Despite my white knuckling, I have somehow managed to get fourteen months free of drinking and drugging under my belt. I went to rehab not knowing anything about A.A or that it would even be a part of my treatment. I still remember my first meeting and the relief I felt at not being alone in my problem. That feeling lasted for a little while. The truth was though, that
I wasn’t ready yet for a different life. That fact became apparent after over a year “dry” and in a bad relapse.
I believed that by reaching out and asking for help I would be somehow bothering people. Being in a year-long abusive relationship added to my feelings of unworthiness – an all too familiar reality inside the walls of domestic chaos.
Finally I had found a sponsor and was going to at least a meeting a day in addition to Big Book studies. I was doing what I was supposed to yet I still could not grasp the true meaning of this program. I wanted to be well and begged to go to rehab. I thought I was working my A.A program perfectly, but maybe that was the problem.
I had put on a show most of my life; pretending to have friends and a perfect life. Yet again I managed to convince everyone I was doing great when in all reality I was still dying inside. I struggled with calling my sponsor every day. When reading the Big Book I saw and heard the words but I never truly took them in and valued them as my means to living a fulfilling life. I could relate at meetings and even spoke of my struggles sometimes. I definitely believed I was an alcoholic and that my life was unmanageable. I even believed that A.A could solve my drink problem. Yet I could not take action to make those beliefs real.
I also believed that there was a power greater than myself but wasn’t convinced It could restore me to sanity. Aside from not taking suggestions I started to isolate completely. I had never been so miserable, so alone, so in my head. I knew I did not want to drink or use. My biggest motivation to stay sober was guilt. So many people helped me, like my Grandfather who paid for rehab. I didn’t want him to feel like he had wasted his money. I had also promised myself I would not drink or use again, and somewhere in my mind I didn’t want to let myself down either.
After losing all of my A.A friends and dealing with difficult family issues, I convinced myself that it didn’t matter if I started to drink or use again. So I did. I found out the hard way that when they say “alcoholism is a progressive disease always getting worse, never better” – they weren’t kidding.
I found myself more miserable than I had ever been and it was getting worse. Thankfully I only stayed out for a few months before getting sober again. This time I decided to dive in head first. I couldn’t get to face to face meetings and discovered telephone meetings and soon www.intherooms.com. I swear, In The Rooms saved my life! I started to go to 3 to 5 meetings a day, sometimes more. I found a sponsor who I truly believe is meant for me and trust completely. I started taking suggestions and reading the Big Book thoroughly. I focused on the similarities rather than the differences and applied myself to step work. Once I accepted that I am worthy of recovery I was able to reach out and make friends in the program and build my support network. I was able to create an image of my Higher Power that I understand and began to have conscious contact with Him. Relying upon my Higher Power is a vital part of my sobriety and I have never felt a closer connection to anything in my life. Alcoholics Anonymous has given me a feeling of being a part of something bigger than myself and I am forever grateful for that.
The phrases “There is action and more action” and “Faith without works is dead” have become important to me. I did not take action my first time in the program. It is a mistake I hope I never repeat. I understand that sobriety is a “daily reprieve” that needs constant maintenance. I’m told often that sobriety is a journey not a destination. I do not have to rush and try to “get it” all at once. One day at a time is how I work my program and I’m constantly amazed at how it continues to work for me.
And so my journey continues…