Poor Me, Poor Me, Pour Me a Drink
Wednesday of this week marks my 18 months of sobriety. That's 1 year and 6 months. 78 weeks. 547 days. 13, 140 hours. Or 788,400 minutes. However you break it down...I am grateful for every single moment in recovery...good and bad. Why? Honestly, because it's a life a never thought possible. When I woke up on June 11, 2012 and decided I needed help...I was physically, mentally and spiritually empty. Today is quite the opposite.
People close to me often comment on how easy I make it look.
So, let me say this.
It's not always easy. Just like anyone...I have good days and I have bad days. No matter if you have 30 days of sobriety or 30 years, we are all just one drink away from being back to where we started...which was hitting bottom.
This disease. Alcoholism. My disease. It wants me to drink. In fact, it wants me dead. It uses any opportunity to sneak it's way in to my life. Addiction masks itself in people, places and things all the time. And to stay sober, I have to be aware of this. I must stay close to God, guard my thought, keep a grateful heart and make my recovery my #1 priority.
Anytime I start feeling sorry for myself and think it's a good idea to throw a pity party, I always think of something I hear over and over in the rooms of recovery...Poor me, poor me....pour me a drink.
Cheesy, right?! Well, it's true. That's what will happen if I let too much negativity in my life.
For years I thought I drank because of my circumstances. You know...if you had my problems, my life, my job, my family...you'd drink too. How did I not see that the circumstances I found myself in were because I drank. Why? Because I am an alcoholic and that was easier to believe as the truth than having to face reality. There was so much negativity in my life because I either caused it, attracted it or allowed it in.
Today, I have to keep my mind positive. And to keep my mind positive, I have to keep my life positive. And to keep my life positive, I have to keep the people, places and things around me positive.
Get where I am going with this?
What we have is a daily reprieve based upon the maintenance of our spiritual condition. ~Big Book p. 85
So, what does this mean? It means, to stay sober one day at a time, I have to keep in check with my Higher Power. I have to be right with God. I have to keep my head and my heart connected. And there are certain things I have to do to maintain this on a daily basis.
It means, I wake up each morning and I get on my knees and I pray. I thank God for keeping me sober the day before and I ask him to remove any obsession to drink for the day ahead of me. I ask for His will, not mine, to be done. I ask Him to place the right people in my life and to quickly remove the wrong ones. I ask Him to remove whatever character defects that seem to be popping up in my most recent days prior. I ask Him to let me be of service to others throughout my day. I go on to ask Him and thank Him for other things going on in my life. And I usually end with something a little light-hearted like...let's do this...or, you hear what I'm throwin' down, God? Good deal. And then I go about my day hoping for the best.
It means, I read several daily devotionals. And if I rush through them without really connecting my head to my heart with them...I read them again. And if I am in a rush and don't have time to sit down and read them, I read them on the apps on my phone sometime early in my day. And if I forget or rush out of the house without reading them all together, I am quickly reminded when the first negative thought of the day shows up. I can usually trace it back to not praying or not reading my devotionals. Not always...but for the most part.
On a perfect day...It means,
I exercise. I go to meetings. I talk with my sponsor. I talk to other alcoholics. I check my motives frequently. I pause. I pray. I let go of resentments. I accept things I have no control over and I change the things I do.I apologize. I forgive. I surround myself with positive people and distance myself from negative ones. I stay away from drama and try and be channel for peace. I strive to always do the next right thing. And to the best of my ability, I align my will with God's will.
And when I do all these things...there is a certain peace and contentment that is unparalleled to anything I've ever known or experienced. And when I am not at peace with myself, I can always look back over my day and see where I went wrong and try and do better tomorrow and pray for guidance in doing so.
I'm not claiming perfect adherence to this by any means. I make mistakes. I make a lot of mistakes. My character defects pop up daily. I sin. I cuss. I can be a bitch. And the list goes on.
The absence of alcohol alone doesn't make me a better person. Handing my life and my will over to the care of God has made me a better person. All the subsequent choices from this make me a better person. Striving to be the person God intended me to be makes me a better person. I mean, duh. Right. This isn't something I did once and checked off my list of things to do. It's something I have to do every single day.
Staying away from a drink is easy when I am doing the things I am supposed to...surrounding myself with positive people, places and things...keeping spiritually fit and connected to God. When making decisions, I ask myself it is going to bring me closer to God or further away from Him. Alcohol lends me a life that definitely keeps me far far away from God. So anyone, anywhere or anything that brings me closer to a drink, keeps me further away from God. It's really that simple in theory...a little more difficult when applied to my daily life. But when I am being honest with myself, really honest...I always know the right decision.
In the past 18 months there have been days...even weeks when I am not doing the things I am suppose...when I am lacking in the spiritual maintenance department. And those are the times it is hard. Those are the times I think about a drink. Those are the times that stupid thoughts will creep in my head and stick around...like it's a good idea to have a drink to just escape it all. But I don't want to escape life when I am close to God. I want to enjoy every single moment of it. I want to find gratitude in not only the good...but also the bad.
I know I have another "drunk" in me. And that scares me. As it should. It also keeps me on the right track. I don't want to be the person I know I am capable of being when I am drinking. There is no peace or contentment in that life. I heard someone say that Hell is the absence of God and I believe it. My life in active addiction to alcohol was a living hell.
But my life in recovery is a life I am proud of...a life that allows me to be of service to others. A life close to God. A life that lets me enjoy the simple pleasures and be present for them. A life that is driven by purpose. And for that, I am grateful. And I will go to any measure to keep it.