29 May 2011

A Grateful Alcoholic

I consider myself fortunate to have been given a second chance at sobriety. And I also believe that I am humble enough to realize that this is my final chance. Only another alcoholic can truly understand when I say that I know I have one more good drunk in me, but I don't think I have one more good recovery in me.

The first time I quit drinking, I became a “preacher.” Telling everyone the evils of alcohol and how much my life had changed with recovery. I knew it all in such a short time. (Or so I thought.) The fact was – that I sabotaged my own recovery by speaking to everyone and anyone about my past. And what hurt the most was my own arrogance with recovery – I knew all the answers within a year of my quitting drinking. I put so much pressure on myself by my behavior that I became a god in my own world.

These attitudes of being a know-it-all crusader eventually lead to my own self-destruction and the resumption of my drinking ways. Within two years, I hit new lows and realized that not only was I not a god, but I had absolutely no control or power over alcohol and drugs.

It was Labor Day 1994 when this realization hit me like a freight train. I restarted my sober life with a new plan for recovery. Whatever I tried the first time didn’t work, so this time I would do everything different. I was defeated. I went to AA, two, three, four times a week. I seeked out a therapist and got “rigoursly honest” with that one person.

I was in reality killing a part of myself – so I could live. I was quiet and I wanted to learn. I learned from alcoholics who were sober for many years and also learned from alcoholics who were sober just one day. I learned from people who never touched a drop in their life. I began to understand that God put everyone here for a reason and if I could humble myself enough I could learn something from each and every person I knew.

The one thing that didn’t change from my sobrieties was my efforts to share my story. The difference being was that the first time I knew it all. This time I try just to share my story without telling someone else how to live their life.

Whoever reads these pages or my books or listens to me speak will leave with either an understanding or leave with nothing at all. When I share my story, my only goal is to say how alcohol and drugs nearly destroyed me. It is not to tell you how to live your life. This mentality helps me feel like I’ve only been sober for a short time. Even though I’ve been sober for over 12 years, I still remember my last drunk like it was yesterday. And I pray that that feeling never leaves me. I never want to forget how bad it was.

It is this ability to remember that now gives me the courage to share with others how, at times even though it was bad, I had some fun times. Crazy? Yes! Insane? Most certainly! But it was this insanity that helped make me the person I am today.

And who is that? A grateful alcoholic! Grateful? Oh yes! I’m grateful for a second chance at life. I’m grateful for everyday sober. And I’m grateful for the many teachers in my life; those whom I met and probably will never see again, those who are still a part of my life, and those teachers I have yet to meet.

1 comment:

  1. Some thoughts from "Authors Den"

    Reviewed by Joyce Bowling 10/1/2006
    Very, very powerful indeed...your article is an inspiration for families everywhere who endure the other side of alcoholism and the drug addictions...as Chrissy said in her review, thank you for your unselfish sharing of a very crucial and intimate part of your life...
    Joyce Bowling

    Reviewed by Chrissy McVay 10/1/2006
    Very powerful and heart-felt. It's not easy looking at the 'sooty side' of our human frailty. Thank you for unselfishly sharing a painful part of your struggle...