A Confused Mind Says No

Wild alphabetI do not remember the first time I heard these words. Undoubtedly, my thinking was too muddled to let them resonate.

I have grown to like them. They are a tool to indicate my level of confusion.

I was a product of the “survival of the fittest” method. If I wanted something I took it. Asking was a formality, something I did to keep my conscience clear (“clearer” would be the more appropriate word). Suffice to say, this liability ushered in undesirable outcomes; all of which I eagerly played the victim.

It was always someone else’s fault that I hadn’t reached my potential. The sadness is … I really, really, really believed this nonsense. Denial is the word most often heard in recovery. I was in denial about who I was long before I was an active alcoholic. Alcohol was simply the substance that brought me to my knees. I could have redirected course anywhere along my path.

Like many that struggle with addiction there is no clear line that we cross when we choose recovery. (Much like there is no clear line that we have crossed into addiction.) Most do not know day one is really day one until sometime later.

On day zero, tomorrow is day one. On day three or four we are no longer “really” alcoholic. We were probably just over reacting. They were probably just over reacting. We’ll figure out how to drink—the right way.

Recovery from alcoholism requires a change from within if we are to maintain our state of abstinence. I’ve yet to meet an addict bounding through the door ready, even zealous for change. Most are crawling. We are wondering what happened to our life. We are fathoming the turn of events that has brought us to this (often pathetic) moment.

Recovery seems so elusive. First off, the word recovery. I loathed that word. I had a drinking problem. I didn’t need to recover from anything besides wanting to drink excessively every night. Next, I wanted a concrete plan. I wanted a 1-2-3, a-b-c type of approach. Meetings, talking, writing—these were not what I needed. It all seemed too slow. My girlfriend called it “slow-briety.”  We chuckled (mid-meeting, eyes rolling) unaware of the word’s accuracy.

I managed to put together some sober time. I did what was suggested by those who had already managed to find happiness living sober. Somehow, somewhere along the way I got clear on one thing and one thing only: I would never drink like a non-alcoholic.

There was no going back. I was never going to make it work again. It was over. I could stop chasing that which was no longer mine for the taking.

Once I got unconfused, I could stop saying no to life.

I still hear that no when I am making a decision. And then I remember to look at the facts. I remember that change for me feels scary, confrontational, and vulnerable. It is my subconscious doing what it does—keeping the status quo.

I’ve never grown in status quo.

And sustained sobriety requires growth, regardless of the days I’ve been sober.

Today is a new day.

9 Responses to “A Confused Mind Says No

  • There is so much here that I can identify with and cheer on, Lisa.

    We were at temple today, and the teaching was about a mind that wants to harm, and a mind that wants to cherish, and the difference. And they mentioned about a clouded mind or unorganized mind wanting to harm another (not just physical – ignoring, being sarcastic, being grumpy, impatient, etc), and to go from that to reading about a confused mind…wow. Powerful stuff here, indeed. And in regards to saying “no”, I was the king of that. Before you could finish your sentence, I was already saying “no”…in a loud, clear voice. Fear, anger and a closed mind were the magnifying glasses in focusing my dismissal of anything that would remove me from my drinking, or my ways of thinking.

    I love what you said about traversing that line into recovery, the way that we crossed the line from cucumber to pickle. Because there is a time when we are just abstinent, and not recovering. There is a window where we are white-knuckling it, and not taking measures and steps to examine the causes and conditions of our alcoholism. There is a place where we are just convalescing, and not taking stock of our situation with a clear eye and program that will aid us in this. And I can’t pinpoint my time that I was starting to recover as much as I can hone in on when I became an alcoholic, or addicted to alcohol.

    Slow-briety is certainly what it is, and while there are times I wish things moved quicker (don’t we all??) I am glad things are at the rate they are at, because they *need* to be at the place where things are at. You are where you are, you are where you need to be…these things ring true for me, and I get it now. I truly understand it, even if I rail against it now and then!

    Wonderful, true words here, Lisa.

    Thank you for this.

    Love and light,
    Paul

    • I “rail against every it now and then” too. The core of me (temple within) knows the truth however. And this …. THIS …. I cannot run from. I just read your post for today. I felt ambiguous about it, so I’m saving my comments until further reflection and another read through. Until then my friend. Blessings.

  • “Recovery from alcoholism requires a change from within if we are to maintain our state of abstinence.”

    I was introduced to AA about 7 years before I hit what, God willing, was my final bottom. At that point I was drinking secretly, almost every day, and doing incredibly deceptive things to get away with it, and so I was “encouraged” to go to AA. It took me about 4 months, but I was finally able to put down the drink and live life alcohol free…

    For two years, at which point I decided that the whole “lying and sneaking thing” was all just a fluke, and I had really learned enough that I could drink “like normal people.”

    And when I look back at that time, I realize it was because of the sentence in your beautiful post today. You see, there was absolutely no change from within when I chose not to drink for those 2 years. The decision not to drink was based on my confused mind. I took one look at “those people” in AA, decided in a whiplash instant that I was not like them, and I would prove it by not drinking.

    Because the confused mind says no.

    Thank God the next time I entered the rooms of AA, 7 years later, I stayed long enough for my mind to clear!

    My Sunday is now complete, Lisa, because I read your awesome post! Hope it’s a great day on the Left Coast (’cause it sure is on the right one!)

    • It’s crazy to see this reply. Yesterday after I posted I went for my BIG bike ride. While I was climbing the hill I was thinking about you, probably at the exact moment you were reading. I was second guessing this Sunday’s post. I thought (not joking here), That post was all about step one. Josie would tell me this is exactly step one.” I love when our bi-coastal minds converge. xox

  • Our mind does play us tricks no matter how pro we have become in abstinence it’ll fool us into believing just about anything!
    Thanks for this reminder 🙂

  • This is really great post, I can relate so much! I thought I had my own 1, 2, 3 approach! Lol! I was going to figure out how to do it all by myself. And I was definitely part of the slow-briety team! Lol! But I do remember that change, that turning point, that moment when I knew exactly what the problem was and what the solution to that problem was – I got unconfused – I love that! Thanks Lisa!

    • For what it’s worth, I still need to get un-confused about *something* on a daily basis. It’s a good tool isn’t it? xox

  • Reblogged this on My Blog.

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