M(3), 1/6: Phenomenon of Craving

But what if I’m craving it all!?!

First meeting of the new year!

Because it is the first Monday of the month, we read from the book Alcoholics Anonymous, and in the immortal words of Maria Von Trapp, “let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start!”  And so we read “The Doctor’s Opinion,” in which Dr. Silkworth gives his seal of approval to the fledgling organization called AA.  A tremendous risk for a medical doctor to do in the 1930’s; the fellowship owes a debt of gratitude to him.

The part of the reading that stood out to me this morning is as follows:

Men and women drink essentially because they like the effect produced by alcohol.  The sensation is so elusive that, while they admit it is injurious, they cannot after a time differentiate the true from the false.  To them, their alcoholic life seems the only normal one.  They are restless, irritable and discontented, unless they can again experience the sense of ease and comfort which comes at once by taking a few drinks – drinks they see others taking with impunity.  After they have succumbed to the desire again, as so many do, and the phenomenon of craving develops, they pass through the well-known stages of a spree, emerging remorseful, with a firm resolution not to drink again.  This is repeated over and over, and unless this person can experience an entire psychic change there is very little hope of his recovery.

pp xxviii-xxix, Alcoholics Anonymous

There are many reasons why I, as a woman in recovery from addiction, choose to remain sober, and on any given day the priority of those reasons may change.  On this particular day, the number one reason I choose to remain sober is my fear of the “phenomenon of craving.”  What would happen if I were to have one glass of wine, take one pill?  Would I go immediately back down the rabbit hole of active addiction?  Would I have a moderate experience that would spiral me downwards slowly but surely?  Would it be a non-event and I find that I don’t want to continue?  I don’t know what would happen, and more importantly, I have a healthy fear of the potential outcome, so I choose not to test those waters.

Two days ago I was heading downstairs for my first cup of coffee.  As I descended the stairs, I admired the handiwork of recent vacuuming.  I was so enchanted by their pristine condition that I lost my footing and fell down about 6 of them, winding up with my left leg up at the top, and the rest of me down at the bottom.  Ouch (and, needless to say, Kristen and Christy, I will be putting my “back to fitness” plans on a temporary hold!).  So the rest of the weekend was spent elevating, icing, and scheduling my Advil doses.  By this morning, I realized I would need to have this knee checked out.  So down to the doctor’s I will go.

There was a time in the not-too-distant past where this kind of calamity would have meant, in my addicted mind, a get out of jail free card.  I would have found ways to milk this injury to its greatest mind-altering extent, and would have felt completely justified in doing so.  Thanks to the clarity of sobriety and a new skill set developed through a program of recovery, I now know that there is no such thing as a get out of jail free card, and I am not willing to gamble with the phenomenon of craving.  So instead, I elevate and ice my knee, even when I am sick of doing so, and I remain grateful that I am able to overcome this obstacle and maintain my sobriety.

Today’s Miracle:

That I did not have to go to multiple Doctor’s offices, and no x-rays are necessary, is a miracle.  No tears, nothing broken, just time and patience are needed… God bless my husband and children!

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Posted on January 6, 2014, in Monday Meeting Miracles and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Ouch! So sorry for your fall. Aren’t you glad it didn’t occur as a result of too many glasses of vino! That would be emotionally painful as well! Love your blog and it’s new look!

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    • I just laughed out loud! I shared this story at my meeting, and every person that shared after me related an alcohol-related fall! And yes, I can imagine that feeling all too well, as it happened to me on more than one occasion!

      Thanks so much for the positive feedback, it means the world to me!

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  2. Sorry about your fall! Hope you are feeling better. Love the chart you posted. Definitely a good reference!

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  3. Oh, I am soo sorry about your fall! I hope it’s nothing seriouse and you heal quickly!
    I am so with you on the get out of jail free card! My mind would have been fantasizing a drunk fest for sure! And you know if this happened if you were drinking it would have been way worse. Omg. I was constantly finding some random injuries on myself. Ugh. You sure brought an almost forgotten memory bubble. I am so grateful that we are sober my friend! Now if the weather would just ease up with the damn cold… I swear I am ready for the beach.

    Oh btw. I love the chart at the top! I am such a info junkie! Lol! Must be my new addiction! Lol

    Sending hugs and get well wishes and stay warm 🙂

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    • Thanks, Maggie, even 24 hours later I am feeling improvement, so there is light at the end of this tunnel. And yes, it would have been way worse if I had been drinking, and I can state that unequivocally since I have had such accidents while drunk. Not pleasant memories, that’s for sure.

      And yes, I am totally over this winter, and I don’t even want to turn on the news anymore, I am so sick of hearing about it. Stupid polar vortex 🙂 This weekend it is supposed to let up, so at least there’s light at then end of that tunnel as well!

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  4. Yes, very sorry to hear of your fall, though can sympathize with being dazzled by the sight of a freshly vacuumed set of stairs. Pre-coffee is a dangerous time already. I’m glad your trip to the doctor’s was uneventful and positive for you. Sending healing thoughts your way.

    That chart is interesting. I’ve never seen it before. I am like you in that I pretty much crave it all, but if I ate everything on that chart instead of chocolate and empty starches, well, maybe I wouldn’t have the cravings. Slowly but surely this stuff is starting to sink in. Thanks for sharing it!

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  5. I’m loving the positive feedback on the chart, I was sort of being funny putting it up, because in my mind, if I feel like eating something sweet, I’m pretty sure I’m not choosing fish as an option. Now I need to go back and take a closer look at it.

    I really need those healing thoughts, because I am ready to get back to the couch to 5K thing (and, let’s face it, I will be starting at ground zero by the time I do get back to it). Let’s shoot for a spring race so I have a goal!

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  6. I have to say that I am not getting your posts in my Reader, so I apologize for seeing this now. Odd. Anyway, I am sorry to hear about your knee. Ugh. Yes, I can attest to admiring well cared for stairs. It reminds me of the line “At these steps we balked”!!! (Sorry, recovery humour)

    Anyway, starting with the Doc’s opinion is as good as it gets. I still get something out of it when I read it today. So much has gone on in medical knowledge of alcoholism, and yet Silkworth’s words are as true today as they were then. My favourite part (or one of) is the part about our lives being the only normal ones. I too felt like that. I couldn’t understand how people didn’t drink just to leave the house. Or to talk to others. Or hid the copious amounts of booze like I did. Or just fogged up by the ego of my mind, and the booze. Lying, cheating, stealing. how did others not do those things? That’s because i didn’t know the true from the false (another line). Oh what a wicked web we weave, Josie.

    Thank you for this reminder, and also for that chart – loved it too!!

    Hope you feel better.

    Blessings,
    Paul

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