As I sit in my weekly home-group meeting, I comb my fingers through my hair while listening to the chairperson tell a compelling story of resilience and gratitude. I look around the room at everyone's faces and see that they are all astonished at what the chairperson is revealing to his trusted support group. As I scan the room, my eyes end up at the spot on the table directly in front of me and I make a horrifying discovery. My hair is all over it! I wish I could say this is the first time that's happened...but it's not. Suddenly, I can no longer hear the chairperson speaking because the voice in my head is screaming "HOLY CRAP! I'M BALDING! BUT I LOVE MY HAIR! HOW CAN THIS BE HAPPENING TO ME?!" I scan the room again and realize that almost every single person has a great head of hair! I find one man, Bill, who is bald. Bill is much older than I am and the longer I stare at him, I start seeing my face on his body and hairless head! "That's me in 30 years!" I fearfully exclaim to myself.
As I sink off into deep thought and lamentation, the thought process in my follicley challenged head goes as follows:
Why am I so panicked about my hair loss? Why do I find myself immediately creating resentments towards 99% of people in recovery that still have their head of hair in tact?
The answer to that question...Pride and Ego. I've spent my life so concerned with my outward appearance. Constantly exercising to tone my body, spending money on expensive clothes, and trying the newest hairstyle. My "outsides" mattered so much to me because if I looked good on the outside, maybe people won't notice who I am on the inside. While I was still in active addiction, my self esteem was all based on false principles. That went on for years and even though I've attained a number of years in recovery now, clearly, old habits die hard.
During my time away from drugs and alcohol, I've learned what real self-esteem feels like. Evidence-based self esteem that I've earned from doing esteemable acts. I've learned to love myself and accept myself for who I am, and not for the fraudulent person I used to portray. I no longer have to hide behind materialistic concepts but, instead am free to expose my true self for I am no longer ashamed of the person I am today. With these lessons in mind, I come to the realization that my hair loss needn't matter much because it is not a fancy outfit or trendy haircut that defines me. What defines me are my actions, my efforts, and my intentions leaving anything else to just be an added bonus. False pride and ego have slowly faded and what I am left with makes me...
...suddenly, I come to the realization that the chairperson is calling my name and asking me to share! I snap out of my place of deep thoughts and inspirational epiphanies to share this:
"Hi, I'm Blake and I am an alcoholic. (directed towards the chairperson) Thank you for Hairing, I MEAN "Chairing" this meeting! I, too, feel as if I escaped by addiction by a hair. I remember thinking, "if I have one more drink, I'm going to wig out!" My spiritual malady left me feeling bald and alone. I had to condition myself, day in and day out to learn to trust my higher power and the people in these rooms. I had to shampoo out all of the old habits and start anew. I was a hairs-breadth away from dying before I came to these rooms. I was basically laying in the Barber's chair of Sweeney Todd awaiting my imminent death. Today, I can be grateful to celebrate multiple years of recovery but that gratitude only came after taking a fine-tooth comb to the annals of my mind, discarding any unnecessary garbage I was harboring from before getting sober. Anyway, I'm happy to be here and thanks for letting me hair...I MEAN "SHARE!""
...Maybe my issues are deeper than I thought. Thanks for the good genes, dad.