Addiction, NA, Narcotics Anonymous, Spiritual Principles, Twelve Steps

Trust Earned

Years ago, while living in Texas, I was out seeing prospective clients when my pager went off. It was the kind of pager that would simply tell me what phone number I needed to call. When I looked at it, I recognized the number immediately. It was the office, letting me know to phone in.

When I called, the receptionist told me that it was Bob, our General Manager who had needed to speak with me. I had grown up knowing Bob, and he had always been good to me, so conversations with him were fairly common and relaxed.

This call was different. His tone was somewhat urgent. He needed to see me as soon as possible. He didn’t want to go into details over the phone, but would explain everything once I had arrived back at the office.

It is easy for me to take such conversations and run away with them in my mind. What could be wrong? Had I missed some important detail? Was I to be reprimanded? I’d been there less than a year, was I going to have to start my career over, again?

Why such thoughts dominate my thinking when such events occur I’ll never know. Fear, lack of self-confidence, the burden of being the breadwinner for my family, all of these and more likely come into play.

Despite my reservations I did not delay. I wrapped up what I had been doing and headed to the office. Whatever my fate, I was prepared for it.

When I arrived, I entered Bob’s office were he was seated behind his desk. The sober look on his face told me that whatever the reason for our meeting, it was going to be serious.

Bob began to tell me the history of one of the Company’s largest national accounts based in the Dallas area. They were responsible for a little over $2 million dollars of revenue per year. Though a long standing customer, our business with them was in jeopardy. There was a new buyer who simply could not get along with our company’s V.P. Of National Sales, who had spent more than a decade building our business with them from the ground up.

A change was needed. Bob explained that I needed to go home and pack a bag. I was to catch a flight that afternoon to Chicago so I could meet with our company’s President the next morning.

As it turns out, I had earned the trust of the top brass of my company. The multi-million dollar account was to be mine. I was now responsible for rebuilding the lost business with them, and growing it even further.

Never in my wildest imagination had I considered this outcome as I was making the drive to the office after receiving that page. Though proud of my accomplishment, I was scared. Was I ready for this responsibility? Could I manage the pressure? What if I failed?

I shared some of my doubts with Bill, the company’s President when we met the next morning to discuss this opportunity. He assured me that I would not have been selected for the job if he and his team hadn’t had full confidence in me and my ability. He also assured me that I would have his complete support.

Bill’s trust in me boosted my self-confidence. If he trusted me, maybe I should trust myself a little. I wouldn’t let him down. I’d get the job done. He believed in me, so I would follow suit and believe in myself.

About 25 years later, long after leaving that company, the kind of fear and self-doubt I had experienced on that car ride to the office had crept back into my life. I was working step two with the man who was my sponsor at the time. Again, I shared my concerns with him. I was scared. Scared of relapse. Scared that maybe recovery wasn’t for me. Afraid that the changes I sought in life would remain just out of reach.

My sponsor listened dutifully, and when I had finished, placed his hand on my shoulder. “Buddy,” he said, “you are doing better than you think.” He went on to share the changes he could see in me. Changes I could not see, but which were apparently visible to others.

As my recovery continued, I found that more and more people were placing their trust in me. I visited my parents at their home in Florida shortly after that meeting with my sponsor. When it was time to go to a meeting, I was prepared for them to suggest that they drive me. After all, why should they trust an addict with one of their cars?

No, that thought never even came up. I drove myself.

Same with my brother and his wife. They simply handed me the keys to their car.

Then there was Amanda. When work required that I be out of town, she would simply ask “Are you safe?” My “Yes” in reply was good enough. She trusted me.

In time, I have found that I trust myself more and more. Fear, self-doubt, and feelings of inadequacy no longer haunt me. I have learned to trust recovery, my recovery, to be that firm foundation on which I stand.

Today I place my trust in the Narcotics Anonymous program. The steps, spiritual principles, fellowship recovering addicts, and a renewed relationship with God, that help bring meaning back into my life.

I succeeded in my role years ago at work. I not only recovered the business that had been lost, but also grew the business substantially each of the following years. Fear and self-doubt gave way to confidence.

A similar process is occurring in my recovery. With each little victory, I learn to trust in the program more and more. I also learn to trust myself as a result.

I am that any addict mentioned in the NA message: an addict, any addict, can stop using drugs, lose the desire to use, and find a new way to live. Trust has proven to be an invaluable part of the process.

Have a remarkable day!

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