Today things are more different than they have ever been in my adult life. For a gal that hates change I am surprised to find comfort in this.
Today I have 30 days of sobriety. 30 whole days of abstinence from any mind altering substances. Everything that my being touches is different now because of it. My relationship. My joys. My sorrows. My friendships. My day to day schedule. Everything. Where there was once chaos, restlessness and despair there is now stillness, contentment, and warmth. Sobriety alone does not give stillness, contentment, and warmth. It comes to you because you no longer forget what you have said or done the night before. You no longer wake up with shaky hands, heartburn, and dizziness. The warmth spreads to you from the hugs of the friends you have made who are also following their faith and the AA program to live a life worth living.
I no longer have to run away or escape my own mind. I can sit in stillness with myself and sort through thoughts and feelings without self loathing and anger. Of course 30 days is a tiny amount of time sober in the grand scheme of things so imagine how much better it will be in 60, 90, 1 year, 2 years….When you have willingness, drive, and faith while working the program IT WORKS. Not like the saran wrap shit you buy on Facebook to make you “skinny”. When I say IT WORKS I mean “it works, if you work it and we are all worth it”. Just like your physical fitness it takes blood, sweat and tears. There is no saran wrap that will make you skinny and going to meetings won’t cure your disease alone.
Although I do not need to explain to people how or why this thing works or what it means for me and my future…I understand the natural curiosity of it. So I thought I would delve a little deeper into what I have learned about alcoholics as a whole my 30 days in the program. I will tell you that although the big book and the twelve steps and traditions books have helped educate me greatly, it was the stories and women that have shared that have taught me more than anything. Here is a little FAQ and answer for y’all who still can’t quite grasp the concept of “never drinking again.”
Q: So you’re never going to drink again? Ever? Not even a little sip?
A: The short answer is no. I am not. No communion, no champagne toast at my wedding, no celebratory shots at a bachelorette party…never. That is the goal anyways. We do not live by the motto “for the rest of my natural life I will not drink” in the program. We say “one day at a time.” Why? Because have you ever thought about taking on a lifelong commitment and freaked the fuck out about the monstrosity of it and felt like you needed a drink because SAME. We don’t put that kind of pressure on ourselves…24 hours at a time is a lot easier to tackle than a lifetime.
Q: Why can’t you just drink a little?
A: I have answered this before but my understanding of the disease has grown and so therefore my answer has expanded as well. We alcoholics consider that we have an allergy to alcohol. A lot of people have a hard time believing this or wrapping their heads around it…but let me explain in a way that makes sense. A normal person eats a shrimp and they go about their day without a second thought. A person allergic to shell fish or shrimp takes a bit and they react. They can’t breathe, they itch, they swell, their whole day is FUCKED. A normal person drinks a beer and goes about their day. An alcoholic drinks a beer and they react. They OBSESS on needing more. They drink a six pack and REACT in a way that is not normal- anger, sadness, aggression, etc. YES, normal people can react the same under the influence of alcohol, but a normal person can stop well before that point where you will find an alcoholic cannot.
So someone was asking me about the above and I thought I was phrasing it in a way that would make sense. I asked “would you ask a heroin addict if they would shoot up again?” thinking that made for a very clear and concise answer that I intend to not drink again. It didn’t. So let me set the record straight on that. ALCOHOL IS A DRUG. It is legal, it is socially accepted. No fuck that, it is socially worshiped….but I can assure you its effects are quite as powerful as heroin. Just because you need less heroin to get fucked up than you need vodka does not mean that it’s power over the addict is any weaker.
So what is next? I don’t know. All I know is what I am doing in this 24 hours….I am spending the evening with my sponsor and my home group and tomorrow making banana pudding cupcakes. It might not sound like much to you, but to me it sounds like peace….stillness…serenity.