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The Journey Begins

I have joined many circles in health and wellness, specifically in those that concern themselves with alcoholism and depression. I have written many stories that I hope help other people realize that we are not alone in our journeys. I have accepted the friendship of the few who understand my pain. I have made a few confidantes along the way. These confidantes are always there to lend an ear, and basically tell me that everything is going to be ok. And here I am again with another story. I'd love to be the one to say A-HA---Im just fine now, thank you all very much. But this story is as real as all of my previous ones. Those of you who have read my stories know me pretty well. The rest of you can always just read my profile. And so I shall begin.

I wrote a story yesterday called Just One. I think that was a sorta turning point in my sobriety as well as the generalized depression I have been experiencing of late. By yesterday afternoon..I wanted a drink....real bad. And I gave myself the go ahead to do so. I have had a pint of absolut hidden in my basement for a while now. And this time damn it I wasnt going to let ANYTHING stop me from drinking it. The old: just drink it and get it over with, then I can start my life fresh. My head kept telling me to go for it, I have nothing to lose. My heart told me otherwise. I cried all day long with the struggle I was facing. A drink would have certainly taken care of any doubts in my mind. But I started to get tired of being tired, sick of being sick. I realized that the bottle wasnt the only thing I was hiding. I was hiding from myself. It didnt matter that I have people in my life cause I didnt want them. They werent helping. Going back to AA and having people tell their horror stories, telling me not to pick up a drink...well its not really an option for me for reasons I really dont understand. {so people dont tell me to go back} Yesterday I sat in my bosses office and had a complete breakdown of sorts. I needed to take an afternoon off from work to see my counselor and previous experiences told me to just forget it and shut up. But I didnt. Instead I got the courage up to ask for time off. And I completely lost it...my heart poured out much of what I have been feeling, thinking, and even my grand scheme of drinking to make it all go away. I cried and told her I wanted to drink. I gave her reasons why I wanted to drink. I didnt want to do this. I cant afford to lose my job over my mental instability. But I didnt and I wont. She was surprisingly concerned...overly concerned..ready for gossip, about my health and wellbeing, giving me her home phone number if I needed to talk to her. Course I wont do that. Shes not exactly my friend and as a boss, I refuse to air all of my laundry out. Nothing personal but she really means nothing personal to me. She has the jist of whats going on and I am content knowing that when I feel the need to see my counselor all I have to do is do it, no explanation required. On my short ride home I was astounded at myself for thinking I could tell her as well as hundreds of EP members what is happening with me, but hold back from my husband. And it was that moment, still in tears that I said I cannot be selfish, that if I wanted to see that this life is worth living, than I had to share with my husband my mental instability. When I got home I took my happy bottle and shoved it in my bag. I knew in my heart when to tell him, as soon as possible. I knew the why, in order to get through my life with as many life lines as possible. It was just the matter of how to tell him. We were on a drive to my moms house for her birthday dinner. I was reeling from the thought that she is getting old..at 77, and yeah, its scary knowing someone you love so damn much wont be around forever. I took out my phone in search of private mail from one of my EP close friends. I was asked what I was doing and told him. From out of no where in my head, I asked him if he wanted to hear a few stories that Ive written. And the man was all ears. Course I started out reading the least mind blowing stuff about the love for the beach or about running. But it came out of my mouth so quick when I told him to pull over so I could read him my latest story about Only One. It hurt to read it, to bear my soul, to let him know his wife is still really ****** up. He was listening. He was very quiet. When I pulled my bottle out, he went pale and tried to take my so called friend away from me. I know he was scared. And I said no. I was being a very self less yet selfish person. That what I was about to do was confirm in my head the fact that I am accountable to many people. To my health care workers, to my friends who like my company, but mostly I am accountable for myself, for my own actions. In the pouring rain, I got out of the car and threw the bottle against a rock shattering it in all directions. This dd not feel good. I didnt have the Ok now Im ok thinking. My husband knows that it was harder for me to finally open up to him than to smash the bottle, cause its easy enough to replace the bottle, but not so easy replacing the life I have. And to think how willingly I have been lately in physically giving it all away thinking things just arent going to be ok. Im glad knowing that in that way I am a coward and self less. Otherwise I would not be here sharing yet another story. Anyway, we did go to dinner with my mom. I ate for the first time in many. I smiled at my mom when she opened up her gift. I hitched my breathing throughout the night, not letting the flood gates open being in an inappropriat location in the restraunt. But when we got home and I went to bed, my husband followed me and hugged me..told you guys hugs mean everything. He held me and said everything is going to be ok. Not something I like hearing because of my lack of belief. But as he held me he shed tears, and told me he's scared. Well how do you think I feel. Im scared to death. But I know now that things may not be okay, and theyre certainly not, but now Ive got some hope that they can be. Hope is something Ive lost. I know it is going to take a hell of alot of work to walk those few steps between sanity and insanity. But I realize now that I dont need to get better, I certainly dont have to get better. But that I want to get better. And Im ready to fight consciously on a daily basis to get me more towards the center of the see saw. I can see these days ahead and I dread them because I thought I had done all the work in the past to no avail. But Im proven wrong, again and again. As I said before, I have to start believing that all this is not something I need....alcohol can fix that, not something I have to do...I can be real selfish and say **** you all, but something I want. I emailed my counselor last night crying like a baby telling her I was ready to fight. She offered me an endless supply of tissue, but she offered me more than that, she offered to be there to help me on this stinking journey. Ive written a story on positive affirmations. And I need to just...do, not just say. And I need to remind myself on a moment to moment basis the basic things I can do by myself to help me in this journey...to eat so I have the energy to fight, shower so I dont look as I feel, ragged, unclean, just that ugh factor looking in the mirror. My counselor believes that once these things are done everything will fall in place. We know better dont we guys. It doesnt work that way with people like us. And it wont happen unless I give more than I feel I have. And that is soooo hard. But I will give it my all, rise up from the dead, and try.....really try to keep some balance in my life. That one step forward, two steps back will remain with me for the rest of my life but Im ok with that now. I will never "get there" but I can move forward little by slow until Im ready to live with myself and have those around me be able to live with me. I just need to be reminded, sometimes daily, on what to do and how to do it..But, Im selfish now and will ask people in my life duh, help,what do I do next.... and thats not a bad thing if it helps me live a better, more balanced life. There are things Ive done in the past that have made the balance easier...swimming, biking, running...laughing. All of this is possible again. I just need help in getting my Mojo back. All in time people, all in time.

