Well, per usual, I’ve sat on composing this post. I know exactly what I want to write about but I simply wasn’t in the mood to sit down and write the damn thing.
To be totally honest, I wasn’t in the mood to do anything because I was still stuck in the pits of depression and had zero motivation. It takes a month (in my case, a little longer) for anti-depressants to start working. I remember when my last Rx kicked in. We had 2 bookcases in our play room needing to be assembled and I decided to build them both myself. I remember thinking “how am I doing this right now?”
I also noticed the change when I was outside with my daughters and was surprised at how chatty I was being with the neighbors. That’s how I knew the meds were working. I’m a people person and I love to talk but when I’m depressed, I don’t feel like being chummy with people. I just want to be invisible. I avoid eye contact, I ignore texts, I cancel or reschedule plans, etc.
Basically, I think my life sucks, therefore, I downright suck as a person.
Much like the person I was when I drank.
Today is Thursday, May 16th and I’m happy to report 2 things:
On March 30th, I achieved 7 solid years of no alcohol entering my bloodstream.
My new antidepressant kicked in a few weeks ago and I no longer feel like shit.
Those 2 things alone are worth sharing and celebrating but that’s not all.
Remember in my last post when I said I had stuff to talk about but I didn’t want to? And admitted that it WAS about the weed?
Well, truth be told, I became a stoner and I no longer want to be a stoner anymore.
There, I said it.
When the depression bitch slapped me into the pits of self-loathing, my MJ use escalated and my tolerance got super high. It had stopped working for me the way it used to and that did not sit well with me.
So I quit.
That’s right, I did.
I accepted a 30 day challenge with a friend and today is day 25.
Out of these past 25 days, there were 5 days where I had the strong desire to “take the edge off” when my kids were pushing me past my limits.
And I didn’t.
You guys, that blows my f’ing mind! Even when I was in the throws of my PMS that should have me locked up in a padded room away from all other humans, I didn’t want to smoke. “How could this be?” I wondered. I was dumbfounded but I guess that was God doing for me what I could not do for myself…AGAIN!
Does this mean I’ve been raising my hand as a newcomer in meetings and have changed my sobriety date? The answer to that is a definitive NO and here’s why:
Tradition 3 of Alcoholics Anonymous states “The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop drinking.” I haven’t drank in 7 years, 1 month and 16 days. While I did not have the desire to quit drinking when I first came in, by the grace of God, I DO have the desire to never drink again. That’s why I keep going to meetings. I’m not changing my date. Period.
I don’t have the desire to quit smoking pot for good. Not yet anyway. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll choose not to smoke after this 30 days is up…or maybe I’ll keep going until I feel like it again. Or maybe I’ll smoke myself into an oblivion on day 31 and realize that I’ve been kidding myself this entire time and decide to raise my hand and change my date. Honestly, I don’t know.
I don’t have to know.
All I know is, I needed to hit the reset button and I don’t feel like smoking today.
**It’s been exactly one month since my last post. I started this one a few weeks ago and I’ve been stuck. I have a LOT to write about but I have been putting it off. My character defects have basically been running the show and to be frank, I’m fucking sick of it. I’m sick of my perfectionism telling me this blog has to be written and read a certain way and my ego & pride standing in my way of unloading more shit that I don’t want to talk about. So here I am, with more baggage to unpack. You ready? Cuz I’m not. But here we go.**
Relief (past and present): Laughter is the best medicine.
I haven’t been laughing as much lately. The fam and I did get into a HUGE tickle fight the other day…actually, 2 on two separate days…and those laughs were cheek burners, I tell ya. That was fun. But other than that, eh…well…I just haven’t been in the laughing mood. Sure, I can muster a good chuckle here and there but my laugh, well, it’s never been like it was when I was pregnant with A2. I can’t remember if I had the same laugh with A1 but with A2, oh my gosh, it was so annoyingly awesome.
For me, one of the best feelings is right after a long, hearty, from the gut, tear producing laugh. Laughter like this makes me yawn and I feel a sense of calm and contentment after. Sometimes I enjoy the laugh and feelings it produces so much, I’ll relive the moment by telling the story or watching whatever it was that was funny over and over just so I can “feel the feels” again and again.
Just like when I drank.
I love laughing so much, I’m attracted to people who have big, breathy laughs. Or a cackle. Ohhhh how I love me a good cackle. If you make me laugh that way or you laugh at something I say that way, you will instantly be my homey.
Just like people who drank like me.
