And to be clear? My experience is not the rule of alcoholism. We do share a common bond in AA sure. But it's not about how we all suffer the same symptoms. It's about how we all recover. The common bond is willingness.
Alcoholism is described by many as a disease. I'll go along with that. For the sake of this post I compare it to the likes of heart disease. Heart disease is generally an array of symptoms that cause the pump to stop working properly. Pump stops? You die. As with alcoholism "disease", these symptoms are not always the same. Heart disease can be the build up of arterial plaque causing the heart to work much harder producing less and less blood flow. Combine this with diabetes or obesity, over exertion, lack of exercise, improper diet, ignorance etc. And we tilt. Sometimes we have another shot at life and sometimes we don't. The death certificate reads heart disease.
No different than the many symptoms of the alcoholism disease. The drink itself is a major factor. What type and level of consumption. Why some people drink to compensate. Yes some do love the taste of booze while others drink solely for their love of the effect and ignore the taste. Some are dominated by their horriffic past and others cannot face the current days responsibilities. Some act out in fear, others drink to mask their self centered fears. Many deny physical consequences. Some fight for the right to drink as they will with no accountability or thought of others.. Just like the heart "disease". Anyone can create a blank to fill that pertains to them specifically. So yeah.. As far as I can tell? Alcoholism is a disease.
That being said it would make sense that simply putting down the alcohol is not enough to overcome the alcoholism disease. Just like if you simply stop eating salt it will cure heart disease.
THE RIGHT ANSWERS COME AS WE LEARN TO ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS.
As with most of us who find ourselves alone and boxed in the dark pit of despair. We feel we have asked ourselves all the questions surrounding "why". We are at a loss. We cannot figure out why we are like we are nor do we understand how we got here. We are truly lost and alone. We trust no one.. This can seem like the end when actually it is a beginning. This is the point when many like myself surrendered. To what we don't know. Maybe we surrender to ourselves.
I remember as if it was yesterday. I was at a Hyannis nooner AA meeting and said? I don't know if I'm alcoholic or not. I don't know if I'm crazy. I know that whatever I am I can't take it anymore.
It's probably important to note that I could no longer work and care for myself with any consistency. I was broke and living or hiding and sleeping at night in a building that was at one time under construction but had been shut down. No utilities. My life was a reflection of my surroundings. Not the other way around. I was nothing going nowhere when I thought of myself yet I was everything going everywhere when I looked at my surroundings.. The self centered fear ruled me. I couldn't escape it anymore. Not with booze or even high powered drugs when I could get them. No people either. Nothing could help me. I really believe I couldn't go any lower. Now, of course I could but I didn't believe it. Things had never been this out of control.
There was a time when even as bad as things were for me on the outside, in my mind I could find relief by imagining my wife letting me see my daughter or letting me come back. This delusion was great really. I wallowed in it daily as if it would solve everything. My son would recognize me as his father and want to be with me. There was fragmented hope there., something to live for anyway. Of course it never would materialize yet I was convinced otherwise. I really believed that if only they gave me another chance it would be the one thing that would save me and make me normal again. But now? Nothing. Any thoughts that had anything to do with me or my life, my history was only bad. Ok, not just bad, I was mortified at any thought of my wife or kids or any of it. Even the thought of family or anyone surrounding my family was sheer terror for me. The guilt and shame was absolutely overwhelming. I wanted to die everyday. Every day I woke up and thought maybe it's today. Maybe it'll all be over today. Then another night would come. The fear of head lights moving past a window could be the cops. Someone ratted me out. Paranoia. Someone knows I sleep here. Fear and more fear. If only I could be at the AA meetings around the clock. I was safe there.
OH YEAH..THE BEGINNING THING.
Although I would probably be considered a Big Book thumper. A loud mouth know it all that spoke only in 12 Step literature related riddles.. It didn't take long for me to realize that AA isn't just the Big Book 12 Steps. Or the 12 Steps and traditions. Or the fellowship. Or God. AA is a bit of everything, some more some less. Just as the symptoms vary in each of us so does the recovery process. My own recovery didn't start with the Big Book. It began with the fellowship as it presented itself.
The meetings were a place to go where I didn't need to know anything. I didn't feel the need to mimic anybody to be accepted. I was just there and who I was worked fine. The bumper sticker AA is where it began. One day at a time, easy does it, live and let live. I thought about these slogans everyday. Basic really. Nothing can happen in a 24 hours that a drink or drug won't make worse. Easy does it but do it, don't procrastinate and hide. Ask for help and put some effort into my day. Live my life and let others live there's. Oddly in it's simplicity I still to this day review these same slogans. Contrary to the beliefs of the AA Big Book purists this is where I began my recovery and also a place I would recommend making a beginning if it suites you. Not to say that getting right into the 12 Steps and surrendering to a God of your understanding isn't good. It's just not my experience and to deny my experience is to deny myself.
Besides. The Big Book 12 Steps are laid out in masterly detail for the person who can make an admission of hopelessness. As time went by those in AA realized not everyone could make this admission. And even those who could needed time to become willing and ready. So what now? AA is the Big Book 12 Steps only? It is there for the chosen few? Everyone else is out of luck? The program itself doesn't work that way. I can't imaging getting to the 12th Step and where it says working with others I change the wording to working with a select few.
IS THIS AREA GREY OR GRAY.
All addictions is basically the idea that an addict is an addict. The addict shares multiple symptoms and the recovery is similar for each. This is hard to imagine for some. As if the hard core alcoholic suffers the same inner pain as those who clutter their lives with material to create security and avoid stimulus. Or the old adage that cigarettes are harder to kick than Heroin. Whatever the vehicle that gets you to the AA door, that's on you. Most AA meetings these days are set up for all people and rarely for alcoholics only. At one time long ago anyone was welcome at just the open stand up meetings. Now days it's 12 Step meetings also. 12 Step meetings described as meetings that describe and offer guidance with the 12 Steps specifically. The 12 Steps being a recovery platform where we are willing to grow in understanding and effectiveness.
I have heard people from Gamblers Anonymous share good solid recovery for me to identify with. I have had a hard core Alanon put me in proper perspective with my everyday life from the podium as I sit there as a face in the crowd. I have been reeled in to reality by Adult child recovery and Codependent Anonymous meeting makers. But let me be clear. If I had not done sufficient 12 Step work in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous first? It, them, everything would be meaningless. The AA Big Book 12 Steps offered me the ability to become teachable. Why? Because I am an alcoholic. I know what I am today. I am not ashamed of my truth.
A SUFFICIENT PSYCHIC CHANGE.
Yes, life will take on new meaning. We will not regret the past or wish to shut the door on it. I understand the word serenity and I can feel peace today. I have friends today that are in all types of recovery from all types of primary addictions. I do my best not to judge as I am aware of my fear and how I compensate for it. I have nothing to steal, only hope to offer. I am not them and I have not walked in their shoes so how can they not be believed when I don't know their plight. I have plenty going on with my alcoholism and those self admitted alcoholics who seek AA Big Book 12 Step recovery. Those like myself who in short order became willing to make that admission of hopelessness as I did. Those who become willing to walk the Spiritual path suggested as a foundation under the program of recovery as it's laid out in the Book..
And to everyone else? All the addicts with multiple diagnoses? This is my Big Book Step 12. You get no problems from me. Only support.