A guy I met yesterday told me that he drank for 40 years mostly everyday plus had a serious Xanax addiction going full tilt. He quit cold turkey or funky chicken, angry bird... No AA, NA or similar recovery.. Seemed like a decent guy really, good natured anyway. My age. I liked him even though we had very little in common as far as alcoholism recovery. Although come to think about it he did joke about Church. Might be something there, I don't know. It was in passing. I was still baffled at the whole quit Xanax over night thing. Benzo's can turn on you hard if you quit abruptly.
Anyway, he went to detox and hasn't touched a drop since. Supposedly fine with one Xanax a day currently even though the addiction brought him down on his face just six months ago.. Says he hits the bar everyday still and buys the rounds of Rum for his friends and relatives. No AA. No real aftercare except occasional counseling which is more than not just to keep his Xanax script open. OK, now I'm just assuming with the script thing. Doing his thinking so it's more suitable to me. Whenever something shocks me I try to control it. Anyway.
My first reaction was shear disbelief after the stream of stories of things jumping off the walls at him and his attempt at sneaking away down the street with his imaginary brother in his sockies and Johnny. Picked up by the cops and brought back. Being strapped down tight wanting to fight anyone and everyone as he screamed at them for trying to kill him. Apparently the detox wasn't all that aware of his Xanax addiction until Mr. Hyde showed up the next day. It was bad. There was one specific hand sanitized dispenser that would jump off the wall and attack him.
All I could think was, no AA? Nothing? How is that possible? I don't see or hear of this kind of willpower much. This kind of wake up call one takes alone, no fellowship or sober camaraderie to speak of. I went to AA everyday at first. Twice a day when I could for the first two or so years. But now that I think of it? I was really whacked out man. Really whacked out..
Maybe I've been spending too much time lately wandering the AA warehouse in the company of alcoholics and drug addicts who just can't grasp the concept of most addicts being addicted to themselves. Alcohol is a symptom of underlying causes. Drink to get drunk yes but also self-centered and selfish to the extreme. Survivors really fighting their own individual wars with themselves. Wrapped in their bondage they simply cannot break free from on their own. Forever looking to win for loosing. Their willpower remains insufficient. They drink and drug for a reason and usually like me? It's not the taste of Smirnoff Blue and stomach bile in the morning or by noon. It's the effect. The temporary removal of the bondage. No more pain.
People don't drink Aqua-Velva aftershave for manly fresh breath. They do it because it's the only way to medicate themselves. Vanilla extract? Pacify themselves. Shut down the misery and despair. Reverse the impending doom of another day trapped in their racing self destructive mind. The AA Court System daycare center approach works for many also. So does the availability of a fragmented 12 Step fix all for anyone with a social disease. Come as you are, do what you like and ignore what you don't like. Or make use of advise or direction to better use your own thinking to fix your thinking. Most who come to AA and don't do anything are actually doing something. Just showing up can be a foundation stone many are unaware of until they are forced to rebuild..
The recovery pressure is on hard with insurance demands, timeframes. The everchanging scientific view of addiction with it's multiple choices. Society constantly playing the mental health card as back up support.. It seems as if the quicker the new person sees themselves as dual addicted the quicker they can be processed into the system. Sure the spiritual approach is accepted but without the professional paperwork? No validation. You are what they say you are and recover accordingly. You can't blame "them". They, like everyone else are doing the best they can with information they gather. Jockeying for a primary purpose. Feeding the masses.
In his own way this guy, or new friend, described why he didn't go to AA. I didn't speak his language so I didn't grasp the how and why of it all. I only got the "he drank and drugged all his life, went to detox , freaked out in the DT's and hasn't drank a drop since". That part I understood. Honestly? It made sense to me and I was truly happy for him even with my initial skepticism.. I kind of wished for a moment that I had the same history with the booze, but no. I'm AA. I was rescued by AA and live each day in and around AA today just as I did long ago. AA is a way of life for me.
Maybe I'm just "that" screwed up! I can't imagine trying to survive some of my many sober life's pitfalls or even successes without my AA 12 Step program of recovery. Never mind the camaraderie? The trust established with the powers of example that make up the meetings. To be even more specific? The Big Book 12 Steps. And yes, some 12/12 stuff too.
There are sober members in AA that I really believe in. I trust them, their spiritual ability to keep a confidence. I have no issue with sharing humility in an effort to come clean with my life's ongoing efforts to selfishly regain control of everything and create a quick and always temporary emotional security boost.. My self centered fear has me hanging on tight when I should be letting go. I share this part of myself in a fellowship of trust and usually find I am not alone. This doesn't make my conduct acceptable but it does allow me to atleast see it for what it is, see myself for who I am and with the Higher Power's offered courage? Change it. Yes. The Higher Power and the sober powers of example in and around the halls of AA. I just can't see myself pulling up my boot straps and getting it together with no AA. No, I just can't see it at all. At one time I tried it. Actually I tried denying myself the AA meetings or 12 Step outline a few times and drank again only to be in a much worse jackpot each time. I'm much too undisciplined.
The good news is? Today I can see myself. I can pick myself out of a crowd so to speak. Although I did get a shot of fear when my new friend began talking about himself as being responsible for his total sobriety with no AA. And yes I did try briefly to make myself feel better about myself or attempt to remove my fear by shooting holes in his 'I do it myself without AA" recovery. Yeah, I picked him apart for a minute or so over his financial state, personal appearance, hygiene, teeth and such. Anything to make him pay for how I feel about myself at that point. Anything or the usual character assassination to make me better than him because when he says he doesn't need what I use for a lifeline? Well, I'm threatened as if he's really saying I'm weak and he's better than me. But I saw it, I saw myself and changed it.
There was a day when I would probably laugh in his face in disbelief. Say something hurtful, sarcastic. Kick him to the curb for his silly justifications that couldn't possibly work. Sober without AA, wet brain probably, are you kidding? After all? I know what's best for the alcoholic and I do what's best. Yep. Some good old self will run riot in an effort to validate myself at his expense. He's screwed up and I'm ok. But I didn't. Proof that I am growing as a person. Being selfish is one thing. Letting it fester and become an act of self seeking behavior? That's different. Then I'm taking hostages. Then I'm screwing up.
So.. I learned some valuable lessons yesterday with my new friend that's for sure. I'm maybe a better person for it. Time will tell. I "have" been trying to learn to give without expectation. I've been at it a while now and occasionally seem to make a bit of progress. Maybe I can be of service to those who get sober and deny AA. I have no reason to fear them and avoid them if I can see myself clearly. I want what's best for them even if I have no idea what best is. More of the no expectations thing. You do what you do and if your happy I'm happy for you. I can let go of people, I don't need or want total control. Today I have a choice on what does or doesn't effect me. I have my own willingness but it's directed toward my God. The facts were made clear in my fourth Step inventory that I alone had a ceiling of self reliance that was much too low. My self will no matter how much I wanted it to be or tried, was insufficient. I was ok to a point and hit the ceiling and broke apart, always. Not just once in a while, always. Self-centered fear ran my life.
AA Big Book 12 Steps showed me a suggested spiritual path where if I was willing to make the spiritual approach each day? Willing to become spiritually awakened each morning and throughout the day? I could live sober and have purpose. A reason for living. I have to admit that having purpose in life and a reason each day to live? For a hopeless alcoholic? That's huge!
I get up each day and pray for some way to give of myself that another may benefit. So does my new friend want to give of himself. The only real difference between us is I pray for it. He doesn't need to. I don't have a problem with that.