Throughout this blog there will be times I focus on 12-step recovery as taught to us in AA and through sponsorship. This isn’t meant to be preachy as to try and influence any readers, it is to continue to share my experience and relate it to life and how I recover. This is one of my tools of recovery and how I choose to work on my sober life.
This is also why AA post are placed in a category of them own. To differentiate the topic and where it comes from.
Currently, I am in my 5th month of sobriety. It is going pretty well. I have a sponsor who I started with a few weeks before the New Year. What she has is knowledge. I need a teacher and she is available to be just that. Lately we have been talking through There Is A Solution, the Spiritual Experience and More About Alcoholism. Some of the most amazing pieces of alcoholic understanding are in this section. We haven’t even begun the work yet.
What stood out for me the most is the following excerpts:
- The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker.
Notice that I highlight obsession and abnormal. If I were a normal drinking, I wouldn’t obsess over it. I wouldn’t have sat day in and day out thinking the following thoughts:
- Maybe if I just drink on weekends
- Maybe if I change to a different type of alcohol
- Maybe just one
- Maybe I can moderate, there is an app for that!
We all know this list. It goes on and on. There is even a paragraph on just that. All of the “tries” we did as alcoholics to avoid the truth of our disease – that we were powerless over it. This is also the self-deception of experimentation. Now, this is one of the BEST paragraphs, we could spend hours on just this ONE. It is actually italicized in the big book so you can imagine in mine, it has a big star next to it. It goes like this:
The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into out consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.
Let me try and break down the psyche of my experience as it relates to this paragraph line by line.
The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink.
- I look at this as the end result of the “experiment” and then our inevitable surrender to booze. When booze becomes OUR higher power we are no longer in control of our lives so who gives any hoot at this point what we drink. You could literally put a bottle of rot-gut shit wine in front of me and I would drink it. I “use to” say I didn’t drink hard alcohol because I didn’t tolerate it well. (guffaw, guffaw) Put a bottle of whiskey in front of me and I will show you something nasty but I will drink it.
Our so called will power becomes practically nonexistent.
- What about the choice to stop drinking alcohol? Can I do it with ‘will power’ alone? People do it! People who aren’t alcoholics! We don’t understand them because we don’t understand why WE have this dis-ease and not them. Why us?
We are unable, at certain times, to bring into out consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation even a week or a month ago.
- This DEFINES for me how my brain would brainwash itself before picking up the first drink within days and sometimes hours of being drunk and/or doing something humiliating (or questionable) or worse. Here are some examples of the conversation in my brain:
- Driving home from work, ‘If I stop at the liquor store to buy their delicious bread and cheese then I can just grab a nice bottle of wine.’ By the way, I thought about this from about 12pm onward until I left work.
- Driving home from work, ‘I know my husband will be upset with me if I drink again tonight but he isn’t getting home for a while so maybe dinner, a couple drinks…’ Nowhere in this dialogue would I say to myself ‘maybe I can just go pick up my son and go straight home and enjoy a quiet night’ the dialogue would control my brain in one direction only ‘how am I going to get some alcohol into my body as fast as I can’ STOP. There was ZERO playing through the tapes. What is going to happen that happens every time I do this. It is a game. I would go to dinner and down 2 glasses of wine in approximately 30-40 minutes. I usually would have to hold the 1st one with two hands until the sip got in. The shakes would stop. Nothing mattered. My brain and emotions were controlled by alcohol. Auto-pilot always kicked in and the vicious cycle would ensue.
- I forgot what I did last week. The shame, guilt and fear would disappear and my friend – let’s call him ‘boozy bob’ would show up to claim his space. I would promise over and over that it would never happen again. I would do things differently. Just like that drive home fighting the urge to drink and losing the mental battle, I would try and sip a drink or pace myself at parties and it was game over. After a point you couldn’t refill my glass fast enough.
We are without defense against the first drink.
- One sip. This past Friday I was feeling down. I wanted to drink again. Badly. I wanted to hold a margarita. Throw down a tequila shot and feel it burn against my sad, sore throat. (Yes, sickness is a trigger for me) That led to wine thoughts, beer thoughts. I realized I had exposed myself to some situations that I would have been better off avoiding. When I exclaimed that I wanted to drink, the feeling was real and the first in a long time. It would have been so easy. That is the terrifying part.
I am defenseless against the first drink. I will never be a normal drinker. Not today, not tomorrow, not a year from now, not in the nursing home. It is just that simple. Cheers.