This story I have just written does not say I am ok. This story just says that I am ready now to get help that has been offered to me in the past. Course medication is part of the deal too and I am going to consciously fight this battle until I find the right medicaiton for me. But Im not going to stop looking cause I really do believe theres something out there thats going to help fix me..This story is a confirmation that things may not be good but they can certainly be better. But its not going to get better if I dont try. Its not going to get better by itself. I need to put myself first in the equation and work from there. I even give myself a bit of hope, a bit of belief that I am going to be ok in this imperfect world I live in, in my head.

I hope those of you who read this read my other stories. They are raw stories of my feelings, thoughts, and ideas. Of my life as it is and as I see it. I share these with you to help you all know that youre not alone. But I also write them with me in mind confirming my existence or lack thereof. And even with this story, this is not an end, but perhaps a beginning. I do hope youve all gotten what you needed for yourself in these words. My journey never ends, and I will continue to share on EP my journey for those of you who want to listen. A personal thank you to those who know who you are in helping me see things in a different way. And to all you other people, thank you for sharing your stories of your struggles, and in reading mine,  The responses from you guys have helped me gianormously in getting to where I am now.
ilove2tri ilove2tri 51-55, F 6 Responses Jan 12, 2013

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You are so correct in so much of this story but I believe you are wrong in one key point.

You say, "one step forward, two steps back will remain with me for the rest of my life" but this is not so.

Our life is a constant repeat of "Two steps forward and one step back". Every time you do not give in to the temptation is two steps forward, every time you think about having a drink, with or without your happy bottle, is a small step back, at least in your mind.

But then you resist the urge and take another two steps forward.

Every moment, every occasion, every day, they are all big steps forward for us and should never be underestimated.

These are the source of strength and inspiration to take another couple of steps, to resist the urge the next time it comes, to regain your sense of pride in yourself, sense of accomplishment and worth, to realise yet again that you like the sober you more than the drunk you.

Your honesty and awareness is refreshing and encouraging.

Hang in there, you are not alone.

Your right. Every step I take forward is a biggie. When I do step back I hope to keep seeing what's in front of me sometimes it just dangles in front of me. Thanks for your kind words.

Hang in there. Keep fighting and the rewards will surely come.

They have, they do, and they will. Thanks. Peace!

I like what your sponsor said about..."who moved?.. And you are right. Spirituality is the biggest thing AA is about. And I will be the first person to say that I'm not very spiritual in the sense you use. I was told that a higher power can be anything but ourselves. My higher power since my "birthday" in 2006 has been and always be the ocean. It is there where I am most at peace with life and with myself. However, I always seem to have a however :), I just read a book by Charles dunhill on "the power of habit". And from his theory, AA is not a cult. It is more of a group of people willing to change their habit loop.... Cue---response--- reward. So if we change the.... I see a commercial on bud light with people smiking....I pop open a can and drink it.... I feel good now and smile. It's all about the ingrained habits we have that makes us do what we do. So we change the response to the cue...do something else in place of popping open that can. Whatever we replace it with.... turning the channel, getting up for a refill (coffee:),... this is where a new habit is formed and it's done to the point of automation. Dunhills book speaks of alcoholism as a disease... But for recovery to happen the person needs a new habit. And sitting in a church basement fir 90 meetings in 90 days offers just that.... A new response. I know that AA is way more than what I've said. And I know that AA works. And works very well. Please know that I am knocking your strong beliefs. Or the program itself. AA saved my life in 2007. I still have much material from my days. Yeah I am the one who walked away. But drinking didn't cause my mental instability.... A 150lb bull mastiff did. So until I find out why I still suffer from this horrible experience...until I find out how to work through the depression and panic attacks....until I find the right medication to allow me the capability to think through stuff.... Until then I will continue the stinkin thinkin that alcohol is my friend who will just take me away from my terrors. One more however, I have changed my habit loop concerning my drinking. I run. I bike. I go to the beach. But the reward is a lot greater because my new responses keep me smiling most days. :)

