Alcoholism

Anything that hurts you can teach you, and if it keeps hurting you, it’s because you haven’t learned. ~ Unknown

Cunning, baffling, powerful is how the Big Book of AA describes it. King Alcohol, or “alkehaul” as a guy in the downtown group known as JAFI clubhouse calls it. I watch others now battle with the phenomenon that we call cravings with a new found respect for the substance that kills more people in our country than anything else. The problem with the death certificates is that they list the causes of death as liver failure and heart failure, or the like, and not alcoholism or acute alcohol poisoning. In former times, a man would get locked up permanently in an insane asylum and the cause would be listed as “bad whiskey.” Imagine that, a disease so subtly strong that it kills with the labeled warning still on the bottle. A pickle can’t read the outside label from inside the jar I heard a man say the other night. The same guy I watched for months struggle to quit drinking, finally seeking help thru rehab in a 30 day program out west. He’s determined to make 90 meetings in 90 days, which is admirable, but he won’t call his sponsor and ask for help. I know him better than most because I got an earlier start by age in AA than he has. I didn’t call any of my sponsors while making meetings on and off for twenty years, and you guessed right if your thoughts are that I couldn’t stay sober. I’d drink again and become more baffled and puzzled than before. A sponsor is someone who walks you thru the 12 steps of AA. It’s advisable for men to sponsor men and women to sponsor women for obvious reasons. My experience was that until I became humbled by drinking enough alcohol did I become willing to ask for help. Alcohol tricks my mind into believing that I’ll quit tomorrow. It’s persuasive and cunning like that. To someone who drinks and doesn’t experience the phenomenon of craving, they may not understand, but once I take a drink, my mind begins to obsess over more, and my body craves it to the point of pure annihilation and destruction. That is what separates me from the pack. I accept that today I have to run with a group of people  who also have a desire to stay sober.  I don’t explain it away, …….I work the steps, stay connected, and tell others how I am feeling so I won’t pick up a drink thinking it will be different this time around….good day!…b

 

 

First things first

C.S. Lewis wrote in the early forties to…”put first things first, and the second things will come, put second things first and I will lose them both”….Steven Covey wrote that I should begin each day with the end in mind.  I read the A.A. Big Book that tells me to ask God to direct my thinking at the start, and the Great Teacher once told the legal minds of His day to “put the Kingdom of God first, and everything else will be added.” It really is a much better way to approach my anxiety, stress, and angst. I drank it away, but that created more and more problems. You can easily see how my thinking gets me troubled. Waking up to a head full of noise can be a crippling, fear filled experience if I do not have a sufficient substitute. And I have found that it is the Creator of all that is beautiful and good that helps me when I cannot, for one single breath and the life of me, find my way. A common peril is what brought me to the rooms of recovery. Finding hope and hearing God expressed thru others’ experiences has catapulted me into a newer appreciation of space and time. Time and space are both infinite, and both are way above my understanding. It is best that I take each for face value and play the only cards I have…..the ones that I have been dealt. Acceptance is a hard task when I don’t think that my life is shaped like I had supposed.  I have to pause and remember that there are others who think much like I do because they have the sober mind of a chronic alcoholic, too. A mind that if left unchecked, goes off to the races and won’t show back up for  days, weeks, even years. I know because my mind has told me, “you got this.” It has always been the first drink that got me, just like the first cut. Beginning each day fresh is where I start, and letting go of all circumstances, people, and events that are outside my control is healthy. It reminds me that it will all play out just like it was meant to be as long as I remember to stay out of the way. I simply cannot wake up and go thru my day without remembering to put the most important parts first if I want to be at peace….good day!…b