Then it hit me: I can never have another drink for the rest of my life. What a depressing thought.
The other day in a meeting, a newcomer shared that sentiment. Anyone who’s been in recovery for any amount of time can certainly appreciate that moment when the realization hits you like a truck: You can never have a sip of alcohol again. Ever.
The panic associated with that thought is so prevalent, it is no doubt one of the inspirations for the famous saying, “One Day At A Time.” The expression cautions the alcoholic: Don’t worry about not drinking for the rest of your life, just worry about not drinking today.
Three years into sobriety, i had a different reaction this time when the speaker said, “Shit! I can never have another drink for the rest of my life!?”
My first thought? “I should be so lucky.” Quickly followed by, “God willing.”
The idea that the sadness i’d made of my life as an alcoholic was over forever, put me in a good mood for the rest of the day. That the debilitating pain i felt in my bones and spread to others in my life has been eradicated as long as i don’t pick up, reassured me. The concept that i can never have another drink for the rest of my life filled me with hope.
i’ve stopped drinking–not for good, but for better.
i’m Puzzled. Puzzled in the sense i feel like i’m in pieces, with rough edges trying to force myself to fit in. Yet no matter how hard i push, i’m still out of place and if you look closely you’ll see i don’t measure up.
i’m in a crappy mood.
The best way to deal with this is for me to meditate a minimum number of hours on what might be the source of this discomfort and, after penetrating introspection, write a long treatise in which i analyze my thoughts and feelings and float hypothesis as to the possible origins of my malaise and, through a dialectic process and expository reasoning, develop a list of courses of action that i might feasibly take, not forgetting to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each proposal.
Or maybe i just need to go to bed earlier.
Sometimes the easiest solution is in front of your eyes…after you close them.
“Sleeping It Off”: It’s not just for drunks anymore.
In my last couple of posts i talked about how well i’m doing and i’m doing pretty damn well, thank you. Now, this does not mean i intend to rest on my laurels our even find out what a laurel is, far from it.
As someone fighting to remain brutally honest with myself, i know there are still several areas of my life that need work. Like it says in the Big Book, we claim spiritual progress, not spiritual perfection.
Here, then, are my rooms for improvement.
- Procrastination. i have made great strides in that now i check my mailbox every day and balance my bank account every evening (during my drinking days, i was so afraid of both of these that i ruined my finances, among other things). Still, the book i promised to send Celeste E Hall has been sitting on my dresser for months, and i still put off…
- Cleaning. My improvement here its noticeable because i now make my bed daily and wash dishes before i go to bed (usually), and i actually don’t mind doing my laundry and ironing every Sunday evening. But i’m supposed to clean the bathroom weekly and vacuum at least once a week and that’s less than regular.
- Comparing. My biggest personality defect of the moment. At work i’m unable to go a full day without worrying i’ve been given more work than my colleagues or that the boss prefers them. It really does take some of the fun out of my work day, and leads to the Poor Me syndrome.
Fortunately, i’m not beating myself up over these things, but i’m hoping to put these in my past and find out what my next set of challenges is.
What about you? Care to share any signs of improvement in your recovery or areas you’d like to continue to to improve? Leave a comment, we’d sure like to hear what’s going on with you!
In Year 1 of recovery, i was so excited to be free of the disease that i did not care where i had come from. Now in Year 2, the sheer distance i’ve covered makes it impossible not to notice where i was.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
That quote is from the AA Big Book, more specifically The Promises. That quote is testament to the fact that i am not fully recovered, because i still disagree with many of my readers and harbor regrets about my past actions.
Lately, memories come back to me at random moments, like stepping on shards of broken mirrors hidden in the carpet. Memories of how i mistreated friends, hurt those that love me, and even damaged my children cut me to my core.
The further i distance myself from the asshole i was, the more i realize what an asshole i was. It hurts to see how i behaved. That i did not know better does not lessen the pain.
That it means i am far enough removed from that guy to be shocked, however, does take away the sting, if only a little.
i got the message. You can stop now.
