How many of us have ever come into Alcoholics anonymous with any semblance of those traits? The very nature of our brain disorder tells us that we will be okay if we just get that next drink or hit without suffering a major consequence. Convincing myself that those little white lies about how much I drank, why I fell down in the bathroom or parking lot and why I embarrassed myself once again at a family event were not significant. I even defended and lied about incidents like “how did the underside of the car get crumpled, why was I black and blue from running into things (my bed frame), why couldn’t I just drink responsibly and not pass out?” All these incidents I stridently denied or confabulated a story so they could be pushed aside. Unfortunately, these drunken occurrences became more and more frequent. Forcing me to concoct more lies to others and of course to myself because the truth was just too horrifying. Self awareness of how far my disease had progressed had to be pushed aside at all cost. If I couldn’t clearly and honestly remember an incident (blackout) then perhaps it wasn’t real. I was a woman caught in the nightmare of alcoholism and in the stark light of early morning, hung over and afraid I could see no way out of this merry-go-round except to continue drinking, get locked up or die.
Of course, this closed me off from any real healthy or intimate relationships. I put on armor to protect my alcohol use. On the outside I appeared to function at work and with superficial friendships- cause if you really knew me- you’d know what a fraud and coward I was. We, Alcoholics are loners; hiding in plain sight from anyone or anything that might expose us and shed light on our overwhelming dependency on booze to live. Even when alone, I was unable to face myself in the mirror and admit that I was beaten. Shame based and miserable how can you let yourself be known as a fall down drunk? Who can you trust and how can they possibly help? No far better to remain in hiding.
I’d like to say that if I knew then what I know now about this brain disorder; that its a chronic, life-long progressive disease that if not arrested leads to insanity and early death; maybe I would have been more eager, determined and willing to seek help earlier. But, I honestly don’t know to what extent my disease had to progress before I was ready to surrender and admit to myself and others openly that I was not just bruised but truly beaten. It wasn’t until I had an actual near death experience from drinking a fifth of vodka while driving and blacking out that brought me to that resulted in alcohol poisoning,; my brain was drowned and I was found unconscious and bloodied from a fall onto a gravel driveway while in a blackout. I awoke from unconscious to find myself tied down, lying on a gurney in the ER, the nurses refusing to come near me because I was spitting, swearing, and striking out- in a blackout that I to this day have no memory of.
So yes, today I am totally willing to go to any lengths to remain sober. This means I must be rigorously honest with myself and others. To do this I have to also be open and involved with recovering aa members in order to give and get feedback. From practicing the steps on a daily basis I amable to enjoy all the benefits that sober living gives. Today I lead a life that is way beyond my expectations- one where I can live fully, love well, and forgive deeply. If you are new or returning to this fellowship hang on tight for the ride of your life and believe that you too can get sober,stay sober, and live a sober lifestyle.
So Be It.