Laughter, it helps a hurting soul. It brings people together. It brings pockets of joy in difficult times. It lightens “the mood” in uncomfortable situations.
Just like the drink.
Until it doesn’t anymore.
At the end of my drinking, it did not feel good anymore and it really wasn’t fun. The only relief I got from it was when I drank to “cure” a hangover or calm my depression and anxiety that I didn’t know I had; which of course, only resulted in more depression and anxiety.
Speaking of anxiety, I am having some RIGHT NOW. My heart is pounding relatively quickly as I am writing this? Why? Ugh. Know what…pause…
Goes downstairs, debates for a hot second whether to smoke a bowl or not, proceeds to move forward with it, says a prayer, has another internal dialogue, and ponders continuing to write or not. Answer? Go and try.
Here I am, at my desk, in my closet, where I have been telling myself I will be every night for the past month, not doing so and blaming the weed for making me unmotivated.
I still think it is. But I know why I haven’t written and it’s not JUST that. There are 2 other reasons:
I have finally come to accept that I am very prone to depression. It hits me like a ton of bricks and I’m NOT the best person to be around. Going off Wellburtin was the right decision but going against doctors orders and just cutting cold turkey was just fucking stupid. That was very rebellious of me. I knew better and I did it anyway. I did start a new medication today though, so I am hopeful there.
I have changed so much since I started this blog and the trajectory of it has changed even more drastically. I have foreseen how it will evolve further and I know it’s God’s plan but I’m not ready to go there yet. Yet, I am, because I feel like writing about it is the only way I will be able to follow through. But the 5 year old me is standing here stomping my foot on the ground: but I don’t wanna! Wah wah!
**Disclaimer: First of all, this post is SUPER long. SNS. Second, I know I said I didn’t care to talk about my MJ use “for now anyway” but I take that back. This post was next in my saved drafts and I need to post it in order to move on. Third, I also know I said F it when it came to sharing the rest of the “what happened” but I take that back as well. Too many noteworthy things occurred to go unmentioned. Lastly, I had yet to share that 1 of my New Year resolutions was to not go so long between posts and publish one every 3 days. But that didn’t happen either. Mother Nature rendered me useless. Thank goodness I hadn’t tossed my flower like I said I would. WHAT?! You read that right. Read on.**
Returned: “You gotta give it away to keep it.” – AA idiom
A while back in 2018, I handed my tokens over to the secretary of my former home group. She was present at that home meeting where I had “confessed” my dark little secret prematurely and I wasn’t sure what she was going to think or say. This chick scared the wits out of me.
“What if she thinks I’m leaving AA?”
“What if she thinks I’m wanting to be a newcomer again?”
(I wasn’t. I never will.)
“Is she going to ask me why I’m turning them in? Is she going to say anything to me about my little secret? What will I say?”
Per usual, the worrying dialogue inside my head was for nothing. I walked up to her, handed her my little bag of tokens and she said “donating tokens? thank you!” And that was that. It was very anticlimactic.
As it should have been and it felt good.
You may be wondering “why the paraphernalia?” Well, when I originally took this picture, I meant to use it another way but something inside held me back. So I didn’t. But now I am.
The joint represents the first puff I took on July 4th, 2013, just 3 months after I took my 1 year token for complete abstinence. The pen represents where I was in my recovery 4 years later – using the MJ recreationally and no longer taking tokens.
“I sacrificed my entire body for 18 months growing these little humans and if you add the 3 months of maternity leave for both, you’ve got 24 months.”
That’s 2 years, people. I earned those two 1 year tokens and I don’t care if I WAS pregnant and nursing. I still could have drank and I didn’t. So until someone asks me to give them a year token, or I run into my friend you will read about shortly, they’re mine and I have zero guilt keeping them.
The other 3 were dedicated to my mom, dad and sister in Part 6. I kept them because they represent my recovery today: I go to meetings not because I’m scared I’ll drink if I don’t.
I go for my serenity.
I go for peace.
I go to be of service.
However, today, I now have 4 tokens left. Why?
“Each day, somewhere in the world, recovery begins when one alcoholic talks with another alcoholic, sharing experience, strength and hope.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, Forward to the Third Edition, page xxii.
I have a friend I met in the neighborhood shopping center down the road where he hung out day in and day out with nowhere to call home. He once asked me for $4 so he could “get to the doctor to get his pain meds for his knee” which is code for “buy my medicine for my addiction.” I said no and offered him Advil instead. He respectfully declind and I bid him farewell. Then one day, he disappeared.
