I firmly believe that God speaks to me through others. Two years ago today, for one shining moment, He cut out the middle man.

A Thursday, late January, ’08: My turbulent relationship recently ended, I wasn’t missing the drama. Then, when it was almost too peaceful, she called. There was something this dearly departed needed to “share.” That day, against the backdrop of coffee shop tranquility, Jodi revealed that yes, she’d been intimate with a friend of mine—indeed, one of my colleagues.

Fact is I no longer cared for her. That horse was long out of the barn. Thirty-three months on a rollercoaster (five break-ups). The only one to stick was the last—when I pulled the trigger. But my ego!

I felt violated. More by “friend” than by lover. More by the deceit than the deceitful. What followed was an emotional free-fall. Rapidly losing serenity, I was angry…again.

Called my sponsor David, then Burnside. Told my office and then….the rest of the western hemisphere. I was mad at myself as well. Indeed, for the first time in a while I was playing the victim.

I called her back. I needed details, I said. Had to know how, why, when…like it mattered. Like it really mattered. It felt ugly; I felt ugly.

My sponsor’s counsel was to “Write a letter but don’t sent it.” So I did. Seven pages long (typed). An epic. Perhaps even Pulitzer-worthy. Emailing it to David, Dennis and Blumenthal I studied my Blackberry for responses. Within minutes each shot back, admonishing not to send it. Burnside hit hardest: “You’re BETTER than that,” he said. But I hurt.

For a week I couldn’t walk in the office; for even longer I beat myself up. There was no end in sight…until…..

It was February 9—-another wintry gray Cleveland Saturday. When life goes south, they’d told me, run TO the program and not away. And so I did.

There was a 4:30 meeting. There, at Mayfield and Lee I found one hour of solace. Exiting, it occurred to me that a friend was leading Southgate at 6:30. Scurrying up Northfield I grabbed another hour of safety. Clearly, the only place I wasn’t hurting was in “the rooms.”

Half past seven that session ended; I could no longer hide. Like NFL Instant Replay I kept running the tape…and hurting….myself. Only myself. Why was this happening to me? (Sure, the relationship had always been unhealthy…but this?). While driving, Burnside called. “Look who you’re dealing with” he urged. When I’m in the victim mode, though, I don’t listen.

It THEN occurred that that my friend John was speaking in an hour. If two meetings felt good would not three feel better? The tempo of my week and pace of my day were violent. Praying for the willingness to let go…waiting.
But still…

I was wasting time with useless thoughts, with negative energy. Was this worse than what happened in the army? How big an ass am I? Does it even matter?

So I played the trifecta—three meetings in a day.—- Walked in and who was there but Jodi, the other guy, AND his wife. The entire cast of characters in one room…like nothing ever happened. Surreal. As my Dad would have noted, I didn’t know whether to sh#! or go blind.

Taking a seat in the rear (exit strategy for a 9:30 poker tournament), I planned to “white knuckle” the hour. Adding insult to injury, the married clown sat next to me. Could it be? Was this really happening? Right in my f’ing face?

At 8:45 that night my life changed. Forever. At that moment, for whatever reason, sitting in a meeting room at Lander Circle, I asked MYSELF what lesson I could learn from all this. I asked MYSELF why I sat, with a decade of uninterrupted sobriety, a semblance of balance, and let those two people steal my serenity. Were they not taking space in my head and heart, rent-free? And I was the one who was supposed to have it together?

Hokey as it may sound, there in the back of that chapel I heard from God. No, no voices or lightning. But I heard from God. I felt a flush in my neck, a rush of something warm…and instantly I knew that everything was OK. That everything, everything, was exactly the way it was supposed to be. That my job was to worry about my behavior, my kids…what was on MY plate. That my mother was right: Not only is everything the way it is for a reason, but I don’t have to know the reason. In fact, she’d tell me, it was none of my business.

That shining moment I felt cleaner than I had in days, safer than I had in years. And I knew that acceptance was and is the answer to all my problems.

That moment I began to look at things differently. And I haven’t looked back

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