Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Volitional?

If I felt like killing time, I would edit out the pole in the foreground - but I don't feel like it.  
There are many things in the big book that I believe with all of my heart.  One of them is:
 "most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink."  --  Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 24
It is my experience that once I took any alcohol whatever into my body, I had no control over the amount of alcohol I would drink or what would happen to me once I drank it.  And furthermore, it is my experience that I seemed to have no control over taking that first drink, thereby setting up this whole pathology.  I do not believe I ever picked up a drink and said "I choose to drink today."  I needed to drink, not because I was "addicted" to alcohol, but because I am an alcoholic and my body and mind are different than those of my fellows.  I felt "restless, irritable, and discontented" unless I could "again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks."  (p. xxvi)

I drank, and drank, and drank, and drank.  It made absolutely no difference to me that I hurt people I loved.  It made absolutely no different to me that I found myself in situations that were perilous.  It made no difference to me that I was ruining my health and all of my relationships.  None.  No difference.  This was not because I was selfish (although selfishness was certainly a symptom), it was because I was in the grip of a disease that was much more powerful than I was.

When I had enough to drink, I was done.  I believe it took a lot of booze for this moment to arrive.  And I believe that God was working in my life all that time - through my drinking and in my getting sober.

I didn't get sober because I wanted to be "good" or stop hurting people. I got sober because something inside of me changed.  Nobody said any magic words to me.  Nothing external happened.  I just had enough.

I asked God for help and became ready to do what I had to do to stay sober.

After a year or so, I thought I had gotten sober.  I thought I had done "the work" and therefore was sober.  After a few more years, I realized there was no amount of work in the world that could have produced one sober day or the things that had happened in my life.

I realized that my drinking was not volitional.  And my sobriety was not really volitional.  And once I realized that, I could understand that God was doing for me what I could never do for myself.  Never.

I have tapped into a power greater than myself.  That power is God.

I did not get myself sober.  I do not keep myself sober.  I did not "wise up" and stop drinking. I drank until I couldn't drink any more.  Then I threw myself on the mercy of God and my fellows in Alcoholics Anonymous.  I did the simple things you told me to do.  I call that cooperation.  That's all.  Just cooperating with someone who wants to give me a huge gift.

I was doing my best in 1983, and I am doing my best at the end of 2011.  I need to look at everyone I meet and realize they are also doing their best.  Sometimes it is not very good, but I believe it is their best.  When I could do better, I did.  And I trust others will too.

By the grace of God, I have been sober all day today.  I will lay my sober head on my pillow and thank God for another blessed day.


12 comments:

Syd said...

I like this so much. Thanks, MC.

taoistopher said...

you sound like you are on the right path. its amazing to find more people who truly get it. its a simple program. 2 most important things: willingness and action. "its for people who want it, not for people who need it."

i really enjoyed your writing and look forward to hearing more from you. God Bless, and Nameste.

Pammie said...

It's agonizing for me that not all people get this. Your excellent simple and clear definition of how it is for us. I especially wish we could explain the part about..yes we are selfish in nature but it's the grip of the disease that makes us not care about others. You're good at 'splainin.

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Mary, your words describe the way I feel too about a relationship with alcohol; thanks for sharing your hard-earned wisdom. Like you I am grateful every day for nearly thirty years.

Mary LA said...

Ah yes, so clearly put -- the selfishness and isolating and dishonesty had to do with protecting the alcoholism and addiction. And the compulsion, that unstoppable volition, is indescribable to anyone who hasn't lived through it. I'm always at a loss when non-drinkers assume alcoholics and addict retain the power of choice to just put the drink down and walk away. Or that the selfishness is inherent and not to do with the addiction.

dAAve said...

After reading this, I think you may have a problem with alcohol.

Debbi said...

This is so great, Mary. I'd love to share it at the next prison meeting, with your permission. I'm really glad you drank until you'd had enough. I did, too. I can't imagine how much harder life might have been had I stopped too soon.

Ms Jones said...

Love it!

Annette said...

**I was doing my best in 1983, and I am doing my best at the end of 2011. I need to look at everyone I meet and realize they are also doing their best. Sometimes it is not very good, but I believe it is their best. When I could do better, I did. And I trust others will too. **

I loved this part....the whole post was wonderful,but this part really got me.

Lou said...

I know my son on the inside (and outside). I know him with/without the demons of addiction. I have never, never thought he was trying with foresight and malice to hurt me.

If I can remember we are all doing our best, and that I personally can do better, I will treat others with kindness and respect today.
Thanks, MC

atomic momma said...

Thank you for this post. I have been struggling with the higher power concept lately - where I fall between surrendering to higher power and what I am supposed to do.

Anonymous said...

After drinking for years,I have been sober for one month.I feel that God definitely led me to your blog-last night my husband(of almost 45 years) asked why I felt the need to drink. I answered what I felt was my explanation, but after reading your blog on "Volitional?, I now have my answer. Your words could be my words-i just didn't know how to say it. Thanks for your honesty-God bless and have a wonderful Christmas celebrating our Saviors' birth.