Psychic Change …
Today was sunny and it was nice to get out of the house. I headed over to Trinity Memorial for the meeting. I find that I get more opportunity to work with others there, because today is the only day of the week where I get to see a bunch of friends in the program all at the same time. We had read from the Big Book and the Doctors Opinion. It seems that as of late the same readings have come up over and over again. And it (the meeting) being a beginners meeting, time in the book is precious and necessary to guarantee that everybody gets a fair shot at sobriety.
This was the passage read:
“Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol. The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false. To them, their alcoholic life seems the only normal one. They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks—drinks which they see others taking with impunity. After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink again. This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery.”
The past few days, I have been looking back at the past – as we read through the book at different meetings, that my style of drinking evolved over time. I never drank in moderation. And for a while I drank for the effect. But after while, I lost the desire of the effect and began to drink, because I wanted and needed more.
More, More, More …
Yes, at the time of my first pass through the program, I was drinking to forget and I was drinking not to feel. Living through unbearable sorrow and grief almost took me out. How do you come to terms with a suicide or ones own mortality?
I had to get over them, and the only way out was sobriety. Because then I could deal with life with a fighting chance. And that’s what I had to do to survive. For a little while at least.
This time 19 years ago, I was quickly heading for my bottom. My first meeting was on August 23, 1994. Had I stuck and stayed this year would be 19 years, alas, that did not happen.
Coming off my slip, when I put down the drugs, I kept on drinking. That last year I drank because everybody else was drinking. I wasn’t drinking for the effect, because a binge is about consumption, not effect. It is about pounding yourself with so much alcohol, nothing else matters but MORE !
When I put down the drink, I had prayed my way out of the drink. And thankfully God was listening and he answered my prayers.
Because it was truly divine intervention how it all went down.
I humbly/shamefully walked back into the rooms. People welcomed me and took me into their sober family. And they went out of the way to include me in meals and fellowship and meetings. They opened their homes and their lives so that I could sober up in a safe environment.
That was all well and good, for the while.
When I came here, I was five months sober. And stupidly, I became a creature who had needs and expectations. For a while I imagined that my list of expectations were justified and that God should reward me because I was back.
Don’t ask me where this came from, I have no idea. But I was wrong.
The process of the psychic change was in process. It had begun before I took my last drink, because from that point I had begun to change. I realized that I had a problem and that the only way back was through God. And I think I got ahead of myself a little. Because when I rooted in my home group long ago, I learned about expectations.
That lesson included Stay in your Day and One day at a time.
All those things I thought I needed – I didn’t. God gave me what I needed on a need basis and on His timeline. And little by slowly my list of things were addressed.
and finally NO !
That process took more than 18 months. I kept coming back. And I was teachable. My ego was not that big to say that there was nothing new to learn.
TODAY: One of my friends heard me share about this story today, and he asked about the idea of letting go of expectations and if he just “let go” would he loose himself and loose his identity???
Sobriety is like a gem. We are a gem. In the beginning we are ugly and un-shapen and un-usable. We are not pretty, and God, in his time, is going to polish that gem, until we are ring quality and cut, shiny and new.
Sobriety is not easy, as we learned today. But it has its moments. When we come in we are like that rough gem. And we come to sobriety with our expectations, and egos and attitudes and assholes. Everybody gots one.
We keep coming to meetings, because if we don’t we get squirrely. And during those meetings, listening and sharing and working on ourselves, and we learn how to let go, and take it easy, and to turn it over, God begins to polish the gem.
Life is cyclical.
We all have issues. And they are never forgotten fully. But we learn in sobriety to work through those life issues so that they don’t become dead weight around our necks to weigh us down and drown us.
Issues come up. Repeatedly.
Life days, Life issues, anniversaries, catastrophic life events, etc …
Every time a life issue pops up, in sobriety, because we said this is a process right? We get to look at that issue from a different perspective, as we grow. And with each pass at the issue, the GEM gets cut a little and polished a little.
All of this to say, we never graduate from our issues, but over time, we, the gem, get polished by God. And this is the gift of sobriety.
Expectations can get us into all kinds of problems. There are no justified resentments. Let go of the self you came in here with, and have hope that what you may find, on the journey, will be pleasing to you and to God.
That’s the gamble. Are you in or are you out?
Here, you are not alone any more. You never have to drink again.
It is good to be able to work with others. It makes my life much more sweeter.
A friend took his six months and a second friend took thirty days.
Both are miracles. And they are sober for another day.
We are blessed.
That is all.
More to come, stay tuned…