- Wake up in the morning.
- Realize i’m alive.
- Feel sad about that fact.
- Sit up, put my feet on the floor, my elbows on my knees, my face in my hands and wonder how it ever got this hard.
- Wait for the courage to rise.
This was my daily routine for so many years it’s embarrassing. Consistently, the first thoughts that crept into my waking mind were like roaches: gross, depressing and impossible to get rid of.
Since becoming sober, i wake up in a neutral mood. Usually, my first thought is a simple question, “Do i work today?” If the answer is ‘No’, i feel good. If the answer is ‘yes’, i don’t feel bad.
Last Saturday, i was having lunch with some AAers (and that victory is a whole ‘nother post) after a meeting and i mentioned this crap to a friend. He told me that his therapist told him that the first thought of the day is great way to judge where your head’s at. (FWIW, the friend’s first thought was “How do I get out of my marriage”!–he’s now divorced.)
So, this is my challenge for you. Over the next couple days, try to capture your first thought of the morning. Take your mental temperature first thing when you wake up, and share it here with us if you can!
“Act as if” is one of the first and truest things i learned in recovery.
If you’re sad, act like you’re happy.
If you’re angry, act like you’re calm.
If you’re afraid, act as though you’re brave.
The miracle of this is that, after acting happy, calm and brave long enough, you’ll become happy, calm, and brave.
Of course it’s not that simple… Except it is.
After college, i was obsessed with a girl who was almost as beautiful as i thought she was and who didn’t like me nearly enough to quell my obsession.
One night at a bar, i drank way more than i should have. Then i had one more. Then another. Then the idea threw up in my brain that i had to see this girl.
i didn’t decide to drive drunk that night. i never decided to drive drunk. Rather it was a compulsion that overcame me and swept me away like a tsunamitini. A smarter alcoholic would have chosen to drunk dial but i’m nothing if not the stupid alcoholic so i chose to drunk drive the 1½ hours that separated Tracy and me so i could wake her at 3am and declare my love for her. Yes, well, i’ve already admitted to being the lowest common drunkard.
Somewhere around Hour-1, with 75% of the trip behind me, i fell asleep. i woke up less than a minute later to see my car barreling directly at a guardrail. i slammed on the brakes and hit the metal barrier head on. i was not wearing my seat belt.
i remember looking at the accordion front end of my car through the broken windshield. i remember taking my foot off the gas and the car shuddering to a stall. i remember seeing the cracked glass in front of me like a jagged spider’s web and understanding i had bounced off the windshield rather than burst through it.
After the long moment it took realization to seep through me, i found a way to tie the hood down with my jean jacket and drive the car to the next exit where God was nice enough to place a 24-hour truck stop that sold shock cords. i attached these to the hood and drove to a friend’s house rather than Tracy’s place.
i almost drove my car into a ditch approaching his parking lot, because i fell asleep again.
PS i was able to be fully reimbursed for my car because i told the insurance company that i’d hit a deer.
What about you? Have you ever driven drunk? Care to tell us about it in the comments?
i don’t feel like writing.
Back in my drinking days, i used to say my life was a series of circles, like a dartboard, or a still pond after a stone had been dropped into it.
The smallest, innermost circle–the bull’s eye, if you will–represented my basic needs. Eating, sleeping, evacuating… The next circle included things like my children, my family, my job… The following ring was for my passions, seeing movies and blogging, for example.
Whenever my drinking got real bad, i withdrew into the middle of my life and ate and slept and evacuated my bowels but abandoned everything else to the ravages of my disease. i could no longer be a good father, spouse or employee, and often gave up on my blogs.
Currently, i and loved ones are going through a tough period, one filled with a lot of stress and pain and i find myself tempted to withdraw again. To hide from the world. But i know how devastating this thought pattern can be and the dark places it can lead me.
So i’m asking you to please send me and my family good, supportive thoughts (or prayers, if that’s the way you roll) and to understand if my posts here are less frequent and / or are of poorer quality.
Thanks for reading. Keep coming back.
Today, i read about a pill that cures alcoholism. Well, not exactly “cures” it, but helps at-risk drinkers reduce their alcohol consumption by decreasing the positive effects of alcohol on the brain.
Like many things, this got me thinking.
Imagine there’s a pill that would magically allow me to drink like a normal person. Would i take it and drink again?
The answer is, i hope not.
It was never about the alcohol for me. i drank like i did everything else: to fill a hole, not realizing i was a bottomless pit. Doing everything compulsively to reach an unreachable goal made me miserable, so then i drank to kill that too.
Fortunately, my sickness led me to recovery, and in recovery i have learned how to make myself happier than i ever was drinking. Turns out my alcoholism forced me into a place where i either had to learn to be happy or die. Ironically, my disease was the cure to my life’s ills.
So, no magic pill for me. i don’t need alcohol to be happy and i don’t need a pill to be happy, either.
Sobriety alone is good enough.
What about you? Could you be tempted by a pill that would possibly reduce your alcohol intake?
i’m in a crappy mood.
The best way to deal with this is for me to meditate a minimum number of hours on what might be the source of this discomfort and, after penetrating introspection, write a long treatise in which i analyze my thoughts and feelings and float hypothesis as to the possible origins of my malaise and, through a dialectic process and expository reasoning, develop a list of courses of action that i might feasibly take, not forgetting to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of each proposal.
Or maybe i just need to go to bed earlier.
Sometimes the easiest solution is in front of your eyes…after you close them.
“Sleeping It Off”: It’s not just for drunks anymore.
The Three Asshole Rule
When you meet your third asshole of the day, it means you’re probably the asshole.
Heard in the rooms last Saturday
i’ve mentioned i’m now in Step 8 ["Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all"] of the 12 Steps, getting ready for Step 9. Reliving my past errors is harrowing at times—i’ve noticed that when i recall the disasters i’ve created in my life i feel the shame flare up and burn through me like a flash fire—but knowing i’m making amends for them soothes me like a balm and i feel purified when all is said and well-done.
Another beneficial aspect of Steps 8 & 9 is that these are the first steps of the 12 that involve other people. Steps 1-7 are all about working on myself from the inside, while now i need to take this work and focus it outward, on my relation with others.
Let me tell you, this step could not come soon enough.
Like many alcoholics, i imagine, i’m pathologically shy. Alcohol was a way for me to overcome this fear of talking to people and it even worked for a certain time (usually the first bottle of wine). Now, by razing my past, by Cleaning my Slate, i’m removing any need i have to feel inferior, to feel “less than”, in my social interactions. Hopefully, this will help me to me more secure and “right-sized” when i continue my interactions with others.
My drinking life (because it was too long to be just a career) was a series of alarm bells going off constantly, beginning with the very first time i ever drank.
- At 18, the first time i ever drank alcohol, i peed my pants and drove drunk
- At 25, i fell asleep driving drunk and drove my car into a guardrail on the freeway
- At around 40, after waking up from a blackout on a subway platform, a stranger knocked me unconscious with a metal bar and left me for dead
There were lots of warning bells throughout my drinking, yet somehow, i was able to hit the Snooze Button each time an alarm rang. That worked until it didn’t.
- At 47 i binged on red wine and spent 10 days in the hospital after i attempted suicide
Finally i had my wake up call.
What about you? Care to share with us any signs about your drinking you chose to ignore? Leave a note in the Comments Section!