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?

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