He no longer was greeting me with a wave and smile every time I drove in to the shopping center. I asked around and found out he had been found face down in a ditch, barely alive. I was thrilled to know he was alive and figured I’d never see him again.
Months later, he returned.
Some months passed and we had more encounters with full on conversations and he was sober for all of them.
So I gave him a Big Book and a token. The man earned it and I SO wanted him to keep it.
No I never shared my BBS with my friend here. I speak freely about it here and in the right social environments but I don’t promote or talk about it in the rooms of AA. But I’m glad I did that third and final time because had I not, I wouldn’t have my amazing sponsor who I KNOW God hand-picked just for me; and He hand-picked me for her too!
When it comes to my MJ use, she fully supports whatever I do.
At the start of 2018, months before finding S3, I took a break until my belly button birthday. 12 days weed free. It was easy.
I did it again during the summer to support 2 of my birdies Bs 1&4 who wanted to quit. I made it 13 days. That wasn’t AS easy.
Let’s be honest, quitting anything enjoyable, good or bad for you, never REALLY is.
Fast forward to just a week ago and I was about to do the same thing: take a break. Not a “I’m only quitting for x amount of days” break. Just a simple “I’m quitting for now and I don’t know if/when I will smoke again” kind of break. Why?
Because I have things I want/need to do and I felt like it was holding me back. I was also still experiencing some extreme highs and lows, and varying degrees of irritability. But was THAT because of the MJ?
I discovered the answer to that is NO!
About a month ago, my teeth were hurting and I was convinced I had a mouth full of cavities and that my teeth were falling out. I went to the dentist only to find out that my teeth were NOT dying; I was consuming too much caffeine and clenching my jaw 24/7. I had a case of TMJ and needed to make some adjustments.
When I told B1 this, she told me the same thing happened to one of her friends and the reason? The anti-depressant Wellbutrin. The same Rx I had been on for a year. So I read the side effects for the first time and OH.MY.GOSH. I was suffering from many:
Rapid heart beat
Muscle or joint pain
I contacted my doctor and told her I wanted to get off it ASAP so she prescribed me a lower dose with instructions on how to taper off. Then I came up with my 2019 motto:
Getting Clean, Lean & Serene in 2019.
Since I’m a rebel, I picked up the Rx but didn’t start taking it. I quit cold turkey. Oh well. I feel amazing.
I said I would quit the MJ and I did that too…for 2.5 days. I felt amazing.
Then, my once a month 3 day headache arrived. I have an Rx for THAT too but I left it at work so I basically felt hungover off and on for 3 days.
When I was drinking, I couldn’t get anything done hungover. The same goes for these headaches, at all levels of intensity.
When I was hungover, like most seasoned alcoholics, I would “bite the hair” to try to ease my suffering, only to suffer even more OR lay in bed with a bowl to catch every last drop of bile my body needed to eject (sick!) Alcohol, it’s literally poison for me. It NEVER made me feel better.
But I wasn’t hungover, I was PMSing! I’ll be 39 on the 12th, this mama’s clock is tick tockin’ bitches and I swear, the older I get, the louder that clock ticks, the harder my head pounds and the meaner I can be. There’s no “hair of the dog to be bit” and I can’t lay in bed all day – I need SOMETHING to take the edge off!
So 2.5 days into 2019, I felt like ass and decided to partake of nature’s medicine. Then I went to sleep and woke up feeling AMAZING. MJ, it’s literally medicine for me. It helps me feel better.
AA does the same for me: it helps me feel better AND be a better person.
So does hanging with my sponsor (S3).
Or poloing with my sponsee (B7).
Or befriending new birdies.
Bs 7, 8 & 9, you know WTF you are.
Thanks for joining me on my recovery transformation journey and allowing me to be a part of yours. The fellowship of AA and recovery in general has been such a gift this past year. A total surprise and another miracle. I mean, this image right here basically captures my attitude about AA when I first started this blog just a little over a year ago:
But it’s a new year and things have changed and so has my motto:
P.S. Just a reminder, and not that you care, but our Elf Gidget returned in 2018 and I chronicled HER entire 2018 Christmas journey on the blog. If you can’t wait for my next post to read more of my musings, click on her page “Gidget the Elf” in the top menu for more. You may find it to be entertaining or you may find it to be really annoying. Read it or don’t read it; love it or hate it, it’s alllll good with me.
I will never forget the first time I yelled at A1. A2 was a newbie, less than 3 months old and A1 was 2 ½. Us 3 girls were home doing laundry up in the small hallway of our townhouse while H was at work. I was still using a gate at the top of the stairs, A1 was “running loose” and A2 was in the bouncer being the precious little angel baby that she was.
