One path on an uncommon journey

Monday, June 18, 2012

"I'm not a friend of Bill W's, but I sure could use a drink." 

I'm not sure when it happened. I'm not sure how it happened. But somewhere along the line I became an alcoholic. It was a gradual thing, the signs were never apparent. I went from the occasional social drinker to a "functioning" alcoholic to a full blown, 100% alcoholic.

I became the "classic" alcoholic, most my friends did not even realize that I was. I drank alone, early and often. I will spare you any of the gory details.

 I asked Dawn if she would mind if I touched on this in a post and she calmly stated "if you can help one person, save one family what we went through, do it." Now I'm not doing this for redemption, (although if I wronged anyone while I was drinking I am truly sorry) I'm doing this to help that one person. 

 In the title I made a reference to Bill W, founder of AA, in a lighthearted manner. I have the utmost respect for Alcoholics Anonymous, but never had much use for it. It has helped a tremendous amount of people, but it just wasn't for me. I refused to let God  be responsible for my problem and there were too many whiners.

 I scoured books, websites, peoples' minds and anything else I could to find an answer. I ended up finding my own unconventional-conventional method. I found my answers within, using all of the aforementioned resources, as well as a very strong support system.  

 The first and most important thing is that you have to want it and want it bad. And, you have to want it for yourself. It will not work if that isn't reason that you're doing it. It's the battle of your life, for your life and your life depends on it. I focused on myself and my family. You got to want it deep. Nothing else mattered. Not work, not bills, not friends. 

 Next, you have to have a plan. What are you going to do when the urge hits. And it will. How do you avoid a "slip". I don't believe it's okay to slip. That was one of the issues that I had with AA. It's not okay. You are trying to stop the most destructive thing you are doing in your life. There are no slips. As Yoda says, "Do or do not. There is no try." 

 My plan became a list of 10 things that I could do to avoid drinking. I put them on a card and I kept the card with me at all times. I referred to it almost every time I had an urge.  My ten things (in no order): 

1. Call someone (anyone, just call and talk about nothing or something, whichever, whatever you need) 
2. Meditate 
3. Exercise 
4. Cook 
5. Go to a bookstore 
6. Read 
7. Go for a walk 
8. Visit my Sons/Granddaughters 
9. Help someone online (there are a ton of sites where people are chatting online, looking for a rope) 
10. Music (listen to it, go to a store....anything but 'I Drink Alone') 

 Embrace the urge. You have to believe that when the current urge passes you are one step closer to becoming a "normal" whole person. You can't fight it, it just makes the battle so much tougher. You just go with that and pick one of your substitutes.  

 Finally, you should talk about it with your family and friends. There is a time when you'll need all of them and it's important to discuss it with them, but not burden them. They need to know what's going on with you and in your head, but don't let it consume you or your relationship with them.

Ask for help. There are a lot of good people, like me, who will help. I'm the friend in the following anecdote.

"This guy's walking down the street when he falls in a hole. The walls are so steep he can't get out. A doctor passes by and the guy shouts up, 'Hey you. Can you help me out?' The doctor writes a prescription, throws it down in the hole and moves on. 

Then a priest comes along and the guy shouts up, 'Father, I'm down in this hole can you help me out?' The priest writes out a prayer, throws it down in the hole and moves on.

Then a friend walks by, 'Hey, Joe, it's me can you help me out?' And the friend jumps in the hole. Our guy says, 'Are you stupid? Now we're both down here.' The friend says, 'Yeah, but I've been down here before and I know the way out.'"

I don't know my 'quit date', I never felt like it was something to be celebrated. But, I am haven't had a drink in over 8 years and I am better for it. I still don't understand why anyone would Christmas shop sober, but that's a different story.

Enjoy and let me know what you think!

(And, I was being facetious in the title, I haven't had even the mildest urge in many years. It does get easier, much!!!!!!!!)

1 comment:

  1. I'm very proud that you're sharing this.it lets people know they're not alone.