As I looked at myself in the mirror on those suicidal festive mornings a few years ago, the joy of Christmas was the last thing on my mind. Christmas meant family, putting up a front, trying to cover up how awful I felt.
When my brother was driving me home after a family Christmas in 2000, he asked if I had enjoyed myself or at least saw the point of celebrating the whole occasion. Being self-centred to the core, all I could think about was the fact I was going to have to go to work the next day and that I had not been given enough money over Christmas to pay for the drink I was surely going to need until the end of January when I next got paid. So I told him that no, I thought Christmas was a bit rubbish really. Next morning found me with my head down the toilet, looking at my own bloody vomit as usual, wondering how the hell I was going to get through the day. The link was clearly there, I was looking at the world from the wrong perspective and thought the world owed me a favour, but my alcoholic life seemed the only normal one.
I felt I should live life my own way. It was not even as noble as a principle, it was just wilful defiance. I seemed to have an allergy to people telling me what to do. I just would not willingly follow direction unless forced to and not only that, if I did not follow your direction, I would still resent you for trying to get me to see it a different way. I viewed the world as revolving around me but of course it would not and that was the problem. I could not live life and it drove me to drink and of course if you are an alcoholic of the hopeless variety like me, to drink is to die.
The more I insisted on living through self-will, insisted on doing things my own way and demanding that you and the world behave as I want, the worse my life became. In fact, the more I tried to force my will upon the world, the more it seemed not to bend to my will. So today, if I find myself feeling exceptionally defiant (oh once in a while…) the memory of me wishing my life away, crying in the bathroom and blowing chunks slides easily into view and brings a wry smile to my face. Who am I to complain today?
What a realisation I had when I finally gave in and admitted complete defeat to my alcoholism. For all my wishing to be master of my own destiny, it was not working and I was dying. For the first time in my life I became willing to be taught, I learnt to discipline myself, to take true responsibility and to humble myself sufficiently in this world to live happily and peacefully. The paradox is that the more I submit myself to the will of my Higher Power and the direction of my sponsor, the better and more fulfilling my life becomes. That is my experience. For more than six years now those feelings of uselessness and self pity have slipped away, I am no longer a prey to misery and depression, life is no longer a chore that leaves me with no alternative but to drink. I simply feel ok, pretty much all of the time. And that is a miracle.
Road to Recovery, Plymout, Dec 2009