Every addict’s last choice

living soberI feel compassion for those who struggle with alcohol—any addiction really. It is a stifling mindset. Addiction is lonely and truly unforgiving. The peak of addiction is an especially painful chapter in life.

When we are near the end of our “drinking chapter” it seems overly agonizing because we begin to see we have no control once we begin to seriously entertain the idea that we can drink—normally. Unless we have the working tools to stop and redirect our thinking we inevitably end up drinking.

The drink is the effect, not the cause.

What is the cause? Many of us ask this question, repeatedly. We search for a solution we have yet to discover. We drive self to exhaustion in search of a way to drink normally.

  • The fact that we are searching for a way to drink normal is an indication of a problem with alcohol.
  • The fact that we are so threatened to live without alcohol is the issue.

If we can admit we are threatened and scared to be sober we are, at least, at an honest point of origin. I think I’m an alcoholic and I’m petrified to be sober is a much saner place than I think I might be an alcoholic but I’ll never give up drinking. The former creates the opening for new thought to enter. The latter has us grounded in our current position. However, unstable that position may be.

If I build my home on a crooked foundation (thinking it is straight) I will have a crooked house. I can paint, carpet, and decorate all I want. None of these will solve my foundation issue. The crooked walls are the effect, not the cause. I can be upset that the walls are crooked. I can blame the walls, research the walls, and analyze the walls. None of these will solve my problem. I need to go to the root of my issue—the foundation.

I bring in a bulldozer and flatten the house and foundation. This is every addict’s last choice. Do I strike the framework before I take out the items I love? Hopefully not. I bulldoze after I have recognized and secured those items/attributes which I cherish.  I keep what I love about me, with me. I don’t have to change these things to get sober. Sobriety is about fixing what’s not working. Am I willing to see what’s not working?

If we have not identified those things we love about self, we are shortchanging ourself on this transition. There are many things to love within the current house we’ve built. Part of the “bulldoze process” is finding them. (Hopefully before, but if not, then after. And for me … it was both.)

The shift between not sober and sober begins once the bulldozer is released. It’s a process. It’s not a feel good thing.

When I heal the foundation, the craving will no longer rule me. Does it cross my mind? Yes, yes it does. It does because drinking is the default mode. Do I act on it? No, no I do not.

I have learned to redirect my thinking. I have learned to stop screaming at the walls.

So can you.

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No Responses to “Every addict’s last choice

  • “I have learned to redirect my thinking. I have learned to stop screaming at the walls.” That is what I am working on, day in and day out. I love your posts, they speak to me!!!! I keep screaming at the walls, I keep hanging frames to the crooked walls, blaming them for my food addiction. I must work on the foundation. Thank you Lis!

    • The good news is that it’s doable. Never give up hope. Be successful today. Just one day. Crawl through the day if you have to, but do it. The new programming will begin to stick. Promise.

  • Beautiful post, love the example you used, it is so true, you are gifted at passing on a point and make it clear to the reader

    • I love your blog. It’s nice to surround myself with so many excellent writers and artists. You teach me everyday. xox

  • Wonderful post, Lisa, as usual. Your talent for really distilling the essence of addiction and telling it like it is, poetically, is breathtaking. The analogy of the house and it’s foundations is perfect. I know that I was one of those who tried to raze it completely, not even bothering to try and retrieve any part of the house. I wanted nothing to do with it. I thought I could re-invent myself in a way. Of course, I can’t completely re-invent myself. There are some core parts of me that were always there, and didn’t see them because of the garbage surrounding the house…and creeping into the dwelling as well. It’s almost like I had to go digging later on and find the parts that were always there that I wanted or needed…after the fact. It’s sort of like our character defects – I don’t know which ones need removing. Only the Creator does. Same thing with the things that needed keeping – I had no clue what to bother retrieving.

    Foundation…oh yes. Without a proper one, we are doomed to those crooked fixtures that we can fuss around with all we want, but never rights the ship, does it? I know that it wasn’t until I leveled the place entirely, that the real rebuilding and healing could begin.

    Fantastic piece, Lisa. Loved it.

    Love and light,
    Paul

    • As usual I love your though-filled response. Interesting how you point out the garbage, and digging through to find what you needed … what to discard, what to keep? It’s so nice how you took this to another level I had not thought about. And yes, Creator knows. For me it was the sweet nudging of Creator that got me sober. I just knew somewhere deep inside that there had to be more than “this.” I’m so glad I found it. I’m so glad you did too. And I’m glad we both keep finding more things to love about who we are here on planet Earth. The journey is sure much nicer with companions. Lisa

  • I admittedly am not, nor ever have been, an addict. BUT – this makes so much sense to me…and all the clouds and emotional/mental noise that stops me from moving forward. The same tools and ideas you present are so relevant to everyone…perhaps directed towards addiction, but truly appropriate to everyone.

    Lots of love

    <3

    • TCFaB,
      It’s interesting this character development thing. Even though the universal truths apply to everyone, they seem especially important to me as an addict … my life depends upon them—truly. If I don’t have principles to live by (within) I am tempting a drink. This will never be a good choice. No principles means, no defense. The pull is too strong, too insane. I have come to see personal growth as a life or death discipline. I believe this is why I am so drawn to your blog. You go unusually deep. A quality I enjoy immeasurably. Blessing friend. xox

  • I need to look up on thesaurus.com and find other ways to say beautiful post, but Lisa, as always, you inspire me… to be a better thinker, a better writer, and to grow in recovery! I will add that I see a lot of people agonizing over the “cause and effect” arguments in the rooms of AA. For me, I have come to think of my addiction in the same way that I am blue-eyed or left-handed… I just am, and wondering or worrying about it is not going to change the fact. Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

    • You got that right “thesauras.com” don’t start typing without it.:)
      I’m happy to hear what you wrote because that’s what I want to do. I want to challenge readers to access self more deeply. There is so much to be discovered in EACH of us. It took my addiction to show me the potential that slept within. I think that’s why I love coaching so much. It is an awakening to a self I never knew existed.

      And yes, I’ve been within ear shot of those conversations too. I’m with you (except brown eyed and right handed).
      How was the meeting today?
      Guess I should just go and read the post.
      xox

  • Love what you say about keeping what you love about yourself. This reminds me of the step where you take inventory, including the stuff you like about yourself. So many people overlook this part of think it won’t do any good. For me, it was frankly what made that step bearable, plus it also helped me start to feel like myself again. And not the bad old self but the good one I had gotten away from around the time I started drinking.

    Yet another beautifully written post full of hope…thank you for this.

  • I’ve definitely stopped screaming at my walls and began the bulldozing process. It is painful but exhilarating at the same time.

    • CTD … Thanks you so much for the comment. I love when new faces show up and share. We can stay ultra-anonymous on sites, so I think it is wonderful that you chimed in with the rest of us. And to top it off you re-blogged which hasn’t happened but a hand full of times so thank you, thank you for sharing the message of recovery. Here’s to another day of sobriety. And a good one at that. Lots of love, Lisa

  • Reblogged this on Memoirs of a gay black man. and commented:
    I’ve stopped screaming at my walls…how about you???

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