- (of a person) in a very unhappy or unfortunate state.
I chose this word deliberately when naming my blog because it encapsulates the way I always felt emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually. The hole in the soul, the fear, the unworthiness that could only be appeased and enticed by alcohol.
I was told two things early on in my sobriety; 1) I didn’t have to drink anymore and 2) I chose how happy I wanted to be. I met both statements with the utter most contempt and arrogance you would expect from an alcoholic newly arrived from the cut-throat wilderness of ‘the madness’.
An alcoholic of the variety described in the Big Book has to drink. The predilection, whether it be genetic or behavioural has crossed the physical dependence boundary. The obsessive urge to pursue oblivion is the ultimate goal and the alcoholic knows the stark choice has now developed. The progressive disease of alcoholism has developed from an obsession of the mind to physical dependence. I always said ‘I didn’t do hangovers’ and the reason being was when I started drinking I couldn’t stop. The phenomenon of craving had me in a vice like grip. The one constant feature is that the alcoholic has been ill since the notion was conceived to drink. Therefore, being told I didn’t have to drink anymore was akin to the absurdity of being informed I needn’t bother breathing, as I could absorb the air through osmosis. To say I had a resentment towards the old timer would be an understatement. However, I had an underlying respect for the man as it was clearly evident these were words of wisdom I wasn’t ready to comprehend fully. Learning from the Fellowship at AA meetings and working the Program gave me the insight, dignity and preparedness to understand I didn’t have to drink again and that was a joyous notion as opposed to the dread of compulsive drinking.
I was baffled by the concept of deciding to be happy. I was convinced that happiness was something that happened to you as a result of external forces. My self esteem and ego were poles apart. Egocentric alcoholism had devoured my self esteem to the extent it hardly existed. How could I dare to be happy? I’m like a pig in shit when it comes to wallowing in despair. I know self loathing, pity, procrastination, depression and anguish, They’re my accomplices, my allies, my team, before the Fellowship of men and women in AA and a higher power of my understanding came into my life to expel them. Marianne Williamson wrote; ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.’ I believe this is what was being communicated to me when I was told I chose how happy i wanted to be. I was so deflated, ravaged by years of alcohol abuse and barely no self analysis, an urban barbarian of sorts, that I couldn’t even anticipate taking that step towards serenity.
They say ‘keep coming back’ at meetings. If I had not gone back to meetings after relapsing, or delaying by conjuring up excuses, I wouldn’t have learned the wisdom of the two lessons I’ve just described. So if you’re wondering whether to go back, heed the words ‘Keep coming back’!
I always had this inkling that my drinking would bring misery and an untimely demise – be that insanity, incarceration or death. The undercurrent of fear coursing through my being, hypersensitive anguish leading to inebriated cruelty. A friend said to me recently that they perceived me as a person struggling with alcoholism rather than an alcoholic. My response was reflective and considerate of what recovery from alcoholism really means to me. In an ironic twist, alcoholism has led me to a program developed by other alcoholics that enables me to live life on life’s terms. I can answer a phone when it rings instead of being filled with the terror of the what if’s. I can keep it simple and hand over whatever is troubling me to a Higher Power of my understanding, asking for the willingness to believe I’m living the way I’m supposed to. I was conditioned by the progressive nature of the fear based dis-ease and then tempered by the Program like steel cooling after being hammered back into shape to become purposeful.