M(3), 2/10: Remembering Your Last Drunk
Despite yet another bout of snow (for those keeping score… yes, my school district did decide we needed a two-hour delay), we had a great turnout for the Monday meeting. The literature for week two in the monthly rotation is Living Sober. Having been reading/watching about the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, I chose two chapters to read: “Remembering Your Last Drunk,” and “Staying away from the first drink.” The discussion was lively enough with the first chapter that we never got to the second one; I couldn’t ask for anything more in terms of sharing!
The point of this chapter is simple, but critical: it is crucial for anyone choosing recovery to keep fresh in their minds the negative feelings, circumstances, and, most important, consequences of the last episode of mind-altering ingestion that brought him or her to the conclusion that sobriety is necessary. The authors of the book choose the words “last drunk,” rather than “last drink,” deliberately. A “drink” connotes, for most of us, happy memories, celebration, joy. Drunk, however, brings more realistic, and more graphic, images to mind: erratic behavior, harsh words that we couldn’t be paid to say to another while sober, life-altering decisions we wouldn’t dream of making while not under the influence. Most important, at least for this alcoholic/addict, “last drunk” brings to mind the vicious, hopeless, cycle that was my life while in active addiction. The antidote is so simple, it’s almost laughable, and it’s the name of the second chapter we did not get to read this morning: “Staying away from the first drink.”
I mentioned Philip Seymour Hoffman as the reason for selecting this chapter, because I have drawn the conclusion that he must have forgotten his last drunk, as has anyone who picks up a drink or drug after significant time in recovery. How can this be? How could someone forget something as critical as this? Sadly, it is all too easy to do. It’s just how life works: we clean up our acts, remove the addictive substance from our lives, life gets better, and it becomes far too easy to lose the intense feeling of our need for sobriety. The memories of how bad it was become hazy as time passes. Life comes at you, as life does, and the overwhelming solution presented by society is to take a break from reality, cut loose. Life coming at you can be catastrophic, or it can be celebratory, the societal solution is the same: have a drink, kick back, relax!
When that solution is so omnipresent, and the memories of the negative consequences of addiction are so fuzzy, it is not difficult to see where someone, even someone with significant sobriety, can get off track. And for those of us that call ourselves addicts, it is, without a doubt, a huge gamble. From all accounts, Mr. Hoffman lost his sobriety date sometime in 2012, by 2014 he no longer has the opportunity to regain his seat in a 12-step meeting.
For the record, my last “drunk” was monumental in its mundane-ness: I did that day what I had done almost every day for the 8 months that preceded it (the worst of my active addiction). What’s monumental about it would impress only me. First, I had the realization, so strong I actually said it out loud to myself: “there is absolutely no part about this that is fun anymore.” I had never drawn that conclusion before that day. Second, the aftermath of my “bottom:” husband confronting me, resulting consequences, dealing with family and friends, cement for me every second of that last drunk in a way I hope I never forget.
Because, like Mr. Hoffman, I don’t know if I will ever have the chance to reclaim my seat, so I choose not to vacate it today.
I am grateful that I still have my seat in my 12-step program, and that I choose to keep it.
Posted on February 10, 2014, in Monday Meeting Miracles and tagged 12 step, 12 step program, 12 steps, AA, Addiction, Alcohol, Alcoholic Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholism, Clean and Sober, Dr. Seuss quotes, fellowship, God, Higher Power, Meeting, Miracle, Monday, one day at a time, Recovery, Sobriety, Substance Abuse, Support group, Support Groups, Thought, Twelve Step, Twelve-Step Program. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.