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Friday, June 10, 2011

When The Rain Comes

Days like these...long, confusing days where no piece of the puzzle of life seems to fit. Days that no matter how hard one tries to make things work everything you try spins out of control. I have experienced a lot of days like that as I tried to find a way to live my life with out avoiding responsibility for my actions, without taking a drink "just because", with out focusing on "what other people DID TO ME" and instead focus on what I can do to change MY behavior.

This "changing your whole way of living" stuff was for the freaking birds...I drank to cope, I drank to avoid, I drank to entertain, I drank to relieve boredom, I just drank and drank and drank...for no other reason then I just did it. was my EVERYTHING and I suppose I could even go so far as to say it was my god. I worshiped that god daily, I paid more attention to alcohol: getting it, drinking it, storing it, not running out of it EVER (an alcoholics WORST nightmare, running OUT!!)...I think you get the drift here.

How do you replace something that was the focal point of your entire life? I did not agree to do ANYTHING without first thinking (quite automatically) about how it would impact my ability to drink. Going out to eat? They had to serve booze, plus we had to go early so we could get home early so I could DRINK. Go to my sons State Playoff High School Football game in Three Rivers, MI the day before a Purdue game in Lafayette, IN? We had to leave while the game was still going on (and in doubt, they lost in the last few minutes in a heart breaker) so we could get to the motel in Lafayette in time to drink (back then we gained an hour too, they weren't on Day Light Savings Time in Indiana back then). Go to a Movie? Had to be a I could get home and drink. I wouldn't go to functions with friends where there wasn't booze...Do you see it? See the pattern of obsession, the control? I lived that way for decades. It's no wonder my marriage ended...I had a mistress named Ms. Vodka, Miss Gin, Paulina Pale Ale or Victoria Coors Light! I was more interested in my being able to drink then the people in my life. I took those people for granted, I nurtured my relationship with booze...

So that was the void that had to be filled when I quit drinking. It wasn't as simple as just saying: " I won't drink anymore, ever again". I had to learn how a person DID THAT. Five years later I'm still learning.

So when I say that I had to change my entire way of life, this is the kind of life I am reffering to! That is why it takes a complete commitment, an "All In" attitude all the time. Half-measures will not work in this kind of situation. See why I felt lost? This is why I could simply not envision life with out alcohol or the drugs. I didn't know what to do in life without drinking...I didn't know how. Really, I didn't know what a person did with themselves when booze was not the single most important thing in their life.

I was left out in the rain without an umbrella...thankfully that is where meeting up with fellow alcoholic/addicts becomes so critical. They showed me how to live again...for the very first time. They gave me suggestions that would help me and change my life forever.

They taught me that I had to admit and accept the fact that I was powerless on my own to do anything about my alcoholism. That only a higher power could save me now. That it was critical that I believed that and that I needed to turn my will and my life over to God, as I understood him. I spoke a bit about that in last night's post: I Die Daily.

After doing those things it became necessary that I start to clean up the emotional, physical and psychological wreckage of my past. My friends suggested I list out all my resentments, fears, anger, etc that was feeding the fire that was consuming me from within, keeping me locked into resentment and clear that away by sharing that with a trusted friend and God of course. Those character defects that were identified on that list played a huge role in my alcoholism and I had to believe that God could help me with those. Then I asked him to help me over come those things that hurt me and others.

It was then time to make amends to those I hurt. This wasn't and isn't easy but it is a critical part of my recovery. I also must daily revisit my day and check, evaluate my behavior and if I'm running amuck, stop it and make it right.

It was at this point in my recovery when I went from just believing in a generic god to believing in GOD. I had to work daily on maintaining and growing that relationship with the Creator...

And lastly, my friends in recovery stressed the critical importance of "giving away what I have". In other words working with those who are still trying to get sober and really need a friend. Just like those friends of mine that helped me negotiate the way through that chaotic minefield in the early days of my recovery, I could now help others do that very same thing. And that my friends, is a very simplified description of how I changed from living a life of active alcoholism to living a life in recovery. It wasn't and still isn't easy, it takes hard work but it has been so worth it!

I discovered that I really did need people in my life. That living an isolated, self-oriented existence like I had been for all those years would ultimately lead to my demise. That is the reason that relationships are so important to me today.

When I started to write that blog post last night, I Die Daily...I did not really sit down to capture an historical timeline and detailed description of the transition from my active alcoholism to the life of recovery that I have today. But surprise, suprise...that is exactly what we have have...coincidence? Not A Chance!