Brick By Brick

What is worse than stepping on a pile of legos? For me, it hurts way more when someone knocks down something I was working on. When I was little, I loved to build and design my own creations. I would stack the yellow lego on top of the red one, then the blue and greens on the outside to design the image I had in my mind. The tower would grow and I would stand back, admire the design, and want you to admire it too. If my little brother got upset, instead of going for me, he would aim for my tower. A little foot to the base of the creation and the legos come apart, tumbling down around me. That was what crushed me. I could walk through 100 legos and be okay but watching one tower fall would destroy me. I learned very quickly that you can put a band-aid on my cut with a kiss to heal,  but you can’t put a band-aid on my heart or pride.

I see my whole life as a stack of legos coming together. When I was in middle school, I started picking up blocks that others chose for me. Even if I didn’t like the color, shape, or size, I would take the lego with a smile and add it to my creation. The base was me – so I thought – but the rest was them. They were from the girl I thought was cool and wanted to be friends with, the boy I wanted to impress, the teacher I wanted to prove I was smart to, my family that I wanted to keep happy; I slowly stopped picking up my own pieces and became a Frankenstein of them. I was their creation, not mine, not God’s. God’s blocks didn’t start showing up until I was 14 years old but I quickly kicked them aside and decided mine were better.

I drank for 7 years and hid it from everybody. The legos I chose were slowly weighing down my tower. The base was crumbling, the foundation had cracks, and the replacements and additional support I chose were just as bad. My creation was a big lie. My faults, my fears, my addiction was hiding in plain sight, in the middle of my tower that I decided to let you build for me. Alcohol is cunning, baffling and powerful for me. It deceived me into thinking life would be better if only I would let it build. I signed the contract with death and let it consume me. When I came close to meeting my half of the contract, the original builder, the original creator stepped in and saved me by ripping up that contract. The God that had provided me the blocks in the first place, the God that had created me so that I could create for Him, the God that didn’t want to see my tower fall came into my life once again.

Human beings are flawed. We convince ourselves we’re good people because we don’t display any extreme behaviors like rape, murder, and the other big ones. However, we relish in our less violent, more subtle behaviors. We speak romantic thoughts that wrap around the lust that’s really in our minds, we gossip and destroy reputations which is the polite form of character assassination according to the Big Book. For me, I had a secret pleasure in watching other people’s towers come tumbling down to be able to stand back and say, “Look at me! Look how great my tower is! Don’t compare it to anything else, just look at the pile next to my tower and look how not messed up mine is!” My mind is sick and I see that now.

A couple months ago, I watched my own tower crumble to the ground. Nobody brought me there except me. I tried desperately to blame everybody around me but I was the one that poured the poison down my throat, I was the one who had been deceptive, manipulative, and toxic, and I was the only one left standing when they called out the guilty. This program that I’m working is all about cleaning up my side of the street. I apologize where I have wronged people, forgive where I have been wronged, but the most important thing I need to do is to forgive the person that hurt me the most: myself. I can’t truly forgive others until I forgive myself. Now, I can stand in front of a human and admit everything I’ve done wrong. I can live in humility in front of humans, but when God is looking at me, suddenly I want to stand up, puff my chest and be perfect. It is next to impossible for me to fall to my knees and say I’m sorry to the creator that started my tower for me. I refuse to let Him forgive me because maybe part of me doesn’t quite believe I deserve it yet. With every step I’m working, I find myself squatting, ready to fall on my knees, then standing back up with pride, squatting back down, then standing again. My body is wrestling with itself.

My creator is handing me new blocks to begin building with. This time, I’m the one that gets to build me, just me. I don’t really trust myself to do a good job because I’ve let others build it for me for so long. I’m afraid I’m not creative, nobody will like my work, or I’ll fail and it’ll fall again. This is when the loving creator I can’t apologize to comes behind me, wraps his arms around me and helps me to pick one up and put it into place. He’s like the potter who comes behind a student and guides their hand on the clay, forming it into a beautiful shape. I watch the pot slowly start to form before my very eyes. Yes, I am capable of making something beautiful! But only with His help.He steps away to let me build and I find my hands shaking. How do I start over? How do I make it as good as the last tower? What if I fall again? But I pause and breathe. The last tower almost killed me, the last tower wasn’t me at all so I didn’t care that it fell, I didn’t care that you hated it. This tower though is going to be fully me. It’s going to be built on a foundation of God, trust, and new principles I’m learning and only getting better from there. The next layer are things I need to do to stay sober and keep growing, bettering myself everyday. The next layer can be things that I love to do.

Wait. What do I love to do? This is the layer I’m stuck on right now. I’m developing my interests and getting to know myself again. Nobody warned me how difficult it’d be to get to know myself; I thought it’d be natural since I’m, well, me. I lied to myself for so long about what I liked, didn’t liked, wanted, didn’t want, and now I get to listen to myself and trust that I know what’s best for me. My mind is healing, my heart is growing, my walls are softening, my soul is learning to fly, and my body is learning to trust that I won’t hurt myself again. I wiped away the old legos, I cleaned the base, and let my creator help me with the foundation. I thought I was the best builder so I could do it all by myself but I watched it crumble before my very eyes and there was no foundation to save it. Now, there’s a foundation and it’s based on a creator that can actually support me. He reminds me of the man who carries the world on his shoulders but instead of the world, he’s holding me. I can no longer carry myself by drifting in a river of poison that pretended to take me away from my troubles.

I guess the point of this rant is that I am rebuilding my tower with new legos. I’m afraid to show you because you’ll really see me this time and not a mask that I wear. The creation you see will be 100% me and that’s terrifying. I begin to play the what if game but quickly step back. So what if they don’t like me? I do. So what if they can’t forgive me? I will. So what if I’m scared? I’m doing it anyway. So what if they walk away? God stays. So what if they say I’m not good enough? I’ll say it. I put myself on display and offer all of me to God, those around me and the world, because those who accept and love me, get the gift that is me for who I am, who I’ve been trying to be this whole time. I have my directions now and I’m going to follow them to build the best creation I’ve ever built. When my brain invites me to play the what if game, I have to decline and continue putting one brick on top of the other to quiet down my anxious heart. God is building through me and when I cooperate with Him, we grow closer to His will and plan for me together. Every time I get stubborn, the tower stops growing and we have to knock off the rotten pieces.

I’m used to doing things on my own, not having real friends, being a “lone wolf”, if you will. Now, I want to invite those I trust, love, and care about to see my creation and love my tower with me. It’s the best one yet and I’m so proud. I am so thankful to have those who are already surrounding me with love and encouraging me to continue building my own tower. I’m so thankful that I get to choose who is around me now, that I can say no to those who want to stand by me for show, that I can stand up for myself. When I get scared, all I have to do is look around, drop the “lone wolf” attitude, and breathe. I’m going to be okay. Maybe not now, maybe not tomorrow or next week, but I will be okay. I am me and this is my tower. So keep on keeping on, one brick at a time. It’s going to be okay. All that’s left to do for me is to believe it.

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