My bottom was not when I came into AA and stopped drinking. Frankly, at the time entered into AA, my desire wasn’t so much to stop getting drunk ever night but to stop being miserable. And it worked for a while. I was proud that I could do this. Never before had I managed to stay sober for so long. But over time that happiness faded away. I was still making mistakes; continuing on with the same way of thinking and acting. The only thing that had really changed was that I wasn’t putting alcohol into my body. Well there was one other thing that changed- I was much more angry at myself than ever before because no longer could the blackout drinking be blamed as the cause for the bad behavior.
At about 7 or 8 months of abstinence, suicide was becoming more and more of an option (as it was before when I was drinking heavily). Thoughts and feelings where really too much to deal with. Regrets, shame, guilt, self-loathing all overwhelmed me. Its no wonder people relapse. But this was way worse. It was either going to be a quick death by my own hand, or a slow torturous one drinking. And because I was intent on doing so, I didn’t tell anyone. Then I would have to talk about it. Maybe even do some counseling, which of course would mean repeatedly bringing up what I wanted to deny. Escape seemed to be the easiest and simplest way to avoid any more pain.
Now you may be thinking, why doesn’t this guy go to AA? Well, again, I was. They had been helpful enough that I hadn’t gone back to the bottle but I was still resisting. I just wasn’t ready. Yes, I had fully conceded to myself that I was an alcoholic- or so I thought. I mean I really knew that I couldn’t drink like a normal person. Fighting the program was more about me still thinking I could do this on my own. Picking and choose what worked for me from the meetings and leaving the rest. I even heard someone say that’s the way its done- ‘Take what you want an leave the rest’! Oh Man! It appeared that I was really way more hopeless than I imagined when I came into the group.
So during all this I met a guy that had been pretty successful doing this deal. He went from being a heroin addict to being a husband, a home owner, being an Imagineer at Disneyland. And most of all, he was happy with himself! He had wisdom when I spoke of my problems. He helped people. He had something that I wanted. Success.
So I hung around him hoping that I could figure out what he had found that set him apart. And after a while, he realized that I hated myself. So he asked me a question: “If you can’t love yourself, can you let God love you?”
Really? He had to go there? But I was desperate enough, I knew that I couldn’t continue on doing it my way anymore. Then he got me with another question. One that was to change me forever: “Can you let God love you through this fellowship?”
Looking back, I now realize that I was trying to fight my problems. To win the battle and come out a champion -like a hero in some action movie making a glorious comeback. Now that I have relinquished my right to be right more than just a few times, what I seek is not gained by being strong and independent. It’s manifested itself by being humble and interdependent with others around me. I am now willing to let God help me through letting people help me. I gave up the right to be always right and because of that my life has change for the better.
I like who I am even though I well aware of my shortcomings. I don’t hate others when they display their short comings because I don’t take it personally. What they do is more about them than me but how I respond is always more about me than them. And when I make mistakes I look at it as an opportunity to grow instead of it being a display of me being a failure. Because I am not a loser and I am not crazy. I am blessed with an awareness that God is with me no matter what I do or don’t do. I am loved unconditionally. And you are too. If you doubt it, just be willing to let God love on you. How much love is received is proportional to how much we allow it. It what way it that comes, well that’s just not in our control. So my how much love, mercy and forgiveness I have bestowed upon me is based on how much I surrender my need for control.
A friend once said that the warm sun and the big blue sky are always there regardless of how many clouds are blocking me from seeing it. And of course no one can control the weather, but we can relax and allow the storm to pass while I get my work done.