Non-alcoholics do not entertain these ideas
I remember hangovers about as much as I remember childbirth. Only if I try, but it’s not on my checklist of tasks for today. It’s not that I tried to forget. It’s that it just leaves, seemingly disappears. I am left with the softer memories.
While this is mostly good news, it does not necessarily serve me as a recovered and recovering alcoholic. Forgetting the hardships of drinking is the catalyst to my continued drinking. This is one of the (many) reasons people participate in 12-step programs, SMART Recovery, and online support groups. It is our way of not forgetting. To fully forget is to be hooked into thinking we have outgrown our personal intolerance to ingesting alcohol.
When we “conveniently” forget the hardships we created in our drunken (and many times not drunken) state we do our self a disservice. Thinking our drinking a little bump in our maturation gets us into trouble. We begin to entertain that we are healed—healed enough to drink again. We fantasize that alcohol will somehow complement our new and improved personality. We begin to dismiss it all as a sort of glitch. Yes, a mishap that lasted years we tell our self.
It wasn’t a mishap. A mishap is once or twice, three times at the outside, type of thing. It became an outright choice for us to exercise our right to drink. We were entitled to cope with the hardships of life any way we chose. To complete this beautiful package we adamantly told others to get over it. We professed that we didn’t mean it. We didn’t mean what we did and said when we got so drunk, so we should not have to pay the price—at least not for very long.
Sorry to sound so harsh to my fellow alcoholics, but I honestly feel like many I encounter are quick to forget the damage that has been indelibly burned into people’s mind about our character, or rather, lack of character. Alcoholics are too quick to blame the past on their disease.
Here is what I believe needs to be said. If you think you have crossed the line with alcohol and can’t or don’t want to stop you are an alcoholic. If you’re not sure if you’ve crossed the line, but wonder or worry, there’s a good chance you are an alcoholic.
Non-alcoholics do not entertain these ideas. Drinking or not-drinking is not an issue for them.
It’s a non-issue.
It is not a notion to even inquire about. If they drank too much one time they don’t do it again. They stop. They don’t make rules for drinking and dates and times and hours and promises and count days. They stop. And they do it with little to no effort. They do not have the response to alcohol that alcoholics have. We want more. They want one or none.
So if you’re sitting around wondering guess what? The chance is good that you’ve got issues with alcohol. We call this “alcoholism.”
This isn’t rocket science people. You either have a dependency and give a sh*t or you don’t.
Which category do you fall into?
I gave sh*t. My kids are fortunate to have a mom that continued to work at remembering what it was like to drink. (Because we start forgetting at about day ten or fourteen of sobriety. Then again at 90 day and then six months and, and, and … )
Despite what my head tries to tell me, I didn’t drink pretty like a lady. I drank messy, secretly, isolated, lonely, and confused. I blacked-out, puked, passed-out, and over-slept. I lied, cheated, and stole. I missed deadlines, displayed drama, and blamed everyone. I was as misguided and selfish as anyone I have ever known.
I go to meetings, not to beat myself up but out of gratitude. Yes, sheer gratitude for the new life I live. I go to meetings to support the new person with two days of sobriety. I go to meetings because I like sharing, remembering, healing, and helping. It’s a luxury to remember.
I sponsor, coach, and blog to help those who seek solutions to their problem of getting sober and remaining sober. It is a way of life. A meeting is a luxury. Life and recovery coaching is a luxury. Blogging is a luxury. None of it’s a chore. It’s all a luxury. I get to do these things because I get to keep my sobriety when I do these things. My family gets a sober me when I do these things. What a gift!
I relate to your three weeks sober. It feels like sh*t. The difference between me and you is that I’ve learned how to work through that day and wake up the next day sober. I’ve learned how to work through year one and get to year two. And today … I will get through today without a drink or drug. Not because it’s is necessarily easy (or hard) but because it is how I have chosen to live my life. I am not afraid of life today. I am not afraid to feel today.
Sober … I choose sober.
If you’re not too busy pretending you don’t have a problem—ask for some help. The blogs I follow are individuals doing the same thing I am doing; finding healing and recovery through sharing and community.
My hope is that someday you feel the way that many of us feel … we feel we have recovered from a hopeless state. We live each day engaged in life, nor surviving active alcoholism. Don’t get me wrong here. I could be back there in a heartbeat, but I’ve made my choices. I choose not to drink.
If alcohol and you (together) are a problem and you’ve seen evidence of this, then make a choice.
If you don’t make a choice the choice will get made for you.
And there will be nothing luxurious about it.