I am tasting my drinks right now. I am back at the Turks and Caicos floating around a giant pool slurping on a Rum & Diet Coke. Slurp. Slurp. So refreshing. I am feeling so good. So relaxed. Slurrrrrrrp. <insert necessary salivating on my keyboard> Fast forward to later that evening (more pool drinks and sake wine etc later) and I am apologizing to my nephew who is 13 “I am sorry Auntie is just a little tipsy” and he replies “It’s okay, my dad is drunk all the time.” I don’t remember this because my mom walked me back to my room and told me the next day. What I remember now and understand how I felt inside (aside from the normal day after shame) is this: I was spiritually corrupt. I LOVE THAT PHRASE. Let’s say it together, spiritually corrupt.
The first time I read that phase, I felt like an alcoholic bad ass to the core. It almost like we are little boozy defenders of our alcoholism in mobster sense of the word. It actually made me look at my dis-ease with a lot more understanding.
Before I found help and reached out, I did think like a TON of others about Alcoholics Anonymous or basically anyone who was in recovery were bible thumping, reformed zealots that looked down on others for drinking and also had no fun. I also thought that they had some type of spiritual rebirth that was obtained by joining “the cult.” I have heard SO many people speak now about their recovery and no matter which form they took to get there – they too thought the same way. So, if you are on day 1, haven’t been to a meeting; you can learn a lot. You can also read some books about people who worked the steps but also found other paths to heal. Inside of these people are in recovery and how they go there came from a place of healing from within that had to recognize that finding a higher power or sense of well being was more important than that bottle. Identifying a higher power and working the 12-steps in AA – doesn’t have to associate with GOD in the religious sense. It actually says it in the big book.
When I felt spiritually corrupt and can look on that feeling with awareness I identify it with living in a fog. Even though I didn’t have a religious foundation or a belief in God as my higher power I strongly believed in humanity and what connects us all brings me to a higher sense of connection to the universe that can and will make me whole inside and out. Now that I am seeking and learning about what corruption belied me in my drinking, I will know myself. In Tommy Rosen’s book Addiction 2.0 (p.133) he speaks about Guru Nanek and the ability to conquer the mind. He sums it up as “clear away the clutter and gain control over your mind so you can experience your own true later.” That really resonates to me in this battle to identify the spiritual corruption for me. I was not whole inside, in fact I felt a large hole that was being filled by poison. A void or a feeling that had to be suppressed.
Now that the corruption is on the table. My trial begins. I have an open book of vacancy that has to be filled and it is good. How I identify my higher power comes in a few forms. First, I look around me and I appreciate the sights, sounds, smells and touches I receive. I love warm hugs. Second, I have a community that guides me. I have people who understand where I have been and where I am going and how to guide me. Third, I have my passions. I can teach, lead and evangelize. It is something that is part of me. I am a leader by trade so why not lead by example and kind understanding?
Today I am not drinking. My next trip to Turks and Caicos, I will be floating around on a big float, slurping on something cold but I won’t care what it is because alcohol will be the dis-ease I carried but not the one that carries me.
- Gertrude Lythgoe is one of the only women to ever operate an alcohol bootlegging ring during the male-dominated Prohibition Era. Records show that the amount of liquor being exported to the United States from the Bahamas grew from 47,300 liters (12,500 gal) in 1917 to 950,000 liters (250,000 gal) in 1923. Bootleggers like Lythgoe were a huge reason why.