Here we are at the start of Lent, and I’m still at a loss as to what I should be sacrificing for the next 40 days. Alcohol? Food items? I’ve already permanently sacrificed those things.
Lent is a time to sacrifice habits you love, gain a true appreciation for the sacrifices Jesus made [which were well beyond anything mortal man can comprehend) and draw closer to God. [More on my Faith in Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely, Rat in the Church Pew and Better Angels of My Nature]
Yet here I am, stuck at the starting line with no sacrificial pain to run toward.
Two years ago I gave up cigars for Lent. I got around it by smoking cigarettes, which set me up for more trouble later. Now I don’t smoke cigars or cigarettes, so scratch that from the list of options.
Coffee would be a major sacrifice, but nobody would be able to come within 10 feet of me without having to worry about me chewing them up and spitting them out. I could put my e-cig aside, but then I’d probably pick up a real smoke again. I don’t say that to sound defeatist. I just know what my weaknesses are and if the e-cig is a crutch that keeps me from the real thing, that’s how it has to be.
I’m starting to think I’m barking up the wrong tree when considering my Lenten sacrifice. Maybe it shouldn’t be about giving up a treat or a crutch. Maybe I should just take this a day at a time and just focus on being a better man.
I could always be more tolerant of other peoples’ quirks. I could always be taking better care of myself by getting the right mix of sleep and nutrition. Surely that would make me more pleasant to be around. It’s Ash Wednesday, and I figure I still have a few hours to figure out a game plan.
This much I know: I was lost before I found my Faith, and it has become everything to me. But I still sin. All the time. Not because I want to, but because I can’t help myself.
Hopefully, I’m better than I used to be.
Before my conversion — and for some time after it — the haze of OCD and the related addictions exhausted the mind and body and incapacitated me for days and weeks at a time. I was useless to my wife and children. I let friendships suffer because getting the binge and then collapsing under the weight of it was more appealing than being a good friend.
I became a nightmare for co-workers, especially during The Eagle-Tribune days, hovering over page editors and treating reporters more like a disease than the wonderful, talented and hard-working souls they were.
I lied to a lot of people about a lot of things and had the audacity to think I was above others, no matter how screwed up I was.
I’ve asked for and gotten a lot of forgiveness along the way, but for those of you out there who suffered in my wake over the years, I’ll say here that I’m sorry and ask you too for forgiveness.
Above all, though, I say a heartfelt sorry to The Man Upstairs.
I need to try a lot harder to get the sin out of my life. But I know I’ve probably got a lot of pissing left to do.
Sober and abstinent or not, we addicts have a natural-born tendency to let things get between us and our Higher Power.
Redemption is a lifelong journey.
I hope I get it right in the end.