The Nature of my Alcoholism
I have been doing some reading lately, into the underlying nature of my alcoholism. I have known in theory, a lot of things for quite a while now, but I find it’s only by experience and practice what I really appreciate things.
“My name’s Jamie and I am an alcoholic.” That’s a given, I admitted it when I started the steps in January 2006, and I say it freely when I share in meetings. But how much respect and appreciation do I really have for that statement? I could say “my name is Jamie, and I have a killer disease, that will kill me if left untreated long enough.”
I suffer with alcoholism, and that’s why I drank. Although I’ve been sober, today, for around 6 years, 8 months, I still have alcoholism, and the Big Book tells us that we are not cured. “We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.” (Pg. 85)
If left untreated, my alcoholism will lead me back to drinking, or else kill me. For me that is the reality. When I look back, throughout my drinking I was playing ‘Russian roulette’ with my life every time I drank anyway. I could have got killed whilst drunk, through the things I done when out of control through drinking. I would take multiple doses of different drugs, collapse in roads, pass out on the streets, smash my head and fists through windows etc. I had no control whatever over alcohol once I started to drink: the phenomenon of craving!
And my internal suffering whilst sober always lead me back to picking up the first drink. My alcoholism, the spiritual malady, which the book talks about, the irritability, restlessness, and discontentment, will always lead me to pick up alcohol.
“Our liquor is but a symptom.” Thus my drinking is only a symptom of alcoholism, and I only have a daily reprieve from alcoholism, on a contingency plan! Contingent on the actions I take.
Now I’ve been sober for a good few years, and my life has taken off, and everything has improved in a positive direction. I’m working in an office-based operational role, I have a girlfriend etc. but these things are only the fruits of my recovery, and have come about as the result of the 12 steps. Sober, and not suffering with alcoholism, I have been able to progress with my life, and gain some measurable success.
However, my experience is that nothing can take the place of my 12 step programme, AA meetings, and the whole recovery package, of the 3 legacies, which got me sober in the first place. This is because I’m still an alcoholic, I still have alcoholism, and, essentially I – left to my unaided will – will drink again!
"We were having trouble with personal relationships, we couldn’t control our emotional natures, we were a prey to misery and depression, we couldn’t make a living, we had a feeling of uselessness, we were full of fear, we were unhappy, we couldn’t seem to be of reel help to other people" (pg. 52) The bedevilments, as they are commonly referred to. I can experience these in sobriety, if I slack off on my programme of ACTION. I can use these points on page 52 of the Big Book, as a check list of my suffering; and to my own shame I have experienced these, sometimes a great deal in my own recovery. This is a warning sign that I am, again, suffering with alcoholism.
Thank God for the 12 steps of A.A. and for the sufficient substitute to drinking that I have experienced in recovery, I am not doomed to pick up a drink again, and again, when life gets too much for me. I have something else I can do, work the 12 steps! Take the ACTIONS!
The majority of my pain in recovery has been self-manufactured, driven by complacency and sloth with my programme! The spiritual life is not a theory, we have to live it!
Knowing my problem and the solution in theory is not sufficient; I have to get and keep active, to keep my alcoholism at bay. What got me sober in the first place must be maintained, and I must seek to grow in effectiveness and understanding, with the spiritual principles contained within the 12 steps. The reality to me is that the alternative is to go insane and drink! That is the nature of my alcoholism, as I see it today.
I have heard many stories of people suffering with alcoholism, in sobriety, and they are very scary- so for me I must continue, to Clean House (inventory), Trust God, & Help others!
The minimum ACTION required for myself, on a daily basis is: to maintain and review a gratitude list, pray, read the Big Book, use the Just for Today card, be “sponsorable”, have frequent contact with newcomers, and get to the meetings of my home group, and have fellowship.
My message here is stark and scary, and has a very serious warning: based on my experience this far, people relapse all the time in A.A. and I don’t think I am any different, if I mess around with this I am in trouble.
However, there is a Solution! And my life has been transformed in A.A. for the last 6 years and 8 months; I have lived the best, most meaningful, productive years of my life. The disease of alcoholism is real, but so is the solution in A.A.
We have shown how we got out from under, you say Yes I Am Willing…
Jamie P., Road to Recovery Group, Plymouth