A1 was a jealous big sister and she wasted no time in showing me too. I had no idea WTF I was doing but was telling myself I did, so I assured H he could go back to work when A2 was just 8 days old.
H: Are you sure?
P: Totally. I got this.
But did I?
Yeaahhhh no I didn’t and that was just the beginning.
A1 was VERY affectionate towards A2 – in such a way that I was scared of her smothering her. Of course she wouldn’t, not in front of me anyway but what I’m trying to get at is this: I could NOT keep A1 OFF of A2.
So we’re in the hallway, I’m tired and hungry, A1 is running amok, getting in A2’s face every 5 seconds and I’m cursing myself for ever having children because now I have even MORE laundry. And then it happened.
I didn’t see it coming.
It came out of nowhere.
And it was loud.
Loud enough that I scared all 3 of us. I felt like shit IMMEDIATELY. I don’t recall feeling triggered to drink at that moment but I do know I went to a meeting that night. On the way, however, I stopped to bring a snack to share and was overcome with self-pity. Why?
Because the patrons in front and behind me in line were buying alcohol and I was not. I didn’t even REALLY want to drink but started to cry in line knowing that they got to drink and I couldn’t. It had now been 3+ years since my last drink and here I was sulking over being an alcoholic and wishing SO badly (and still thinking maybe) I wasn’t. Remember, I was a dry drunk and would remain that way for another year and 7 months.
What do you think would have happened that evening had I succumbed to my emotions and decided to drink; or any other time I found myself overcome with great sorrow over the fact that I was an alcoholic and couldn’t “take the edge off” like normal drinkers? I shudder at the thought.
I remember what I was like when I drank and I was atrocious. If you’re a new reader, you can read my “drunkalogue” in Skeletons Part 1 by visiting the My Story page.
Aside from drunk driving, did I tell you about the time I utilized a deadly weapon in a drunken stupor? This was, of course, before I quit drinking. I was hammered and out of my mind. I was CONVINCED H had taken my phone and hid it IN the couch. It didn’t matter what he said, I KNEW IT and the longer he denied it, the more volatile I got. Next thing I knew, I had a knife in my hand. Not a butter knife or a steak knife, a big ass, “I will cut you” knife. I took that thing and sliced open our couch only to find that he was telling the truth – my phone was not in the couch. No no no, turns out, it was in the bathroom and I’m pretty sure I hid it from myself.
That’s the shit alcohol makes me do.
I’m reckless, out of control and downright dangerous.
THAT’S why CPS would be knocking on my door if I was drinking today. There is seriously no telling what I would do in moments of anger but I know what I’m capable of and it’s terrifying to even fathom.
So when tempers run high in high stress, anxiety stricken moments with my girls, I don’t drink and smoke weed instead because MJ doesn’t have that effect on me. It aids in keeping me in check when my brain is in overdrive. It IS a tool in MY recovery toolbox and like I said, it’s not my only tool or the first one I pick up either.
But back then, it was and that’s just how my story goes.
When I first started this blog almost a year ago, I was hell-bent on changing AA and the minds of the recovery community surrounding MJ use. It’s funny, on my About page, I specifically state the following:
“What I do NOT welcome is negative feedback or pursuits to “change my mind” on the path I have chosen to take.”
Ha ha, that’s my alcoholic brain in full effect right there. Can we say hypocrite? I’m basically saying “I want everyone reading this to change THEIR minds but don’t want anyone to try to change MINE.”
While I still don’t want anyone to try to “change my mind,” I no longer want to change the minds of anyone else either. I am who I am and they are who they are. I do recovery one way and they do theirs another way. I’m no longer here to defend my right to smoke pot as a member of AA nor promote it within the rooms of AA.
That being said though, if someone says that I am NOT in recovery or addresses me in a condescending manner, then yeah, I’m going to defend myself. Because it’s that kind of judgmental, self-righteous thinking that made me leave my former home group and almost leave AA altogether.
So yeah – I’m an alcoholic, I don’t drink, I smoke pot and I’m a mom. Did you know that I wouldn’t even be a mother if I hadn’t quit drinking? It’s true (in my mind, anyway.)
Did you know that I had a miscarriage 9 months BEFORE I quit drinking? It’s true (very early but still, it was a loss.)
It was that miscarriage that sent my alcoholism into high gear. My excessive drinking jacked my reproductive system so badly I couldn’t get pregnant for another year. I wasn’t ready to be sober and I didn’t realize at the time but I really wasn’t ready to be a mom either. But, as always, God knew what had to happen. Less than a month after my final relapse, A1 was conceived.
