Tag Archives: twelve steps

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?


They say, “Keep coming back.” — My last 6 months in Alcoholics Anonymous, and why I keep coming back

“The fact is, that to do anything in the world worth doing, we must not stand back shivering and thinking of the cold and danger, but jump in and scramble through as well as we can.” -Robert Cushing

I’m sitting strongly in Step 1 but I am bordering the edge of looking at Step 2.
While I am not in a hurry to move through all the steps, I would like to continue seeing progress. I am hungry for change. I just noticed that I am beginning to express “hunger” through things other than food. But, truthfully, I am.

I didn’t realize the growth I have had since beginning the AA program. I am not going to say I am at a full acceptance of my past with drinking and drugging. However, I can say, that I can catch a glimpse of the growth that is going to continue to occur.

I’ve been in and out of the rooms of AA over the past six months for numerous reasons. The first was, “I am too young to be in AA. I am not an alcoholic.” The second was “I am not an alcoholic so saying hello, my name is ___ and I am an alcoholic” felt like a lie. The third was that I could handle drinking like a normal 22-year-old without abuse. The fourth was that I liked to drink when I was feeling lousy and my friend liked to drink to have a good time. The fifth was that I had shame and embarrassment that I was even attending AA meetings. The sixth was the concept that being in the program meant total honesty with myself and others and that shit is scary. The seventh reason was that I didn’t belong because I was only a substance abuser and I had an eating disorder. The last reason was that whenever I slipped up, I always seemed to get a bad case of the fuck-its, so why come back?

“If God brings you to it, He will bring you through it.”

I keep coming back because it’s helping to save my life. I get more out of AA than just sobriety. First, looking back now to the first time I entered the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, I can sit in the present and see the change in me as a person and also, my mentality and spirituality. Not only that, but the reasons that kept telling me not to go to AA were all the reasons that were disproved thus far.

Even though I was not a day-in and day-out drinker, that does not mean that I don’t have alcoholic tendencies and that I don’t abuse alcohol. My values in life are to live sober-minded with clarity. Is drinking wrong for everyone? No. But abstinence is not the end of the world.

I used to panic every day when I was faced with the thought of, “Oh, dear God, I can never get drunk again.” or “Oh, dear God, I can never have a glass of wine again.” Is this true? Yes and no. Do I want to get drunk at times? Yes. Do I? No. Drinking for me also triggers the drug urges, so, that’s one extra piece of protection. Now I think long-term plan: Can I get through today without a sip of wine or beer? Yes. It’s not a matter of thinking “I will never touch alcohol again” It’s a matter of, “How will I deal with today with clarity?” Will I always have a 100% abstinence from total alcohol for the rest of my life? I cannot answer that, because I am only on today, at 22-years-old, 4:56 p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Lao-Tzu

I keep coming back because the practice of announcing “I am an alcoholic/addict” is no longer scary to me. Maybe part of this acceptance was fear or anxiety about specific word usage. But if I took a minute to think, comparing myself to the term alcoholic was not such a drastic difference: I had lost control over my drinking many times. I had lost my ability to stop. I drank to stop the pain and to forget. And I abused alcohol beyond just a social drink and partying. So saying that I am an alcoholic no longer guilts me. Will I always be “alcoholic”? No. But for today, it reminds me that I have to keep my eye out for alcohol. Besides, I want to live my life with full sobriety. And yes, I am an addict.

HELLO! Food addiction! Is that not what anorexia, bulimia or other eating disorders are about?! Addiction to control, food, purging, exercising, laxatives, pills, drugs. Addiction. My eating disorder is an addiction I am fighting to beat. So just to jump in to complete acceptance; When I go to meetings, I, without shame announce, “Hello, my name is ____. I am an alcoholic, addict and eating disordered person.”

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive – Howard Thurman.

I keep coming back because I am no longer ashamed or embarrassed that I attend AA meetings. They have given me a completely new level of acceptance of letting others care about me. These meetings have given me a home, a chosen family, and some really good friends. I also have a protection as the baby in the group.

I keep coming back because I am learning to be honest with my feelings and dealing with my traumas and fears and anxieties, emotions and losses sober is fucking brutal. I need a support and strong accountability to keep me sober during this process, or else I will never heal whole-heartedly. I may not be at the point where I will announce to the world that I attend AA meetings. But I am at a point where the guilt and shame is gone and I can honestly say, I need these meetings. I need these people. And I need this program.

“Growth means change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to the unknown.”

I keep coming back because I have a cross-addictive personality. I have dabbled in different addictions and to completely stay clean from it all, I need to work the program. I need to know how to live my life with out drugs. But I also need this program so I can eventually learn, in addition to therapy, how to let go, forgive and live a whole life. A drug-is a drug-is a drug. I substitute the addiction and message for what I need to hear and what God needs me to hear.

I keep coming back because if I relapse with my eating disorder, drug use and even alcohol abuse, which could happen,… where else will I go?

My journey the past six months through AA has dramatically changed. My perspective and my acceptance. Even the relationships. I am changing and this is why, I keep coming back.

Change and growth take place when a person has risked himself and dares to become involved with experimenting with his own life.”
– Herbert A. Otto

I can pray and beg all I want

But I wonder if the urge to use drugs and alcohol will ever truly be lifted for good or if I will always full the obsession to use.

I’ve been being honest, reaching out and talking to people from AA and therapy and group, and still the pull to that shadow of extreme escape and danger and darkness has not been lifted. I still feel a scary pull. And this is so not easy to say NO every, single, time.