Monday night ladies meeting went something like this…more stories about women staying sober even through the worst of times. A lady who has many years sobriety said a thing to another woman who just made her 1 year that I am pondering on ,” I remember being a One year old and there’s no way I could’ve handled what you’re going thru right now” This sounded funny to me. But the more I deconstruct that statement, recognize its symbolism and metaphor… alcoholics being like a baby in the months leading up to years sober, it makes me wonder if I’m like a 2 mo. old infant. Do I need feeding, diapering, burping, swaddling? No. Do I require patience as I learn how to live clean, without my addiction? Yes. Am I awkward in my behavior? Stumbling into the great unknown, that’s partly true.
For me, drinking was a way of life. Now it’s not a part of my life. But I don’t know if that loss is enough to put me back in diapers. Comparing a newly sober alcoholic to a 6mo. old or 1 year old (depending on how many months you’ve remained in recovery) is good and bad. Babies are helpless. Babies are dependent beings. Babies have no voice, no language with which to communicate needs other than a cry. I am an adult. I have the ability to communicate my needs. I can help myself. Indeed, getting sober is the greatest help an alcoholic can give to himself. So do I totally agree with this AA analogy that 3mo. 6 mo. 1 yr. you are starting at the beginning, from your infancy to your toddler-hood to hopefully sober adult? Not really. But there are grains of truth and parts I will use from AA group speak, group thought,. 12 step practice. If you can’t beat ‘um, join ‘um. That’s how I feel about AA right now.
I’m doing everything my sponsor suggests, following along in my own way, making my own choices but listening to these sober people tell me how they made the choice. I’m a seeker, a knowledge junkie, a “need to know” kinda person. If this AA stuff works (and research shows it does) than I am willing to show up AA has many “rules to live by” that apply to not only alcoholics but anyone who struggles with the present moment. One day at a time. Probably the most widely ascribed. Serenity prayer asking God (or in AA your Higher Power) to grant us acceptance, willingness to change and wisdom. But one of my favorites is stamped on the chips for 30 days, 60 days…”To thine own self be true”. You can’t argue with that one. And another small lesson, but impactful surely is the idea that members of AA are accountable to one another. If a member relapses, the others are there to welcome her back. For some, and I am one, having others to witness my progress, see me collect chips, and congratulate me is important to my sobriety (at least in this early stage). Groups help, but some harm. Find the right group to join. There are thousands. Today I value my sobriety above all, because sober-living helps me achieve more, do more, be more…my life has purpose. It always had a purpose obviously, but my alcoholism undermined it greatly. Values above addiction. That frame of mind is difficult for some to accept.
But know this. What you resist, persists. Thinking about drinking, worrying how to cope without a drink, how to act around other drinkers, obsessive romanticizing of those moment your lips touched the glass… well it’s a wasted effort. I don’t want to put effort into resisting any longer. A more effective way to spend my time, my moments as they are, is being present for it all. The uncomfortable, the bliss, the frustration, the anger, the active moments of doing anything other than getting drunk. There are so many other ways to be. Just in 60 days alone, I have recalled my creative abilities I’ve found I like to create, build, make things. Was wondering where that went. Oh yes, into a bottle. When life is short, and you really only live once, do something valuable and meaningful. Make your life worth it. I am trying every day. I’m not perfect. I’m not a baby. But in each of us is the ability to learn, to grow, to develop into something more. Just takes time. But what is time? Seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years. ..an illusion. Only the moment. And then it’s gone.