I have no tattoos in my 43 years. There are many reasons for this I suppose but ultimately I have just never found anything important enough or UNIQUE enough to permanently etch into my skin. Sure…. I love my kids and think their faces are cute, but how many people do you see walking around with images of their cute kids on their body (exactly). If it even seems cliche, I’m not doing it. Back in my drinking days, I burned myself with a cigarette (on my arm) then another drunken evening I tried to turn it into this diamond shaped cryptic theme related to “Spiritual, Emotional, Mental, Physical”. That’s as close as I’ve ever come to anything like a tattoo… four cigarette burns on my left shoulder from a couple of drunken nights in my twenties. If I was part of an elite group like the Navy Seals or Army Rangers I would be honored to brandish the respective ink, but, no such accomplishments….. or is there?
It’s not uncommon for me to speak with a parent or parents of one of my sponsee’s. It’s becoming even more of a regimented practice to speak and work with parents now that I’m running my sober living house/program. I hear and witness volatility and the full spectrum of emotions; fear, desperation, gratitude, relief. They make comments like “thank you so much” or “I’m so glad we found you”. My ego wants to take credit for the drastic metamorphosis in their child’s life but I work hard to keep that ego at bay (and give credit where credit is due). I let them know it is the 12 step program and God that returned their child to sanity. The AA “Big Book” defines the cure to drug and/or alcohol addiction as “a Spiritual Awakening”. My role is to just do some legwork and give away what was so freely given to me (so I can keep it).
The one title I have been claiming lately, however, is a “Soldier of God”. I used this term the other day while meeting with a Mother and Father about admitting their son into my program and the mother burst into tears as soon as she heard me say it. In that moment, I realized that I was the manifested answer to her prayers, forged from the fires of hell itself and armed with empathy and the capacity to help available ONLY to a recovered addict who’s “been there”. It was beautiful and humbling. Every hardship that led me to that moment was worth it and I was even grateful for them.
I can remember wanting to help and lead others to a better way from a young age (maybe 12 or so?). It always seemed to accompany my rage, fear, and misery for some reason. I’ve studied, read and learned from successful and highly effective people most of my adult life with a deep fascination around how to rise above. I’ve always wanted to create a better way for not only me but others too….. to reach enlightenment, peace, success, and happiness. I also have a morbid fascination with creating powerful circumstances. Be it social, business or program… I want to create and be a part of something big, beautiful and beneficial to my fellow humans and this world. That’s what it’s all about, right? At least it appears to be what it’s all about as I approach this half way point (or so) in my estimated life span (to reach and help as many people as possible).
So, all of this rambling to make my final point and complete a long circle. If I WERE to consider a tattoo.. it would be “Soldier of God”. I’m NOT committing, but it just MAY be that one cool and unique thing that warrants permanent markings on my body. Something that won’t make me look like an idiot as the person at the morgue views my corps and wonders what that tattoo was all about. “Soldier of God” is pretty self-explanatory and I’m honored to be the recipient of this self-proclaimed title granted to myself, by myself.
This title is also available to others who qualify, I might add. With the help and blessing of my daughter, we are drafting a framed saying for the Sober Living House that will showcase something to the effect of “Soldiers of God in Training” (or something equally as clever and true). I hope to assist in the process of creating many, many “Soldiers of God” who are willing to do a little legwork so they can keep what was so freely given to them.