As I write this, it’s roughly 10pm. I just returned home from a book talk and signing. I am sitting in a hotel room in NYC. The smell of the hallway was actually reminiscent of the last detox facility I was in, which served as a nice reminder of just how truly grateful I am to be living a different life today. I’m also grateful to not only be able to share my experience, strength and hope with just addicts and alcoholics, but also with all people in life who suffer, regardless of the root cause, which is basically everyone.
Once, when I was speaking with Trappist Monk Father Thomas Keating, I mentioned that I was in recovery. He simply replied, “I’m in recovery too, but from the human condition.”
I found such a simple and profound truth in those words, a truth that still resonates with me to this very day as I make the same prayer each morning asking to be of service wherever and however I can. This is a far cry from where I was at in my life just a short while ago.
Less than three years ago, I woke up in a jail cell with no recollection of how I got there. I’d suffered a horrific relapse that all but took my life, and, for all intents and purposes, I should be dead. That relapse, however, proved to be the catalyst for me to truly get my act together. Since then, this wayward soul, after finding his way back into recovery, wrote his first book, Indie Spiritualist.
I’m so humbled that, thanks to recovery, I am in a position to serve people in various capacities today. Whether it’s speaking at a detox, rehab, online conference, yoga festival or simply writing an email responding to a mother who feels lost and doesn’t know how to help her son who’s struggling with addiction.
The other day, I received a message from an old friend that really brought home what truly is possible in life when we don’t give up on ourselves or on hope. She wrote:
“I just got home from an incredibly emotional experience. I stopped into the book store tonight to buy your book. Johnny Cash was playing and I nearly lost it when I found you in the stacks between A Course In Miracles and Ram Dass because I thought to myself, ‘I used to look through the obituaries for your name, and now I’m looking through the stacks in a major bookstore for you.’ My God, I don’t have the words… I’m just so glad that you’re well.”
And my friend was entirely justified in looking for my name in the obituaries, because on any given day, while I was out there using, I easily could have ended up on those pages. But that’s the beauty of recovery; no matter how dark things have gotten for any us, there’s always hope… ALWAYS.
In 2005, while I was visiting Rome, Italy, I found myself on a bus at 2am half in the bag — it was my very first relapse. There was an elderly man sitting across from me, who, after staring in my direction for a moment or two, pointed at my knuckles, on which have the word “hope” tattooed. As he pointed at my knuckles, he said (in a very broken English accent), “Hope, it’s the last to die.”
Those words have stuck with me to this very day and helped me to get through some of my darkest times.
In the end, hope truly is the last to die, and you, my friend, are just as deserving of love and a good life as anyone else, so please, never give up.
Chris Grosso is an independent culturist, recovering addict, and bestselling author of Indie Spiritualist: A No Bullshit Exploration of Spirituality. He writes for Origin Magazine, Huffington Post and Mantra Yoga + Health Magazine. A self-taught musician, Chris has been writing, recording, and touring since the mid 90′s. You an hear Chris speak at Wanderlust Stratton this summer.