Al K Hall
PS Let’s do lunch some time.
Here’s my BIG problem. The third time the plumber came he found the leak. He fixed it, left, and… The fourth time the plumber came was the charm.
Two nights ago i found a different leak in a different place from a different source. My Higher Power has a sick sense of humor.
The same two nights ago, the Devil sent her daughter to come upstairs and complain about my son’s practicing guitar at 9:30pm. My plumbing problems are on their way out, so i’ve decided to obsess over the insane woman who lives below me. To make this my BIG problem.
i always have a BIG problem. i used to think it was the problems’ fault, but now i realize it’s my fault. Instinctively, i scan my problems and elect one lucky one to become my BIG problem.
Listening to shares at an AA Meeting last night, everything fell in to place (Thank you, Universe, for guiding me to that meeting). i remembered what i’m forgetting: to let go. To give these problems up to my Higher Power when i have no control over them.
So, i’m giving up. i’m giving up my problems to my Higher Power, giving up the stress, the worry, the obsession to the Universe and i’m going to let the Universe worry about it–or not–if it wants but it doesn’t matter to me because it is not my problem any more. i’ve given them up and given up on them.
Hear that, Universe?
For those of us in AA: This is all 3rd Step stuff.
Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
The good news for us lucky alcoholics in recovery is that “Our Lives” include “Our Problems”. We get to give away all our concerns until the only worry we have left is how to stop worrying over nothing.
- Woke up to change the towels sopping up the plumbing leak in the bathroom, hallway and kitchen
- Was carrying my spill-proof coffee cup, two breakfast bars, my satchel and my backpack when i opened the front door to discover it was raining
- Had to drop/unload everything to get my umbrella out of my back pack
- It stopped raining 5 minutes later
- i realized my pants were falling down because i forgot my belt
- In the subway i was sweating so profusely because of the humidity that people started building an ark as i toweled myself off with a bandanna
- i knocked over my coffee and learned my spill-proof mug isn’t
- i mopped up the spill with my sweat rag and commenced sweating harder
- i got off the subway in a downpour that stopped the instant i struggled to open my umbrella
- i arrived at work to discover my watch had stopped.
Despite all this, i didn’t drink from the bottle of wine on the table at lunch. So yeah, when all is said and done, it was a damn good day.
i love writing this blog because i’m a hell of a lot more eloquent with the written word than i am when i speak. When i talk, i trip over my tongue and get emotional and my voice cracks and i forget to breathe…
Tonight, as i was setting up the coffee for AA, the secretary asked if i would share. i agreed because in AA i always say yes, but i wasn’t looking forward to it. i’m not much of a public speaker and i know the stress i demonstrate detracts from my message.
My share was kind of babbling and rambling but at least i didn’t get too shaky. However, while i was tripping over my own tongue, i stumbled on a truth.
As i was talking about all the challenges that i’m facing at the moment, i heard myself say,
It’s not easy, but i won’t let it get to the bottom of me.
As soon as i said it, i knew what i meant.
In the past, difficulties provided me a perfect platform off which i would throw myself into the depths. No more. Thanks to sobriety, i now have in my core something immoveable that life’s storms cannot move. i may feel rough on the surface, but deep down nothing will get to the bottom of me.
One of the first ever revelations i had in AA came when i’d just started in the rooms and was still wallowing in self pity. At the time, i believed the entire universe had nothing better to do than plot against poor, pour me because i was its center. Yes, this was unfair, but then everything that ever happened to me was grossly unfair. Emphasis on ‘gross’.
There’s a stoic motorcycle cowboy with leathers and a long grey ponytail who comes to the meetings and he’s a very quiet guy but when he does decide to speak, it’s golden. The first time i heard him say something, he addressed this idea of “The world is out to get me”.
If my roof is leaking it means two things.
1) There’s a hole in my roof.
2) I haven’t fixed it yet.
All of a sudden, i realized the Universe wasn’t responsible for my problems, i was.