My name is Bryan and I’ve got problems. Yes, I shy away from labels. It’s not that I’m not an alcoholic; that label certainly applies. I am one of those blessed people who are all of the “ics” or “icts”. So yes, my name is Bryan, and I’ve got problems. More importantly I’m looking for solutions. This is what I have found.
When we begin telling our stories of experience, strength, and hope, it is the ultimate trap to fall into sensationalism. We are usually told to refrain from glorifying our use. Let’s be honest here. War stories are great for laughs, but really we are attempting to measure suffering. How can I trust someone else’s advice without knowing they at least have some understanding of what it is like. So let’s get to my disgusting list out of the way: abused and raped as a child, threw away or destroyed a marriage, home, and nursing career, automobile accidents, self-harm (I’m a cutter), suicide attempts, homelessness, I’ve laid in puddles of my own filth, become violent due to intoxication, been stabbed in the chest, health issues due to use, police chases, I’ve been arrested at gunpoint, I’m in prison for the 2nd time with significant charges, but here is the most important one on the list: Changed perspective, a desire for change, and I’ve found God.
I feel that maybe I’m well versed on the rock bottom thing. You be the judge, as I know you will, we are all human after all. I hit bottom, and instead of lying there, I jumped and then tried repeatedly to smash my head on the rocks. But this time, this time I’m climbing back out.
There are two things that instigated my road to recovery. About seven months ago, desperate, incarcerated and suicidal, I decided to get off of my psychiatric medications. It was the first time in eight years I was off all illicit and legal medications. Let’s be very clear here, I am not advocating for discontinuation of psychiatric medications. For me I found the possibility that I had been treating my addiction issues rather than solid psychiatric conditions. I was at a point that I needed either a clear head or a noose.
It was rough at first, but I began a routine of exercise, prayer, and meditation. Time for another come clean moment: I’ve spent most of my life as an atheist. No, not an agnostic, an atheist. No God, no nothing but that rock bottom stuff, that desperate stuff, it’s real. I would have given anything for some clarity and change. The other thing to push me towards recovery was my sister. Saint status is soon to follow. I don’t have a sponsor, hell I didn’t have anyone, but her. We can all agree that though we all have trials and tribulations, having to help take care of your older brother with “problems” is certainly unfair. She showed me nothing short of unconditional love and acceptance. It was her caring and support that made me believe that I could have a chance. Credit where credit’s due.
So you may be asking yourself, “where’s the good stuff? The A.A. stuff?” That is what you’re here for I suppose. Yet as a fellow person with “problems”, I’m sure you realize that as much as we draw strength from our common struggles, we each have a unique perspective and experience. Well hell, maybe I just had a light bulb moment. Maybe that’s what this is all about. Regardless, do I know the steps, and do they work for me…yeah, in a way. Let’s see where we’re at so far. 1) Admitted I have a problem I can’t control. 2) A problem that required something more than me to get through. 3) Willing to give up control and use that help to direct and guide me. 4) Rehash my ugliness in a blunt and honest way. 5) Well let’s stop here for a moment, because I’m still working on things. I’m …working on that relationship with God. Here is my take, you apply the program as you see fit.
After some time being incarcerated I’ve become physically fit, and my head has cleared significantly. These are the things that have changed my life: I wake up grateful every day, every day; even on blah days I find something, anything to be grateful for, and I thank God for that thing, I keep my body healthy and strong. After years of abuse it deserves a break, and finally, now that I have a clear head and an invigorated spirit, I am begging forgiveness every chance I can. The list is long my friends. As I am sure yours is as well. I ask God via prayer, family and friends via phone and letters, I ask myself via meditation, and society, well I am still here in Draper, grateful for the view of the mountains.
There are so many corny sayings in our program and meetings, but they all hold kernels of truth. So yes, an attitude of gratitude, courage to change the things we can. Sometimes acceptance of the things we cannot change is forced on us, but I hope the wisdom is still forth coming. On top of these things for God’s sake, say your sorry people. I don’t know about you, but I’ve done horrible things…multiple times…in multiple places…to multiple people…and despite this: I am blessed to still be alive, blessed to have the opportunity to become stronger, healthy of body, soul, and mind, blessed to be given the chance to make amends, blessed…So thank you God, thank you God, thank you God. Whoever you may be, wherever you may reside, I don’t know, but I know you’re looking out for me. I just needed to look.
One last thing people, and maybe this is my summation of the rest of the steps after my apologies. We’ve all been down and needed a hand up. Let’s not forget once our feet are steady and we have our bearings to look back and see if there is someone else who could use your hand up to steady themselves. That’s all I’ve got.
My name is Bryan and I’ve got answers to my problems.