I got a bit long winded responding to another bloggers post earlier today. To the level of my reply being its own post. Sheez! What got me going is that I hate to see people suffering and on the brink of contemplating a drink again as their best option. If an alcoholic is going out for another beating, there is little that I can do. I know that! But I try because that’s what we do. We help each other stay sober. After a bit of clean up, here’s what I wrote:
My reaction to your post is that I see a lot of similarities to myself in early sobriety. Similarities not unlike what I have observed from many newcomers walking into the rooms of AA every year. I see that you post a lot and I am rooting for you. I wish you nothing but the best on your sober journey.
I’ve learned a bit over the past eight years. Most of all is that I know very little! In and of itself, that has ignited a passion in me to learn more. I’ll never stop learning…unless I pick up a bottle again! It brings me happiness to know that I have that choice today.
Here’s a sliver of some of the things I’ve learned. Intellect will kill me. It almost did. As an educated person and working professional, I’ve been well trained to solve problems. But Alcoholism is not a problem for me to solve. That’s not the problem. The problem is/was me! As Einstein once famously said “Problems cannot be solved with the same mind set that created them.” I had no training or experience to solve the problem called “me”. In fact, I couldn’t even recognize that I was the problem! What was my problem? It was a sober problem. A problem with life as I saw it and reacted to it. Alcohol was my solution. Until it stopped working. Then I had another problem. Addiction!
We need others to help us. Others that have been there themselves. Other alcoholics. For me, I found them in AA.
Many alcoholics reject AA at the onset of sobriety. They can’t identify with the program and find little common ground. I realize today that that’s a “no shit Sherlock kind of thing”. Crafted in my own design, my life had become one in which I lived in opposition to the basic principles of AA. Duh!
And, how did that design work for me after nearly 45 years? Not well! Yet I fought AA tooth and nail with all my willpower and intellect. I fought it until I was sick and tired of being a dry drunk. There was nothing to fight, nothing to challenge nor oppose. Upon further review, it was just me fighting me. After six years of fighting myself sober, I finally became willing enough to do anything not to live another day of self-imposed torture and discomfort. My scorecard was apparent. I was of no use to my family, my friends, my career and anyone else that I crossed paths with on any given day. I had some relief during my first six years. But depression, anxiety, little happiness and little joy were still my constant companions.
That’s all different today. It didn’t take long after I started working the simple of AA. My life changed completely. Depression left as I no longer hoped for a better past…the byproduct of finally forgiving myself. Anxiety left as I no longer lived in the future, projecting outcomes and expectations. Today, I live a life that I never could have imagined. And if just keeps getting better. Good intentions are only good intentions. Taking action has made all the difference.
That’s why I responded to your post. It’s worth the time investment to elaborate as well. Even though I know that “you’re ready when you’re ready” (to get sober and stay sober). Not a damn thing I can do about it except share my experience.
One other thing I’ve learned in the rooms of AA. Alcoholism is a fatal illness. Sadly, most of society treats it like the common cold. People die every day from this illness. I’ve been around this long enough to watch people die far too often. I need no further convincing as to how serious this illness is and what I need to do on a daily basis to not go down that path.
We see when we can see and hear when we can hear! But too many of us don’t and end up dying a painful alcoholic death.
I wish you all the best!