M(3), 2/2/15: The Perpetual Quest
Another Monday, another wrongly predicted snowstorm that has my children enjoying a 3-day weekend for no reason whatsoever. Arghhh.
Today’s reading came from the book Alcoholics Anonymous, a personal story entitled “The Perpetual Quest.” The introduction to the story sums it up better than I ever could:
This lawyer tried psychiatrists, biofeedback, relaxation exercises, and a host of other techniques to control her drinking. She finally found a solution, uniquely tailored, in the Twelves Steps.
–pg. 388, Alcoholics Anonymous
I selected it somewhat hurriedly, and realized I had never read this story. As I have attended hundreds of 12-step meetings, it is always astounding to come across something new in terms of the Big Book. Even more astounding, it was the first time anyone in the room had remembered reading it. The story is interesting, and the point of view was recognizable to each of us in the room, but today I want to write about an experience that occurred separate from the literature this morning.
Last week, as was chronicled in a guest post written by my husband, marked the 3 year anniversary of my sobriety. Side story: at one point during that day I remarked to my husband, “I have hit a bunch of milestones today (with respect to the blog).” His reply: “WE hit a bunch of milestones, hon.” His territorial nature notwithstanding, I continue to be humbled by his generosity, and his love. I am, as you can see for yourself, abundantly blessed in my marriage.
Back to today: while celebrating three years is an utterly wonderful experience, there has been a bittersweet feeling in both the days leading up to and the days following the milestone. As I consider that I have been sober 3 years, I can’t help but recall the tumultuous time in active addiction leading to my personal bottom, and the 7 weeks that followed day one, weeks I will count among the most troubling in my life.
Because getting sober is the polar opposite of instant gratification, something we alcoholics tend to enjoy. You choose sobriety, and then you must deal with the chaos that is your emotional state, your circumstances, really your life, and you have to do it without the long-enjoyed crutch of a mind-altering substance. What was once troubling becomes unbearable. And so it goes, day in and day out, with no real end in sight.
Obviously, I am writing this as I am three years sober, so there is a happy ending to this tale of woe. But the trick is having the courage and the strength to stick it out until the miracle around the corner arrives for you.
We had a newcomer this morning. She hesitated before she raised her hand, and when she did, a lot came out. She forced herself to “do the right thing” and attend this morning’s meeting, but it’s the last place she wants to be. She hates every part of it, resents that she has to sit here at all. She will not drink, just for today (words laced heavily with sarcasm), but she has no belief that things are ever going to get better, and that what we all say to her will work for her personally. The only reason she sits here at all is that she has tried every means possible to do it on her own, and she just can’t do it, so she will hold on for another day.
The first thing that occurred to me, as I listened, was how much she sounded like the author of this morning’s story before she found sobriety. The second thing that occurred was how much she described my early days of sobriety. As she spoke, I recalled, three years ago right around this very date, screaming to my mother in frustration, “And I’m supposed to stay sober even with all this shit going on!?!”
The happy ending to this story was being able to sit down with the newcomer and give personal empathy to her situation, and, hopefully, a little bit of hope that things will get better.
The happier ending to this story was a reminder of how far I’ve come. My three-year anniversary feels just a bit more powerful after the meeting.
Coming home from the meeting to find that my children cleaned in my absence. Now I’m not quite as angry at that stupid school district 🙂
Posted on February 2, 2015, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged 12 step, 12 step program, AA, Addiction, Alcoholics Anonymous, Big Book, fellowship, God, Higher Power, Meeting, Miracle, Monday, Recovery, Sobriety, Twelve-Step Program. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.