A Symptom

I have a dis-ease of selfishness, and alcoholism is a symptom. ~ Anon

The very first recollection I have of when alcohol was a problem in my life was at a very young age. Perhaps you can relate.  My notion was that I would not get my fair share, which of course was the lion’s share of whatever was being served. I never drank to sate a thirst. I drank to get blitzed; to be removed of my reality. 1,000 was never enough, and one was too many, of anything.  Some call this black and white thinking…all or nothing. I know, for me that thinking infected my whole life.

In step #8 we are encouraged to pull back to veil of denial and investigate how we were selfish and self-centered in all of our relationships. This can be tricky because our inaction can be as selfish as our actions. For instance: To withhold our affections or boycott a friendship just because we are not getting what we want. To not express ourselves honestly when asked to for fear we may upset the other person. These are ways our inaction harmed others and ourselves. The AA program asks that we only change only little thing, and that is ourselves. It is a small price with some big pay-offs. Such a deal we get in AA.

Self-Love/Compassion

God, please help me see the truth about myself

no matter how beautiful! ~ anon, 2011

The secret to success in AA is in believing you are worth it, acting as if, and staying sober; so that you can appreciate this fact fully. I have said before, and I will gladly say it again: I do not respond well to criticism. I am not motivated by negative reinforcement. And, all the self knowledge in the world will not get and keep me sober. I must practice day after day, and year after year this thing called absolute love and compassion for myself and others. How can I be compassionate toward others when I beat myself up and find only fault in the mirror? I can’t.

Last night, I witnessed a conversion between a healthy member in AA and someone who does not embrace the concept of love and compassion toward self and others, yet is dry. What I heard a lot were excuses, blame and self sabotage when healthier options for living were introduced.  My questions for you are: is it enough to just be dry and drag yourself to meetings? Or is being healthy, happy, free, and truly sober a better objective? I choose the latter. So long as I treat myself like garbage, I will fee like garbage, and eventually I will say, “what the heck; I might as well be drunk.” Eat well, live well, and be well one day at a time.

Chemical Peace of Mind?

A week ago, I fell on my behind and have been pretty sore since then. I have been accused of being a pain in the butt, so this gives new meaning to that phrase! It reminds me of an old timer in the meetings who used to say, “I have given up the right to have any chemical peace of mind”. How often we are encouraged (by advertising and well meaning advisers) to ask our doctor for this or that drug to mask a physical problem.  We do not want to bear pain. We hate discomfort. We also shun simple, drug free solutions in favor of the ease and comfort of sedation. As someone with long term, chronic pain, I know the desire well.

One of the things I have learned along the way is that I cannot afford another addiction. I cannot depend on addictive substances to make my life easier or pain free. There are options out there that have worked for me. One of the best pieces of advise I got was “move it or lose it”. Exercise helps stimulate the endorphin hormones (what makes us feel good) and keeps the body in motion. Simple solutions such as ice or heat, eating well, and getting a massage, etc. will service to soothe the body.  And, it will keep us sober. Isn’t that what we are here for? Please write and let me know what your experience with dealing with pain has been like.