Solution to the Problem
“Is he not a victim of the delusion that he can wrest satisfaction and happiness out of this world if he only manages well?“
Says it all, doesn’t it? Well I can honestly say that’s my experience. The story of my life. I have to succeed, be somebody. What will people think of me if I’m a nobody? I have to be as good as him. No, I have to be better than him.
I remember finding school difficult, I was not the most academic kid in the class. My preference was to disrupt the lesson rather than contribute to it. Confidence was not my strong point so I would put on a front. I was a disrupter, it was my way of being somebody I suppose. I had a lot of friends, good and bad, but I just never seemed to able to connect them fully. I was different, the special one, or so I thought. Something isn’t quite right with me. Even at a young age I was restless. It seemed like people were out to get me. Everyone around me seemed to be better off than I was. It became more and more difficult to keep up. Difficult to fake it.
Until that day I found BOOZE! Now were talking, I’m only half way through my second drink, I can feel that confidence, that charisma and glow taking effect. I’m who I want to be now. You lot don’t seem to bother me anymore. Fantastic, I had found the answer to all my problems at last. Till the next morning came and I struggled to remember what I had did the night before. Fear was on me again. I’m going to take it easy next time I go out, just have a couple then leave it, I promise. I drank for 20 years and that was a common phrase I always repeated. Even after the break-ups with my girlfriends, the lost jobs, the prisons, fights and stabbings, drink driving accidents (in which my brother suffered servere head injuries). Oh yeah, and the devastation I caused to the rest of my family. The complete trial of wreckage I left behind me and still, I had to drink.
Why? Only an insane person would drink if that’s what it did to them. Exactly I was totally insane around alcohol. I had lost the power of choice. Alcohol was my master. My thinking was always the same, I'll control it this time. Not going to do that again, no way. Trouble was being sober was worse. I got to the stage where I couldn’t look the world and its people in the eye. My self worth was on the floor, I was full of fear and anxiety almost every day. Lonely, no self respect. I felt finished. I was finished. Pride kept me from asking for help, so I drank some more. Until one day I just couldn’t take it anymore. My pride and ego had been crushed. Within a couple of weeks of that day I found myself in the west country in a treatment centre. My treatment plan was to complete six months of therapy. I completed 5 months and was allowed to leave early on good behaviour so to speak. All well and good , but I still had the same old problems, fear, anxieties, inferiorities. The very things I drank on, they had not been removed.
Luckily for me I turned up in AA in April 2006, a week before leaving the treatment centre and found a whole bunch of people who had felt like I did. It was there that I found out what the real problem was. All my life I was a self-seeker, running on my own will, had to succeed had to be the one, ruining peoples' lives to try and get there. Drinking helped me at times to get over all the disappointments and failures. I couldn’t handle failure. The other problem was my alcohol control. There was no control once I had that first drink. Then when I had promised not to drink ever again because of some tragic consequence, I did. That strange mental twist in my thinking. This time will be ok. Alcoholism. Cunning, baffling and powerful.
On arriving into AA I was introduced to the 12 step programme by a sponsor that I had asked for at my first meeting. The Steps mentioned a Higher Power. I was without power, like a drained car battery. Everyone who had been through the Steps around me were buzzing. They had a new lease of life. that’s exactly what I wanted. Since taking the 12 steps with a sponsor, I now have that power I used to lack. The battery is now charged. AA is a wonderful way of life and allows me to deal with any emotional turmoil that comes along today. I needed a God in my life to show me how to cope. Drink was my answer for many years. God seems to be doing a much better job these days.
My life is blessed in recovery today and I have come a long way. Life has its trials, which I have encountered quite a few in my early sobriety (mostly manufactured by myself). I do love a problem. There’s no problem which can't be overcome through the 12 Steps, that’s why its so wonderful. No problems, no growth. No more being a victim of this illness. When I hit a wall I don’t go down the pub, I ask God. I then try to think of someone else, see if I can be of use to someone suffering. Not always easy, but with practice I get there. Everyday I ask God how I can be of use to the world and for a look at his will for me. If I keep in this spiritual frame of mind and practice the programme I seem to become a better and nicer person to be around, so people tell me anyway.
Sean K, Road to Recovery Group, Plymouth, Sept 2012