer effective and maybe because I really had nothing to hide or mask anymore. In a blaze of glory I was used as an example in the service of how not to cheat the fast. For that I was proud, my justifications had lost the power they once held over me.
The cool thing is, I want this fast. To be closer to my higher power. To become a stronger warrior on purpose. I do not want to excuse away any opportunity for growth. I want all life has for me. In 2017, I do not just want mediocrity, just to be OK, somewhere safe in the middle. I want to be pushed, to be stretched further than I knew my limits would let me, to be everything I was created to be. I want my actions and my words to be my only justification. This year is mine to take, what are you going to do with yours?