I have frequently been asked why I refer to powerlessness and insanity when talking about my addiction. Why I speak of things like letting go and surrendering. Those can be hard concepts to understand. I know...I had to nearly die before I became a believer in them. Let's talk about the insanity of alcoholism/addiction a minute, shall we....
Alcoholics/Addicts will pick up a drink/drug knowing full well that every time they do, bad stuff can and will happen. Every time I drank or drugged, I didn't get in trouble BUT every time I was in some kind of trouble it was related to drinking/drugging...EVERY TIME.
On New Years Eve 2005-2006 I went into a Salvation Army Detox Unit in downtown Grand Rapids, MI. I willingly put myself in there because I wanted to quit drinking and drugging, it was killing me. I went into detox for 5 days. The first 3 days I have almost no recollection at all of what happened to me. The next 2 days I only wish I didn't remember went went on there...it was awful, trust me just plain sick, hurtful, violent..awful.
On the 5th day I actually felt pretty good, I wasn't totally detoxed but it was the best I'd felt, like...in years physically. I was all set to get out and stay sober. I was happy I had gone in and I wasn't about to blow it by using dope or drinking again.
Just a few hours after I got home I had a QTR (2 8-Balls) of Cocaine and was drinking Vodka/Crans for the next 3 days...I didn't know what had hit me. That is what insanity is folks. I had just gotten out and after all that I took a drink...kaboom. I'd stay drunk again until I nearly died and eventually ended the madness by admitting that I was completely powerless over my addiction. I could do NOTHING on my own to control it. Everything that I had ever tried...FAILED.
I needed help, help from other people who had been where I was then and I needed DIVINE help. Only problem was I hated God...or the idea of God or the whole notion of religion. I think I believed that there was a Creator but I thought that he didn't believe in me so SCREW him!
I also hated Christians and all religious people. I thought they were SHEEP. They couldn't think for themselves and that they were weak. I also thought they were all hypocrites...
Me? My best "thinking for myself" damned near killed me...hell, all I wanted to do that last year was DIE. It was all I thought about. What kind of great independent life was that, HUH?! That was what my best thinking, my best planning got me...SUICIDE.
When I came to in the hospital I knew that I would have to find a way to live. I had absolutely no idea how I was going to do that...NONE. I really felt helpless at that moment and terribly alone. All I did know was I had to do something different. So when I got out of the hospital I began to stay sober, one day at a time. One day was all I could even comprehend, I wouldn't even consider a whole life with no booze.
I sought help from friends I had met who had been down the same road. I knew I needed divine help but I didn't believe in anything like a god or whatever.
So I just trusted my sober friends, as a collective group of people staying sober they certainly were more powerful then I, alone. I followed certain principles of life based on Selflessness, Service to Others, Humility and reliance on a power who was greater then I (At that time my group of friends mentioned above). And I prayed, just prayed to whoever, wherever they may be...to help me do the right things with my life. I felt like an idiot but I really didn't want to die so I did it...
I accepted that I was defeated by the booze/drugs, that my life was unmanageable but I would no longer try to quit on life...no, something out there kept me going, day after day after day. And I kept sober...and slowly things began to improve. I felt better, I started to get some good feelings about myself again. I did my best to focus on others and not just on myself all the time.
And I came to believe that God had been there with me all along. Now that coming to believe in God...it took over 4 years! As a matter of fact it was just short of 2 months ago that I first realized that I believed in God. Yep and I sort of lived out that experience out right here on this blog. You didn't even notice, did 'ya!?
OK, some of you did and told me so via email and encouraged me...I will always appreciate that. Trust me it is very difficult to explain to non-alcoholic/addicts how this all works...in a way you can't explain it...all you can do is tell folks that it does work. That's all there is to it folks...IT WORKS. I know because I'm sober/clean and I shouldn't be....because every instinct that I have screams for me to drink and use drugs. I should be dead.
That is my NORMAL. That is why the American Medical Association labeled Alcoholism officially a disease, just like Parkinson's or Cancer, way back in the 1950's. Because it had become obvious that some people were pre-disposed to that reaction to booze, once it had been introduced into their systems. Once an alcoholic puts alcohol in their system, they lose all ability to control their actions...that is proven fact. They cannot simply stop on their own, it's impossible.
I'm not sure that I believed that either when I first heard it and you know what...I couldn't fucking care less what they or anyone else thinks about it now. Because I know what I have to do to have LIFE today, so I do it to the best of my ability, ODAAT.
And that, my friends...is just one more piece of the puzzle, that is my life...
Photo: Randy Kruger