In my experience Step 1 was the hardest for me to come to terms with. Even before I started drinking it was necessary for me to perpetuate the illusion that I could control and handle my environment. Alcohol assisted me in following this delusion and had warped into my only solution to life’s problems. The idea that I could no longer control the one thing that had brought me so much relief or that I could not handle what my life had become was beyond frightening.
I hadn’t suffered many of the external consequences of drinking that I heard of in my first AA meeting. I excelled in my career, had my own place and hadn’t ever been arrested. I never considered that my bottom could be an emotional one. I rebelled against the notion that I couldn’t handle this and chose to go at it on my own. I’d hit a wall, pick myself up, then carry on as if nothing had happened. I lived in this cycle for many dark and pain filled years.
My alcoholism lead me to believe that my only problem was you and the rest of the world. If only I could manage this well then I could be happy. The more unbridled my drinking became and the more chaotic my life was the harder I tried to exert my will upon things. Still operating on old ideas, I was defiant to seek help. The only solution I could see was to make my world smaller. I took a position that allowed me to work from home and began to recede from any real contact with the people I cared about most. Slowly the gravity of not being able to master the world, you or even my own drinking sank in. Alcoholism had annihilated all the things I had once found pleasure in.
I was gifted a moment of clarity one night while crying alone in bed. I could see my life playing on the same way for the next 10 years as it had been for the last 10. The image of continuing on this path was bleak at best. Thoughts of ending my life were the strongest they had been in a long while. What struck me with fear most was that the will to fight them was no longer there. A voice of a friend, who had taken me to my first meeting, popped into my head and asked two simple questions: Are you still having fun? How much more do you want to dig?
At this time of desperation I was able to be a little more honest with myself as to the true state of my life. I was now willing to concede that I what I had been attempting to do wasn’t working and that perhaps those AA’s might be able to help. I am forever grateful to the fellow alcoholic who answered my call. In the past, I would have never imagined that an act of surrendering would be so empowering. I now see that a seed of hope was planted that night. The hope that what had worked for you could, just perhaps, work for me too.