I use the title of this post as a subtitle for my blog. I’ve wondered who else might have heard the phrase (no, it’s not original). I wonder if any have scratched their heads regarding its meaning.
There have been a few posts recently that reference the disease of addiction, something I am very familiar with. I’m writing this post for myself and others. Others that may have a limited understanding of the disease of addiction and recovery, and others that might need hope from a fellow sufferer.
I’m a recovered alcoholic. I got sober June 12, 2006. I was at a point in my life where I couldn’t drink and I couldn’t not drink. Some used to ask “why don’t you just stop?” Believe me I tried for years. I would often wake in the morning and tell myself I will not drink again … and I meant it from the bottom of my heart! But by afternoon, that conviction had flown out the window. It was perplexing and instilled a sense of worthlessness and shame that could only be borne with more drinking and drugging. How do you explain that to someone? To a normal person, there is no explanation possible. To a fellow alcoholic there is no explanation necessary.
Check out this monologue by Craig Ferguson some years back.
So I cried “Uncle” and had to find some folks that could relate to my dilemma and help me. I just wanted to quit drinking. What I got was exponentially more. It wasn’t a better life. It was a new life.
I quickly realized that removing the drink and drug was akin to tearing off a small corner of a piece of paper. The alcoholism was the rest of the paper. You see, the drink was but a symptom of the disease. There was much more that had to be done. It was to be a lifetime of vigilance but also an exploration into myself. I have to apply my recovery to every aspect of my life if I am going to be at peace. Lee Iacocca once said everyone should have the opportunity to go through a 12-step program. The drink is taken away and I was left with myself.
Eight years later and I have so much more than I ever expected. I found a spiritual connection that sustains me through all of life. Since getting sober I have been through my share of trials, tribulations, beauty and wonder. I’ve been broke and survived. I gotten a divorce. I’ve explored relationships, both D/s and vanilla. I’ve experienced a wonderful relationship with my children. I’ve battled and survived depression. I’ve found peace and a God of my understanding. I’ve had to look hard and deep within myself and get honest (I’m a scuba diver). I’ve had to be patient. My business has once again thrived. And I have fallen in love (guess who?).
My active alcoholism bled into my family. Today, my recovery does. It pervades into all aspects of my life. When I write on this blog, the goodness I have been blessed with can be shared with others.
I don’t want to drink any more. I haven’t for many years. Today, I continue my recovery journey for emotional sobriety. It has allowed me to love my children, to run a business, to accept hardship, to find love. It has allowed me to embrace my kinky sexuality and desire to give and receive true love.
It has also allowed me to reconcile things like molestation by an older brother. Deep feelings of shame from a dysfunctional family. I’ve learned these are not what define me. My thinking and fears are a product of many things but most of these thoughts and fears are not based in reality. The reality is I am a child of my God. I have assets and defects. It is my responsibility to embrace both; to use the assets for good and maintain vigilance of the defects, recognize when they crop up and be willing to adjust accordingly.
I have a deadly, chronic condition. It is my responsibility to treat my condition every day. I may not feel the urge to run to the liquor store but my emotional condition and spiritual connection must be a part of my daily routine. This is what has worked for me.
It’s allowed me to love and be loved. It’s allowed me to be comfortable in my own skin. It has given me peace and serenity. It’s allowed me to wear the world like a loose garment.