Sorry... My bday is dec 24 2007 not 2006

you are absolutely correct about the thinker being broken, however, for me, and for many other "recovered" alcoholics, the compulsion to drink has been removed. I asked God to remove it and She did. The big book clearly says, " ...men and women who have RECOVERED from a seemingly hopeless state of mind and body. To show other alcoholics precisely how we have RECOVERED is the main purpose of this book..." p.xiii

"...And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone --- even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we have been placed in a position of neutrality---safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been REMOVED. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. This is our experience. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition." p.84-85

I believe that people who go back out drinking have let up on their spiritual condition. In my experience, it has been true with every single person I know who has gone back out.

After 18 years, I still go at least 3 times a week, I talk with my sponsor almost daily, and I am involved. I get to do things I never dreamed I`d be able to do. I start each day with prayer and meditation and I finish them the same way. Life has ups and down, some of the worst experiences of my life have happened in sobriety, and not once did I think of a drink. I contemplated suicide a few times, but never a drink. Funny how that is.
I once looked for the easier softer way, I now know I have found the easier softer way. I took and continue to take the 12 steps. Page 25 of the BB tells my story. That happened to me and continues to happen every day.
My sponsor once said to me, if it feels like your getting further away from God, who moved?
I'm just sold on the program of AA because it worked for me and has worked for millions of others. The sad part is, less than 5% of people who reach AA stay sober. That`s very sad, very sad indeed. But I am so very grateful that God`s Grace works in my life. It`s not easy, it is allot of work. But the rewards are unbelievably wonderful and 10 fold the effort I put in.
I will continue to pray for you.
Cin

taking action is the key. Nothing changes if nothing changes.
you said step by step and that is absolutely correct. Take the "12 steps" and you will be free.
it says "half measures availed us nothing" and that is absolutely true.
I listen to so many people say "my program isn't working" and the reason it isn't working is because it is their version of the program, not the 12 steps as outlined in the first 164 pages. Follow the instructions and you will be free.
I know from experience. I didn't want to do the steps, I didn't want to do any of the work.
but when the pain got enough, I became willing and I was set free.
I am a recovered alcoholic, like it says in the big book. Recovered, not recovering. Each day is a day when I must carry the message into all my affairs, and the message I carry is, you don't have to drink, you don't have to do anything you don't want to, but it is not easy, you MUST do the work. I offer them/you the same simple kit of Spiritual tools laid at my feet years and years ago. I will walk to the gates of Hell with you if you want to get sober, but I wont go inside with you. I will wait at the gates with a helping hand in case you want to help yourself. All I have is my experience, strength and hope. And they are all real, very very real. "Simple, not easy, a price must be paid" and I paid dearly, but |I wouldn't trade it for anything. Living sober is the most wonderful life, I could never have even dreamed of such a wonderful life.
I am very happy you have made a decision, now all you have to do is follow through 100%. I would be more than happy to share with you more, should you choose. can't do it for you, but I can share how I was helped and "how I recovered from a seemingly hopeless condition."
I will pray for you each day, it's what keeps me sober. praying for others and trying to carry the message.
Cin

Yes..... I am a RECOVERING alcoholic. I don't believe for one second that there are folks out there who can honesty say:praise god I am healed. I am recovered. We drink not because we want to. It's a disease that has it's own itinerary. And no matter where you are, no matter what you do even while sober....the thinker is always broken. The stinkin thinkin.... always a part of my life. Whether I drink or not. It just gets worse when I drink. The steps I take are not how not pick up a drink. Um I know those already. The steps I'm going to take are those that concern themselves with how to heal. How to best treat my depression, my anxiety, my PTSD. How do I get from this misery to a place of peace. And you can bet when I arrive at that place I will want to celebrate with a drink because my thinker is broken... I applaud you in your beliefs and will only say that what you've done in achieving sobriety is certainly nothing to shrug off. Much luck for a future without drinking.

excellent, your doing wonderful today. One day at a time sometimes even a minute of time. Accept who you are and embrace sobriety each day you live.
Always here at your side

Thank you keeva