Monthly Archives: January 2012

Inner Harvest Reading-January 30: The answers may be simple, but they’re not always easy

“We pray for the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and wisdom to know the difference. Even when we know the difference, accepting and changing my not be easy to do.

There may be “givens” in our current situation that we don’t like but must live with. We may be faced with the serious illness of a family member. Or we may realize that it’s necessary to relocate to keep our job. We may need to change some things — to leave unfulfilling jobs or to arrange to spend more time with our family.

The answers to our problems may be simple–accept this, change that– but when it comes to implementing these answers, we may need help. That’s when we call on the inner strength we build each day during our times of prayer and meditation.”

‘Today, I will seek a renewed supply of serenity. courage, and wisdom.’

It is very easy to be afraid when truth starts to show itself. I know this meditation reading is from yesterday, but it is relevant to current issues right now, that started yesterday. Remember, I have a very ah-ha Higher Power, so never be surprised by irony in my life and the messages I receive.

I’ve written before about why I go to Alcoholics Anonymous. I always said I had a “drinking problem.” No fucking doubt, I am  substance abuser. But when the idea was raised that there is a chance I really am an alcoholic, something inside shut off. I cried and walked away in fear. I am not sure if I was comfortable announcing in AA meetings “I am an alcoholic and addict” because I was always substituting drugs, food and alcohol because of my drug-is a drug-is a drug theory. I knew I had a drinking problem, but I wasn’t an alcoholic.

I started reflecting on my time spent on drinking. While I was not a day in-day out drinker, the amount I consumed when I was drinking was heavy-duty. I could out drink almost everyone. I do believe that the only reason I was not drinking daily was because I had been in and out of the AA rooms for the past, at least, six months.

Had I not been in AA at all, ever, I am almost certain my drinking would escalate. But when I would drink, towards the end of my drinking and the beginning of my abstinence, I would drink so much I would black out. I’d finish off the bottle of vodka or finish drinking the beer, because the rule was, you can’t leave anything full.

I knew that as soon as I would have one drink, I was desperate to keep going. I would even engage in my bulimic behavior so I would not get sick from the alcohol and could keep drinking, deepening my drunken state. I felt guilt the next day. Blacking out was new to me… but this was only a couple of times a week, some times only a few times a month when I would “go off the wagon”. So, I couldn’t be an alcoholic, right? Of course, there were times I called out of work because I was still drunk when I woke up. But when I first came to AA, it was after being drunk into the next day. Some how, I found myself into the rooms of AA.

I honestly don’t know. I spent time talking to other young alcoholics and getting their feedback. My life had definitely become unmanageable, but I thought that was because of the eating disorder. Could I have been an alcoholic in training? A mini-holic? It is not a matter of me being an alcoholic. If someone was to say to me, “You are an alcoholic” I would accept it and okay, I’m an alcoholic. The withdraw from alcohol, okay: I had become depressed off and on (but that’s another issue as well), would have anxiety, guilt, cravings for specific alcoholic beverages. Cravings for being drunk. I didn’t want to drink for the flavor of a glass of wine, I wanted to drink so I wouldn’t have to stop.

But what about when it’s unclear and I don’t know? It’s hard to accept something I don’t understand. Obviously, I don’t want to drink. I have a previous drug problem. My technical terms, I am an addict. But for some reason, being eating disordered but in a different type of disorder territory due to the recovery process, not using drugs and being sober from alcohol… how could I have any of those problems? It’s this identity and life crisis. Part of me feels that if I am not technically an alcoholic, I am lying when I am in AA during the introductions. We don’t say, “Hi, my name is ___ and I am a substance abuser”. But then, if I am an alcoholic, I need the program. Hell, I need the program for many reasons. Just ready my post: “They said “Keep coming back”: My past 6 months in Alcoholics Anonymous and why I kept coming back.

I was so desperate for answers last night that I drove for an hour to make the last 30 minutes of an AA meeting. Needing those answers was a signal that I know something deep down. Another person said to me deep down inside, I probably know the answer but it’s hard to accept because accepting that I am an alcoholic and addict means numerous things, besides just abstinence and sobriety. Another said to me, “normal drinkers don’t question if they are alcoholic”. This whole process, going into AA was to stay sober to focus on recovery from an eating disorder. What I didn’t know was that I was going to learn through becoming sober and eating again that maybe I am an alcoholic.

