I had a moment yesterday.
I don’t know about anyone else, but the challenge for me in writing this blog is finding the balance between honesty and scaring the crap out of people. For the addicts and alcoholics reading this blog, I would give every salacious detail in my struggles with anything addictive, except for the fact that I have many non-addict readers, and I am afraid they would go running for the hills if they knew every thought in my head on any given day. So I do the best I can to share, if not every specific detail, at least the raw emotions that accompany the details.
Back to yesterday. I am currently 15 months and 4 days sober, and I can honestly say that yesterday was the first real and true experience with temptation. It lasted, in real-time, about 10 seconds. But those 10 seconds stayed with me for the rest of yesterday, and it was not pretty.
Again, with respect to the general population, it went something like this… “wouldn’t it be nice if…” followed quickly by, “are you fucking nuts?!?” Really, that was the nuts and bolts of the incident itself… pondering the possibility, then discarding it. So the mental anguish I suffered had nothing to do with the 10-second incident. Rather, I was beside myself (and I mean it, really, really upset) that I considered it at all.
So what happened next? Well, in the moments directly following, I was in the company of people, so I plowed through those interactions as best I could, trying as much as possible to stay present. Afterwards, I had someone at my house, and again, gave it my best shot to listen to her life struggles. In retrospect, I believe I did a decent job being there for her. I considered breaking down and sharing my mental anguish with her, but I did not, for two reasons:
a. she is going through something herself, and
b. she is not an alcoholic/addict, and I was afraid she would not understand.
After about an hour, I finally said to her, “I’m sorry to do this, but I need to get to a meeting” (and never have I meant those words more than I did yesterday). So etiquette be damned, get out of my house, because I’ve got to deal with these feelings.
Off I went, and at the first opportunity, I shared my story (all details included for that audience). I did this because it is what I’ve been taught to do in AA… you have a thought about drinking/using, you get it out of your head immediately, if not sooner, and that is how you get rid of the feeling. The real struggle for me yesterday was the absolute and complete disappointment I felt in myself… why, why why, would I ever entertain that thought, even if it was for 10 seconds? So I cried, and I shared (and to make the humiliation complete… I was the only woman at a meeting full of men).
Here’s how it helped. First, absolutely no judgment… I shared a humiliating, painful truth, and all I got back was compassion and understanding. That alone would have been enough, but there was so much more. Next, every person in the meeting was able to share a similar story, and each ended with something along these lines: “Wow, what a concept, you are an alcoholic and you thought of taking a drink? DUH! Of course you did, it would have been stranger if you did not, that is why you are an alcoholic!” It’s like the V-8 commercial, I almost did hit myself in the head after listening to these men speak to me. Some of their stories had me laughing by the end of it, and what kind of a miracle is that… to go from crying to laughing within an hour’s time?
But the best gift I received from this meeting: the chairperson said to me, “Are you giving yourself credit for actually coming to a meeting and sharing about it?” And it hit me… this is the honest-to-God first time I ever did that… resisted a temptation and shared about the raw feelings that accompany it, in the present. I am doing what I have been taught, and it is working, because I really felt better when I left the meeting. So much so that I went back to the person whom I kicked out of the house, apologized, and shared the entire experience with her. My fear that she would judge me was completely unfounded… she told me she has an even deeper respect for me because I shared this painful truth. The miracles just keep on coming!
Today’s miracle is the gratitude I have for being 15 months and 4 days sober.
Posted on May 1, 2013, in Recovery and tagged Addiction, Alcoholic Anonymous, Alcoholism, God, Health, Honest to God, Recovery, self-development, Sobriety, Substance Abuse, Temptation. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.