“Our lives improve only when we take chances, & the first & most difficult risk we can take is to be honest with ourselves.” ~Walter Anderson
“I’m an alcoholic.”
Admitting those three words to myself has been the most meaningful risk I’ve taken in my life, thus far.
My loved ones tried to help me in every way they knew how. And I knew the truth, at the very least subconsciously. So why was it so hard to admit? And why did it take so long?
Alcoholism is a disease of the body, mind, & spirit (or so I’ve been told).
I physically became dependent upon it. My tolerance for alcohol slowly increased, needing higher quantities to achieve the desired affect. . . & eventually to function at all. Did you know that you can die from alcohol withdrawals?
Then there’s denial, alcoholism’s greatest mental weapon. Denial tells those in active addiction things like, “You’re still in control. You can stop if you really want to. Everyone’s overreacting. You got this.”
It turns you into a completely different person. Someone utterly unrecognizable. You do things you said you’d never do & keep the company of people you would’ve never imagined.
I felt as if I was taking a huge risk by admitting I was an alcoholic & furthermore asking for help. There were so many unknowns. What would I feel like without alcohol in my system? What would life be like without alcohol? Could I face that? Could I face myself??
Eventually, I felt hopeless & helpless. The road back to my old self was nowhere in sight. Where or how would I even start? Fear rushed through my body every time I considered it. Not to mention the guilt that ate me alive every second I was awake; which of course drove me to take another drink.
But eventually, not even alcohol could numb the pain. I had to make it stop, one way or another. One random day, I had a poignant moment of clarity. This time was different. Suicide didn’t enter my mind.
– I’m an alcoholic. –
Three simple words, yet so difficult to admit.
I had this all-encompassing realization that → I was alcohol’s bitch! Alcohol had complete control over me. I needed help ASAP! Finally, I asked for help.
“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” ~Gloria Steinem
ONE DAY, almost two years later I drank. Only one day. But guess what? One day counts. One sip counts. Relapse begins way before physically taking the first drink. Slowly, addictive thinking & behaviors re-entered my life. I started blaming others for my problems, again. Heck, I blamed my relapse on someone else! Thankfully I had a very patient A.A. sponsor. The next day, filled with shame, I walked into a meeting & tearfully told on myself. Ahhh. . . what a relief. Still, new sobriety dates suck! I highly recommend sticking to the original. Plus, new sobriety dates are not guaranteed.
But if you do relapse, get back to doing the next right thing A.S.A.P. Try not to beat yourself up too much, that’s not going to create a productive environment for you to thrive in. Instead, ask yourself what lesson you were meant to learn. Reflect on it with a non-judgmental mindset & see what you discover.
Stay Humble + Grateful.
That seems like another lifetime, a bad dream… well, more like a hellish nightmare. The thing is, in order to stay sober, I have to keep it fresh in my mind. Yes, the pain associated with those memories is heart-wrenching. But that’s good! It’s good that I can still feel it. It reminds me everyday that I never want to go back there. It keeps me humble & makes me grateful for my sobriety. Sure, it would be easier to just forget it all & act like it never happened. But that would just be foolish & naive.
When I got sober, I had to learn how to live again. The thought of doing anything sober sounded horribly boring. But it’s honestly the greatest gift I’ve ever been given. . . »Read My Recovery Story.
Get “The Big Book” through my affiliate link!
Alcoholics Anonymous: The Big Book, 4th Edition
For more information on how I use affiliate links, please visit my Privacy page.
“No matter how hard the past you can always begin again.” ~Buddha