Maybe I know the answer but it’s not an easy thing to accept so I keep trying to find reasons to not fit into the category of an alcoholic. If I am just a problem drinker or alcohol abuser, I can fix the problem and have control when I am older. I still don’t know the answer 100% and need help figuring this out between alcohol abuser and alcoholic. But if a drug-is a drug- is a drug— the answer isn’t easy. Acceptance may be the answer, but acceptance of what?

Surviving in a situation you can’t escape

I’m not sure how to handle dealing with long-term perseverance. While I have come to love writing and journalism (that is my current profession) I also know where I want to be long-term from here and it’s a matter of patience and taking steps to do it.

It feels like an impossible journey to reach the other side, even though I can see the other side. It’s a matter of trusting that if I want it bad enough, I will make it happen. I have been stubborn most of my life, so I can use that to my advantage.

But here is where I am stuck. I have accepted, or have to consistently remind myself of acceptance that I work where I work right now. It is my job. It’s not the job itself, but the people. I feel so out-of-place, disliked, odd girl out, belittled and unimportant.

I feel replaceable. I haven’t said a work for over 30 minutes. I am not going to speak for another hour and a half. Silence is my cry, I guess. I don’t think it would be noticed anyway.

So here is where I need help, my followers and subscribers, readers and supporters:

When you are in a situation you are working to change but can’t in the minute, how do you push through without sacrificing your self-worth and inner feelings and confidence? How do you keep grounded and just not be pulled into a whirlpool of self-hatred because of how others make you feel at work. Let’s go! How do you stay a-float until the day is over, shift is done and it’s time to go home?

“Love all, trust a few. Do wrong to none.”-William Shakespeare

I’m not going to lie: I am not a fan of Mr. Shakespeare. But, this quote screams wisdom. I have always been one to cheer for the underdog, stand up to bullies on behalf of the bullied and trying to see the good in everyone.

At my second AA meeting tonight, two topics were given: Love, trust, and reaching out.

I gave the reaching out topic. I thought I would try to be proactive in the meeting tonight, being that I have been struggling with feeling worthless and as if I don’t matter and how reaching out has saved my life, especially these past 30 days.

One of the things that really stuck out to be was this quote that was thrown out by a fellow member. It is such a beautiful quote. And is something I want to try to focus on. Focusing on others a majority of the time (aside from when taking care of myself is necessary), truly makes a difference. I love helping others. A lot. I love seeing others rise in their recovery and completely transform. In makes me warm and fuzzy inside.

One of the sayings of AA is the hands of Alcoholics Anonymous being there to reach out. And one of the things that is a clear fact about my own personal growth is that I reach my hand out.

I am at the point now of signing my name and phone number on newcomers phone/meeting list. I remember when I first came into the rooms of AA, was handed a meeting list and number list and had no idea what the hell to do with it.

Someone also shared about the beauty in seeing someone come into the rooms, looking so sick, looking like he/she is dying, inside and out, hopeless and desperate for help, and then to see them reach out, allow the help and watch their lives completely transform from the inside out.

These people come back to life and change. They become believers and cling to hope they didn’t know existed. My new sponsor then turned to me and smiled.

That was me.

I remember coming back into AA after my relapse with alcohol and the eating disorder. A friend from AA turned to me and he said I looked horrible. I was hopeless, didn’t want to be in the meeting, wanted to go home and drink, probably binge and purge, or God knows what. I looked sick. I was sick.

Sitting in that chair tonight holding my 30 day coin, I thought to myself. I am at a healthier weight. I have life in my eyes and in my heart again, and the people in these rooms got to see my sanity restored along with my spirit. Now it’s my turn to remember and continuing to reach out to other members in group and AA.

Maybe one day my phone will ring because I am the only one who answers when someone needs help.

Regardless: I may be in a very sad and emotional place, but I am not that sick little girl who returned into the rooms after a long spiral. I am growing.