|If I felt like killing time, I would edit out the pole in the foreground - but I don't feel like it.|
"most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink." -- Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 24It 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.