For us, the process of gaining a new perspective was unbelievably painful. It was only by repeated humiliations that we were forced to learn something about humility. It was only at the end of a long road, marked by successive defeats and humiliations, and the final crushing of our self sufficiency, that we began to feel humility as something more than a condition of groveling despair. Every newcomer in Alcoholics Anonymous is told, and soon realizes for himself, that his humble admission of powerlessness over alcohol is his first step toward liberation from its paralyzing grip.
This is such an excellent paragraph to consider directly after writing about literally falling down drunk. After I wrote that last part of my story, in which I attempted to remember all the stray awful and humiliating experiences I had while drinking, I remembered more. I remembered retching and dry heaving, telling my friend I was not throwing up, because I wasn’t. I remembered throwing up on someone’s living room floor, on someone else’s couch. My time drinking was short, to be sure, and all the memories can fill a paragraph or two. But I went down pretty low, and I do not wish to ever touch that bottom again.
That bottom, that deflation, that place where we lucky ones give up, at least for a time. I see it clearly today as the only way I could get away from it.
But that was quite a long time ago. My daughter’s 23rd birthday is nearly here, and I was 23 when I had her, and already sober. It’s been for more than her whole lifetime that I’ve been practicing these principles. So where does that put me today?
It all has a new meaning and, at the same time, it doesn’t. A bit of despair has driven me to this new look at the old steps. I’ve had a rough two years. The roughness has been nothing like those old days when my very body rebelled against me. I do not have problems functioning today, at least not for more than an hour or so at a time. All of my future indicators today are positive. Back then I was practically dead.
I don’t know if I’ve reached the bottom of the trying experiences of the past two years. I suffered a random, violent tragedy of the kind that can happen to anyone anytime. I experienced a situation in which, for the first time in my life, I felt like a victim of injustice in a big and sad way. Evil triumphed then, or so it still seems that way to me, two years out. As I can intellectually understand that the people I see as evil, others see as good, and we are both right – I do not feel it in my heart or my soul. It was, in a sense, crushing. I have not experienced the groveling despair.
So just writing all that now, I feel really backwards, dark and stupid. I don’t think I’ve made progress with my tragedy or my feeling of injustice. There are innocent and dependent people and animals that could benefit from my experience and growth with all of this. Yet I do not grow.