for the past 6 months, i have taken a long hard look at my drinking. after 4 months of sobriety, some a.a meetings, reading the a.a. “big book”, followed by a “slip” and then 2 months of introspection and experimentation, i think i understand my dealio.
there are many aspects of a.a. that i respect; it’s a free, not-for-profit, supportive place for people to gather and not drink together. it’s a simple, straightforward program that does not advertise or sell you shit you don’t need. there is comfort in being surrounded by others who are struggling with the same demons you are. they promote doing service to inspire humility and increase self esteem, which is very good advice.
a few problems i had with the program… step #1 states that “we are powerless over alcohol” and goes on to say that “no human power could have relieved our alcoholism”. this powerlessness won’t help to gain control of your life (or your drinking). i’ve learned that i can stop drinking if i choose to. it is a nasty habit that can be addictive and even fatal. but it’s a habit like any other than can be broken with the true desire to stop and actually making the choice to stop.
i take responsibility for my choices, good or bad, and that’s what builds character. i think it’s essential to be accountable to ourselves for the choices we make. also, because i don’t believe in god, i tried thinking of a mountain in north vancouver as my “higher power”. that didn’t really work for me.
i realized that i was drinking way too much, but even more important for me was figuring out why i was drinking heavily. i was avoiding dealing with issues and alcohol became my alibi. because i was busy drinking every night, i had no time to face and sort out my personal problems. drinking was the distraction i needed to avoid finding a serious career. it kept me from writing that book i’ve been yearning (but am also terrified) to write. if i drank enough, i didn’t have to be engaged with my kids or present in my own life. i could just tune out and avoid the things i didn’t feel like doing. i was a lazy mom for a long time and i truly regret that. those years can never be brought back and that breaks my heart.
i thank myself (not god or a mountain) for stopping long enough to see clearly what my life had become. i am currently drinking occasionally because i choose to, but not to get drunk and disappear from reality. alcohol has lost its power in my life because i have found something i like to do more than drink…write! so nowadays, i enjoy a beverage as one would appreciate a fancy dessert or a really good steak. moderation comes naturally because i don’t feel frustrated about the issues i was repressing.
i am focused on my writing, and have been lucky to get a blog-writing gig for a local yoga studio. i am dealing with my problems and allocating more time to what i love doing and have re-dedicated myself to achieving my creative goal: writing that damn book. my relationship with my kids remains great and i see them as a priority, not a burden.
augusten burroughs said it best:
“… a person needs to occupy the space in life drinking once filled with something more rewarding than the comfort and escape of alcohol. this is the thing you have to find.”
i feel incredibly proud that i have found the thing that brings so much pleasure and purpose to my life. to have identified my passion while i am still young enough to do it is a true gift, and i will totally drink to that.