Thursday, February 09, 2012

New Paradigms

Every five years or so, I want a McDonald's hamburger and fries.  Yesterday was that day.  (530 calories for the burger and fries)
Last night an old friend called me.  We went to school together.  College.  He was a normal age for college, and I was old.  For some reason (like the magnetic attraction of two alcoholics for each other), we formed an immediate friendship.  He was a young man with a brilliant career.  He was handsome, intelligent, charming, alcoholic, and gay.  We were dear friends for probably 10 years.

I cannot tell you how many nights I was awake listening to him on the phone.  Drunk.  The drama.  The insanity.  And for some reason, this man just could never get the idea that being sober is so much easier than being drunk.  I was afraid of his bottom, because I thought there might not be a stop before death.

Last night as we caught up, I heard of the nearly lethal assault he suffered outside of a bar in Washington, DC.  He had years of reconstructive surgery on his face after that.  The marriage to an abusive man and the nerve damage to his right hand after he attacked him with a knife and nearly severed his arm.  On and on.  And on.

But he never wanted to hang out with a bunch of bums (his words).  He never wanted to be embarrassed by not being able to join in a social drink.  I spent more hours than I would care to admit trying to get him to see how ridiculous this was.  Last night I didn't even bother.  He is in his 40s, and he can decide if his life is working or not.  When he asked about me, I certainly didn't have any assaults  or near death experiences to tell him about.  Maybe that's too boring?

In the afternoon, I was in a meeting with a bunch of folks.  I found out that protracted abstinence is not a realistic prognosis for an alcoholic or drug addict.  The normal course is relapse and repeated treatment.  Really?  I wonder if they ever considered that there is something defective in the treatment.  Truly, this is an artifact of anonymity.  I honestly think they do not know that there is a whole group of alcoholics and drug addicts who have recovered from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body.  But in order to do so, we have to hang out with a bunch of bums.  We have to submit to a leveling of our pride.  We have to turn our thoughts to others.  It is not appealing to alcoholics.

It would be easier to sit in a therapist's office and talk about how my parents fucked me up.  How society wronged me.  How my life has been one bad break after another.   And then needing a drink to deal with it all.

Thank God there is another way and people are still finding it.  I think it is ironic that what appeals to an alcoholic is the way that leads to a life of misery.  What is less appealing is the way of finding a life beyond our wildest dreams.  True, un-interrupted sobriety.

Thanking God today for so many things.  Sobriety is always on the list.


Syd said...

I don't believe that relapse is inevitable. I do believe that there is a spiritual solution which takes away the desire to drink or drug. You offer a lot of strength here and show what is possible in recovery. Those willing to go to any lengths will get it.

Lou said...

"treatment" is in the soul, the heart, the eyes, God's word, the wisdom and kindness of strangers, the 12 steps..

it can't be packaged and sold on a website

you said fuck..LOL

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

yay God!

Mary Christine said...

I did use that word Lou. I don't normally because my brother reads my blog and long ago told me it was beautifully written except for my use of profanity. So I stopped. (I am really tired and doing all kinds of weird things this week - but not drinking.)

atomic momma said...

Mary have a deep wisdom and faith that only comes from doing the hard work and cutting out the bull.

Do you ever pray for other people? I wonder about doing this in sobriety the way churches/christians do prayer groups and chains.

Also, how do you deal with crazy thoughts and anxiety that kill your joy and wear you out? Is this where you turn it over to a higher power? Perhaps this is the question that makes you crazy as a sponsor. Sorry, I am new to this way of thinking but have learned much from you.

Annette said...

Thank you for this MC. There is hope of one living a sober life...both physically and day at a time, for many days in a row. There is hope!

dAAve said...


Daisyanon said...

Fabulous post MC and wonderful insight, just what I needed.

SoberMomRocks said...

I had to read that line about inevitable relapse three times because I couldn't believe anyone would ever say that!

Of course long term abstinence is an option. With God and the right tools, anything is possible...including miracles.

Thank you for a wonderful post. And don't worry about saying fuck...sometimes it's the only word that will do.

shadow0301 said...

Thank you so much for reminding me I have a choice today!

Mary Christine said...

Atomic Mom, I have a list of people I pray for every day, they include family, friends, and a list of people who have had a hard time staying sober. I always include "And anyone who is having a hard time staying sober." We also stop for a moment of silence before the Serenity Prayer in our meetings, I think of that time as a prayer for alcoholics who are still suffering.

I had a sponsor when I was new who told me to "think of something else" when I started thinking about something that was crazy, like a resentment. I would say to myself "I will think about this later, just not right now." It actually worked!