6.5 years later and I now have 2 daughters – ages 5 (6 in January) and 3 ½. Being a mom of two young children is fucking hard; add work, domestic, social and family duties/commitments and life can feel like an utter shit show. And guess what, the alcohol industry capitalizes on that.
Have you heard about the “mommy wine culture?” Yes, no, maybe so? Well, it exists and women are blogging about that too. In fact, another writer posted about it today as well! What a co-inki-dink! Check it out HERE.
She and I aren’t the only ones talking about it either. Here’s another post talking about what’s wrong with the “mommy wine culture.” Click HERE.
Alcoholism is on the rise among women and if the last links I just provided aren’t convincing enough, THIS should really drive it home.
I said one of my main reasons for not drinking today is because I am a mom and it’s also a reason why I smoke weed. Counter-intuitive? Yes, and I’ll explain more in Part 3.
Reasoning (past and present): “Our sound reasoning failed to hold us in check.” (BB, pg 47.)
When it comes to marijuana use BEFORE getting sober, it’s been my observation that there are alcoholics who either: a) love marijuana and “fantasize” about smoking in sobriety or b) hate marijuana and more often than not, had only smoked when they were drunk…which…if I were them, I’d hate it too. Surely there ARE those that have never smoked as well but I personally have only met one.
Some time after I “claimed my seat” in my former home group, B3’s sponsor reached out to me. She said she had some questions and wanted to explore the possibility of sponsorship. In our conversation, she mentioned that she had never smoked pot before so she didn’t know what it was like and wondered what I got out of it. So, of course, I told her. She asked how often I smoked and of course, I told her. I spoke honestly, holding nothing back and I felt zero judgment. She didn’t end up becoming my sponsor but she still doesn’t judge me and if she does, she sure doesn’t show it. She is a gem of a woman and has helped MANY women get sober. B3’s sponsor, if you are reading this, you know WTF you are and I love you!
So, why do I smoke weed and what do I get out of it?
Well, for starters, as previously mentioned, my marijuana use was more of a harm reduction tool in the beginning. I was a bitter dry drunk who did NOT want to be done drinking forever and being in social environments where alcohol was present was a big trigger for me. Socially, pot allowed me to still feel “a part of”: they drank, I smoked. Sometimes the people that drank, also smoked, so I was not alone and that’s all I cared about – that I wasn’t alone. Had pot not been an option for me, I guarantee you I would have succumbed to the obsession and drank at one or more of these occasions. In fact, 2 years ago at 4+ years sober from alcohol, I came very close.
We were in New York for a wedding. At the reception, I barely knew anyone, my weed was in the hotel room, it was an open bar and the hubs had disappeared with his buddys. I can’t say that I was mad that he had left me alone, after all, he DID tell me where he was going. No, my high had long since worn off and I was mad that I didn’t bring my stash. So it wasn’t long after he was out of my sight that I thought “well? It’s gonna happen. I’m going to say fuck it and drink.” It was decided. The bar was screaming my name. But I just couldn’t do it. I knew I’d regret it immediately. Or worse, the phenomenon of craving would instantly kick in and more “unthinkables” would occur. Neither outcome was one I wanted to experience and I can tell you right now, it would more than likely have been the latter.
Today, I don’t care if I’m the only one in the room not drinking. And I don’t have to be getting high in the those environments to have fun or feel “a part of.” Do I still do it? When the occasion calls for it, you bet your sweet ass I do, discreetly or not.
I did use it for recreation as well. H got to unwind with some beer and I had my, what B6 refers to as, “leafy greens.” I should also briefly mention another medicinal purpose it served for a new mother whose baby literally sucked the libido right out of her whilst breastfeeding. MJ served as an aphrodisiac, straight up. Mama Pixie had “gotten her groove back!” It was a win-win for all!
It remains ONE of my tools and aids in other areas today:
Being a mom
I drank for all the same reasons above, except for one of them: being a mom.
At the end of my drinking, I drank for only one reason: I wasn’t a mom.
I don’t drink today for a lot of reasons but there’s one MAIN reason: now, I AM a mom…
…of 2 girls…
…and they are watching me.
If I was drinking today, wanna know who else would be watching me?
Relaxed (past) – “Don’t quit before the miracle happens.” – phrase used in AA.
