SOBRIETY IS NOT FOR WIMPS
The initial act of embracing a lifestyle which denies the greatest crutch available to mankind – substance abuse – is in itself heroic and worthy of Congressional medals. OK, so the fact that the majority of people don’t use alcohol and drugs as crutches is irrelevant. We’re talking about you and me – addicts who have been hooked on alcohol or heroin – not normal social users. We’re talking about men and women who could not survive a day without a fix. Denying our bodies and minds that which enabled survival in another day of addictive behavior was not a wimpy thing to do. It took courage.
But, day one of recovery was just the tip of an iceberg. Days two, three and four brought to our broken minds and bodies a realization of the gravity of our disease. Many of us could not conceive of a lifetime void of our crutches. We slipped, relapsed, gave up – WIMPED OUT.
That is said with the greatest love and compassion for those who still suffer. Recovery, in my mind, is not based on merit or worthiness. It is indeed a gift of grace, but it is also a journey into the most difficult undertaking any of us will ever attempt. Throwing away that crutch can be the most terrorizing endeavor any of us will face. When one of us has a relapse, all of us shake in our boots because we know that “there but for the grace of God go I.”
But a life facing enemy number one everyday does not need to be a life of daily terror. We have garnered the necessary tools to fight addiction. We have the armor available to end each 24 hour period successfully and joyfully sober. We have a Higher Power who wants us to be warriors.
During those initial days of sober living a friend of Bill’s told me, “Y’all just stay sober today even if your arse falls off. And if it does, drag it to a meeting.”
It’s a simple concept, this sobriety thing, but it can be terrifying. Don’t wimp out. A sober life can be one helluva ride.
Clean and serene in a crazy world
Okay, so the chains of addiction have been broken and life as a sober man is beyond any high ever experienced. Gone are the hangovers, the headaches, the retching, the lies, the fears, the pain, the loneliness, the self-loathing, the searching, the desperation. Gone are the thoughts of suicide, the fits of anger, the desire to hurt another person. All that is in the past – or is it?
Just because I am not drinking or drugging does not mean I am normal and healthy. My demons continue to reside in that space within waiting an opportunity to emerge and control just as before. Alcoholism is cunning, baffling, and powerful. My disease wants to see me dead or insane. Have I accepted that? Or do I entertain the thought that maybe after years of sobriety I could possibly drink again – only this time as a social drinker?
Several of my dear friends thought so. They went out to do more field research. A few returned to the fellowship to tell me about it, but some did not. Some died in accidents, some died from cirrhosis or other alcohol-related health issues, some overdosed, some committed suicide. I am not willing to take that risk to learn if I have become a social drinker. Why would I? Life is too good and there is too much work to be done in my remaining years.
It’s all about commitment. My commitment to sobriety and my Higher Power is infinitely stronger today than my innate tendency to be addicted. I refuse to believe that I am cured. That brokenness which led me through 17 years of alcoholic insanity is continuing to be healed, but I am not yet cured. That cure will take place on the day I take my last breath in this life. Then I can claim freedom and perfection.
“No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.” pg 60 ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS
thoughts on freedom @ QUEST