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.

Today’s Miracle:

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 🙂

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Posted on February 2, 2015, in Monday Meeting Miracles, Recovery and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. ” getting sober is the polar opposite of instant gratification, something we alcoholics tend to enjoy” Well, I need that reminder very often. We are so used to altering our moods on the fly that we forget how to feel them after a while. I became dependant on alcohol to not only not feel feeling, but to actually feel them. Strange eh?

    You are carrying the message with force and beauty, Josie. You are doing the deal as it should be done. You are giving hope to the newcomer in the rooms (and out here) and you are showing others that this works (if you work it…sing it with me…lol). You are definitely one of my recovery heroes, Josie, and I am not just saying that.

    Thanks for sharing this:)

    Paul

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  2. Your husband is a lucky man. And he sounds like a keeper.

    Those first few months of sobriety are insane. As happy as I felt almost immediately to finally be honest about my struggles, dealing with life un numbed was horrible.

    Finding yoga at that time was a lifesaver for me. I. Not sure if I could have found a way to live with my thoughts otherwise.

    I often wish I could have bottled my feelings so that I could show others (or myself) that just because a change feels scary, it can turn out well. But I suppose it is living through that fear that makes us appreciate life after.

    Anne

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    • It would be awesome to bottle the feelings of active addiction, early recovery, and more settled recovery, so we could always remember for ourselves, and so we could show others. That was more or less the message I was trying to impart to the newcomer yesterday. I certainly hope she sticks around to find out for herself.

      And yes, I suppose I’m going to hang on to my husband for a little while, although the current issue is his lording over me his mad Words With Friends skills. I am the blogger, yet he kicks my you-know-what every time!

      I really, really want to try yoga every time you and I communicate. But first, I need to get over the hump of meditation. Sitting still mindfully is difficult enough, trying to incorporate stretching with my out of shape body would send me over the cliff 🙂 I’ll get there though… someday…

      Thanks for the comment, Anne!

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      • I found the stretching part made meditation easier. Although I just love andy’s voice on the headspace app and I meditated a lot in 2013 hoping I could meditate away my compulsive drinking and moderate.

        Alas, mindfulness is probably the exact opposite of boozing so my plans didn’t quite work out. Or perhaps they did. It just took a year for me to realize it. Hmmm

        Liked by 1 person

  3. What a blessing you must have been to the new person. I can’t even imagine how overwhelmed she must feel. Another miracle in this story? That she found you on that/this day. xo

    PS: Can you send your kids my direction? This house could use a good cleaning!

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  4. Another great post and that graphic is really interesting! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Your post made me smile describing how becoming sober is the polar opposite of our alcoholic nature and tendencies. While I am in a better place mentally and am sober, it’s going to take years for me to fully clear the wreckage of my drinking life. It’s slow and sometimes tedious but so worth it! Congrats on three years! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, years is right. I am just now starting to deal with some of the most basic issues in my life, and it’s been 3 years. The great news, though, is that with each passing day the issues become clearer, and with that clarity comes the confidence to resolve them. I am really hoping 2015 is my year to break through some stuff, and of course I will be keeping you posted. Thanks so much for the comment, and the well wishes, and I am praying that you are adjusting well these days 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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