I distinctly remember the first time I decided I wasn’t going to go to meetings for a while and didn’t know if I was going to come back after I gave birth.. I was VERY pregnant, sitting in a meeting with my legs spread wide open and a human being beating the shit out of my insides. I was done. I was done being pregnant and I was done with AA.
My meeting attendance in early recovery was relatively consistent due to the fact that I needed signatures. After A2 was born, I went on my terms. I was now 3+ years without a drink and back to my recreational usage of MJ. I still harbored the same resentments towards AA and remained one foot in, one foot out. I simply wasn’t ready to work on myself because I didn’t think I had to.
I was self-will run riot and unwilling to accept what I couldn’t change (people, places and things) or have the courage to change what I could (myself!) and God wasn’t having it. My relaxed recovery was about to get an overhaul and I had no idea it was going to look how it does today.
But God did and stuff had to happen first.
In August of 2017, I hit a wall that brought me to my knees, only this time, I wasn’t drinking. In the months that followed, I was living in a perpetual emotional hangover that gave me the desperation I needed to hand my will back over to God.
You wanna know what happened, don’t you? I know, I know, I would too. Fine, I’ll tell give you the condensed, vague version in the form of…that’s right…a list:
Certain aspects of my existence had become unmanageable.
I started to pray and meditate like my life depended on it…because it did.
I saw the need for change and decided it was officially time I defect from AA, announced it in a private recovery group on social media, and sought professional help for my outside issues that had nothing to do with drinking.
Considered drinking AT my issues a couple of times and went to a meeting right away instead.
One of those times was when I decided to tell a bunch of strangers my BBS and walked away with a glimmer of hope for my place in AA.
Confessed to women I DID know in a house meeting and walked away with even more hope; enough to compel me to seek out a temporary sponsor while I “figured it out.” The woman I asked said yes under conditions I wasn’t willing to adhere to.
Attended meetings off and on, getting more and more annoyed at the “all or nothing” mentality, suggesting that people in recovery are not really sober if they are using marijuana – medicinally or recreationally – and that they would need to start their date over if/when they decided to quit.
Started this blog and was doing recovery without a sponsor or meetings, using all the tools I had learned in AA the past 6 years (as of March 30th, 2018) and was still in therapy.
Found a private FB community and support group for people who also use cannabis in recovery – recreationally and as a harm reduction tool.
Things happened that would not allow me to close the door on AA for good. For example, I found out that the maid of honor I talk about in Skeletons 1.9 had been reading my blog and that she’s ALSO in the program. Are you kidding me!? She instantaneously became Birdie #6. B6, you know WTF you are.
Was met with nothing but support when I told her about my BBS. That same day, B3 strongly encouraged me (again) to stop judging myself and come back to the rooms.
2 days later, after a long sabbatical from meetings, I got honest in my former home group and claimed my seat; offering to be of service in any way that I could and that I was praying for a sponsor.
Can you guess what happened next?
I’ll give you a hint…
P.S. Oh, yeah, I should probably mention what else happened these past 12 months: I smoked, vaped and ate cannabis products the entire time. I also cried…a lot!
**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.
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.
Revealed (past): It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. (BB, pg. 85)
I remember the first time I learned that smoking pot was a no no in the rooms of AA. I was sitting in a meeting watching a woman take a 1 year token after “smoking a little weed” when she had 11 years of sobriety. I distinctly remember a part of her share when she received the coin and it went SOMETHING like this:
“I really don’t want to be taking this token but my sponsor is making me.”
I thought it was ridiculous that a woman with long term sobriety would be “told” she had to start over. I still do and that’s why I kept my “marijuana maintenance” a secret for so long.
Revealing my chosen recovery path here isn’t the first time I have “outed myself.” I came clean to 3 friends a few years ago and their response was this:
“So? The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop drinking.”
I couldn’t believe my ears and was really happy they were so accepting. It was a game changer for me and I started going back to meetings. But not regularly. Even though no one else in the program knew, I still felt like an outcast and “not worthy” to be an active member of AA. Down deep, I really did want to be “a part of” but I was convinced I wouldn’t be accepted if I fully “got honest.” I felt like a fraud and it was killing me inside. I could NOT let go of the idea that I didn’t belong because I WAS doing it “my way” and if they knew, they’d shun me. Why?
I was IN self and entering the danger zone, distancing myself further and further from the program.
I’ve heard countless times that people who smoke weed in recovery end up leaving AA altogether and eventually turn to the drink when life gets really hard. And guess what…
…it did. I left AA and then shit got real. And guess what…
…the thought to drink DID occur to me a handful of times. But did I?