**Disclaimer: This is an unusual recovery blog. I am presently in the “what happened” portion of my story, which focuses primarily on my drinking and recovery in the past. Whether this is your first time here or you are a returning reader, I encourage you to visit my About page before reading further.**
Remorse (past) – Our friend is still victimized by remorse and guilt when he thinks of yesterday. (12 x 12, Step 3, pg. 39)
Like most problem drinkers and alcoholics, I did and said things I would never do sober. There were always consequences – big and small – but the ones that did the most damage were the guilt, shame and remorse. Why?
Because that was the cycle – drink, do or say things I would regret, wake up, feel bad for said things and then drink the bad feelings away.
The feeling of remorse was a constant. The longer I drank, the worse I got, the worse I felt, the more I drank. I was even remorseful for drinking when I DIDN’T do anything stupid. I knew I had crossed the line into full-blown alcoholism and made many vain attempts in getting my shit together. Chapter 3 of the BB offers a list of some of the methods people try in order to gain control of their drinking so they don’t have to quit for good. Here’s the list, what I tried and the result (over an approx 10 year period:)
- Drinking beer only – nope, didn’t drink beer unless it was the only thing available.
- Never drinking in the morning – yep, failed.
- Drinking only at home – nope, in fact, I far more enjoyed drinking socially even though I did most of it at home.
- Never drinking alone – yep, failed.
- Never drinking during business hours – yep, failed.
- Drinking only at parties – nope, refer to #3.
- Switching from scotch to brandy – literally speaking, nope. But I DID try using MJ to help me drink LESS and that DID work…for a little bit soooo, that’s a fail.
- Drinking only natural wines – nope, wine is wine and my drink of choice. I never discriminated.
- Agreeing to resign if ever drunk on the job – nope, I was never put in this position but should have been fired a gazillion times for how alcohol affected my job performance.
- Taking a trip or NOT taking a trip – nope, taking a trip meant uninhibited alcohol consumption and the only reason I wouldn’t take a trip is if I was told I couldn’t drink on it.
- Swearing off forever (with and without a solemn oath) – yep and yep, failed.
- Taking more physical exercise – yep, failed.
- Reading inspiration books – yep, failed.
- Going to health farms and sanitariums – kinda? I went to a holistic nutritionist at one point. I tried. But not hard enough. So, yeah, fail.
- Accepting voluntary commitment to asylums – yep and you can read about it in Skeletons 2.3 – My Reckonings.
The book says next “we could increase the list ad infinitum” and that is most definitely true for me. Here are a few (and very common) other methods I personally tried to manage my drinking:
- Limiting the number of drinks I would have in a social environment – “I’m only going to have X many drinks tonight.” More often than not, I failed.
- Only drinking on the weekends – always failed.
- “Personal detoxes” – Swear off alcohol for a determined or undetermined amount of time. I (almost) always succeeded, felt amazing, and slowly fell back into the same patterns once I started drinking again.
It was a deathly cycle that I simply couldn’t change on my own and I needed help but didn’t WANT to ask because I was for too prideful to admit defeat.
So God did for me what I couldn’t do for myself. A “concerned motorist” called me in, the cops were already looking for me. I ended up in handcuffs for the second time.
I felt total guilt. Terrible shame. Tremendous remorse. Remember what I did when I got home the next day? Yep, that wine from the night before was calling my name and I answered.
Today, I still feel remorse over things I do or say sober – I am human after all. I just don’t drink to run away from it anymore.