"An alcoholic in his cups is an unlovely creature. Our struggles with them are variously strenuous, comic, and tragic. One poor chap committed suicide in my home. He could not, or would not, see our way of life." - Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous (italics mine)
i got to st clare's garden too late this evening, but tomorrow i'm gonna go call on sister b, septuagenarian sister of mercy, recovery maven, saver of lives, world traveler, athlete, brave, funny soul, compassionate beautiful lady, hero to so many....
today, tho i wanted to for one desperate minute, i again didn't drink alcohol. it's been 6,629 days!! the bulk of the reason i've not is cause of my mother & father, i think: i can't hurt them LIKE THAT ever again. people of strong faith, maybe, can get sober more readily, too, believing it's their god's purpose for them. they "move into the light." my faith in the beginning was in the sober group: how did all those rough-looking people not drink, &, in fact, look so happy? lately, the vestiges of my faith have waned & waned as i have disconnected from those brave rooms. still -- intellectually, & after that, the emotional flood of realization comes -- i know there is Something in the stars. i need more reminders; today i remembered i need more meetings & to recommit to the higher power of my understanding.
i'm sitting here at this table in crisis, & my heart hurts: how do people who've suffered but w/o ties to close loved ones or a faith stay sober? how do they do it??? why do i -- a person of relative privilege but at-times damning conscience -- sit here sober while so many are dying all around? why do some w/those advantages still drink & die from it, like dear stacy, never to be forgotten?
some people have that something: they are survivors. i think of the balloon of suffering referred to in frankl's "man's search for meaning": their balloon swells & swells & contains their misery until they find a solution to shrink it & find peace. the solution? again, i think love & faith, what frankl called a "why to live" or meaning to live... otherwise...
i know ones who have white-knuckled it, or they never get it & just die (examples above), or worst of all, maybe, limp along for yrs & yrs, for the most part existing rather than living, maybe having quite the ball at times, being the life of the party, the guy/gal everyone wants to have & wants to have go down in flames so they can watch, but always alone in those dark moments, with never enough booze or drugs to keep the god feeling flowing. (i know that sentence was crappy & this entry is repetitive & poorly-written. i don't care!!) i know that the ones who never stop drinking alcoholically die before their time; i've seen it so, so much, especially when i lived in bakersfield. this disease is sad & fatal.
i don't wanna die that way!! i don't want you to die that way!!!!
when i was a newcomer, i got a card that read this: "granted that i must die someday, the question is, HOW SHALL I LIVE TODAY?" i think about that a lot & sometimes it keeps away the demons... yes, another reason i had to get sober is i realized -- w/some terror, cause i saw i'd had a close call & saw what i'd been doing to myself, my health, not to mention all of those who loved me & whose hearts i was selfishly breaking, "i don't want to die!" i had thought i wanted to, & still i struggle w/suicidal ideation: it's my achilles heel, maybe. but that abiding love of & loyalty to family, the new-found desire to live as long a life as i can of dignity & maybe even some fun, the cornerstone of faith that i have: these all enable me to not have to drink today.
for me, to drink is to die, & again, i don't wanna die. not yet!!!
i spoke to my/our dear family this eve & all expressed regret & sadness & compassion for a dear one who went out (tho the person's drunken behavior -- selfish, ugly, vicious, cruelly jeering -- was far from dear. see quote above.) i was reminded that in 1995, had i not had my folks' support & felt loyalty to them, i, too would have relapsed, like this person did. my folks told me that's probably more the norm: relapsing. hmm; maybe so... i know the relapser MUST NOT entertain shame, once the relapse has occurred. cast it aside so you may jump back on that train! the person who relapses has suffered enough, just enduring the long, torturously painful walk to the drink, then finally, inevitably , having the drink. now that it's done, it's time to, as dad said, "pick oneself up & brush oneself off!"
i was reminded today, alcoholics drink. addicts use. that they in some cases don't, there is the miracle!!! i am a frigging miracle!! i should be drunk, loaded, or suicidal... none of that's active right now!! thank you, great spirit/pumpkin/nature/g*d/greatness/grandfather/grandmothers/power of evolution!!
then i start thinking, sh*t: someone like me possibly might seem intimidating, not having drank for 18 yrs (tho i've been crazier than crazy plenty of times in "sobriety"). our loved one "might need to talk to others who've relapsed so they won't feel all alone or like something is seriously wrong with them," said my folks. man's wanted to experience bliss since 1st crushing grapes (or, w/o imbibing narcotic substance, while gazing at the night sky or a flower or while running, playing music, making art, in the acts of love or service). it's so easy to grab that blissful "god" feeling from a bottle, pill, smoke, line, or, as i now know it's called, "issue." the condition is common, therefore, the misguided search for god/good/bliss, though to me it's maddening: isn't it illogical, anti-evolutionary, against the life force that humans continually should be drawn to substances lethal? my husband said it's about "thinning the herd." i refuse to believe that! maybe it's a test of some kind, a way to point out to each of us false- versus real-god. i don't know!!
i do know anyone can get sober, if the body & mind haven't been ravaged beyond return & if a person believe & know in his/her (their) heart of hearts that they MUST STOP because they don't want to die the sad, slow, painful death of an alcoholic -- a heartbreaking agony for all who love him/her & can only helplessly stand by & not much fun for the drunk, either!!
i'm so, so blessed right now that i stuck around long enough to learn that my own body can produce the god feeling. i need it; i crave it; without it, i don't feel like i'm really alive!! to learn i can have that feeling w/o killing part of myself or scaring to death/making bitter/alienating those who really love me? wow. it makes me want to live this way yet another day, despite my moments of misgiving & despair. today, i know i hold the hope for any who might be suffering & want this solution!
i've taken for granted my continuous sobriety. i gotta treasure this fragile thing so i don't lose it!! yet, to those who have lost their sobriety, i say as long as you still breathe, there's room for you in the program of alcoholics anonymous, or whatever spiritual solution you seek, provided you want to stop. "the realm of the spirit is broad, all-inclusive," i think the book says.
yes, as long as there is breath, there is hope. so if you've relapsed but you live still, there is hope for you, if you want what we have.
i am extending to you my hand. please, i beg of you, please leave those deadly waters & climb aboard. i know it's a struggle to get onboard, but do it. the ship will sail in a rocky manner, & on deck life is deadly-serious, w/ever-threat of devastating storm, but it's also brave & joyous, filled w/the camaraderie of survivors rescued from a common peril. those on board are trustworthy; they will know your secrets & watch your back. yes, this ship will deliver you to a new land on solid ground, with tools that work, life-affirming spirit, & connection to your fellows -- much more satisfactory, certainly than the lonely death you faced in those murky, slippery waters -- as inviting as they may look in places... please, please, please, just don't die.