I have this list, a list of horrific events that if any would happen in my life then I get a free pass to get drunk. For example if someone who I was really close to died suddenly, or my house burned down to the ground, or I had a terminal brain tumor… then I would give myself permission to get drunk. This list is sort of a silly mind game that I started when was I getting sober – since the idea of not ever drinking again, for any reason, and for the rest of my life was sometimes too overwhelming, this game gave me an excuse. Of course, if any of these events actually happen, I also have a choice not to drink.
My mom dying was the first event on my list that actually happened. I thought about collecting my free drinking pass, but instead I chose not to drink. Then a close recovery friend committed suicide, which was also on the list, and again I chose not to drink. Then my uncle had both kidneys removed and was near death, and again, I chose not to drink. I have walked through many things by now, that at one point I thought that were horrific enough to definitely get drunk over, yet when it came down to it, I chose not to drink.
Other horrific events on that list have not happened yet, and of course, I am hoping that they never do. But I have been going through a difficult time in my life and I am trying to remember how I got through all those other difficult times. I am grasping for strength from all kinds of places and I have found support from many people. Of course, music once again has provided me with a huge comfort. I keep listening to this song by Sia, called “Elastic Heart.” I love this chorus line in the song:
Well, I’ve got thick skin, and an elastic heart.
Somehow, I think if I repeat that line enough times then I will actually believe it! I am also holding on to many great sayings that I have collected from people who were kind enough to support me:
- Feelings are temporary and you will not feel this way forever.
- Speak to yourself as a best friend would.
- Whatever happens, things always work out.
- You do not have to decide anything right now.
- Keep your mouth closed and your eyes open.
- Do not beat yourself up, it serves no purpose.
- Learn from your mistake and move towards a solution.
These difficult times often mean that I am also drawing-in my spiritual strength. I truly believe that my Higher Power has put me in this path for a reason, and maybe for many reasons that I just do not know right now. In all of this, I see a chance to learn a valuable lesson. I see an opportunity to gain some knowledge, and growth. I see a possibly where I can be of service to others. I see a moment when I can become a better person. I feel that from under all the pain and fear, and love, a new me may emerge.
However, for now, I am just letting things unfold. I am not sure if things can get resolved. I am not even sure what tomorrow will bring. I have no answers and I have no plan really, and that is OK, because I know that the answers will come.
I also look at 12-step meetings as my medication. That means I do not have to like it, I just have to take it. I do not like the taste of cough syrupy, but if I have a cough, I will take it. I have alcoholism so I take the medication that has had the best results for long-term sobriety. That is not to say that I do not like meetings, because I really do, just sometimes I don’t feel like going.
Of course there is also the great Serenity Prayer which always puts things in perspective!
In all times of emotional disturbance or indecision, we can pause, ask for quiet, and in the stillness simply say: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference. Thy will, not mine, be done.” – AA 12&12, Step Three, page 41.
Lastly, I try my best to remain grateful! When I do begin to forget how far I have come, I look at old journals or talk to someone who has known me for a long while. I remind myself that I now have a way of life that is worth protecting. I look at how much better my world has become and how much there is to lose.
So, I am still sober!
Every morning I ask myself this question: Can I really get through this sober? And every morning the answer is the same: Yes, just for the next 24 hours.
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