Addictive Personality

The doggie had some ice cream on her recent “camping” trip.  It’s what comes to mind when I think of “addictive personality.”  I eat too much, mostly fat and sugar (the too much part).  I have been addicted to cigarettes and alcohol.  I play the Sims way too much.

The most important part of this concept, for me, is that I know in the depths of my soul that I cannot take mind-changing, mood-altering drugs, for any reason, without running the risk of becoming “addicted” to them, or running the risk of seeking out other drugs once these drugs hit my system.

In that way, my personality is “addictive.”  I love the effects of these drugs beyond all reason.  My addiction isn’t physical, when I first take them.  My addiction is psychological and it is so very powerful.

Beyond that, I don’t know about this “addictive personality.”  I guess alcoholics and other addicts may have less of some regulating part of our personality that makes us vulnerable, but I don’t know.  I personally don’t have problems with gambling or shopping or other “behavior-based” addictions, though I certainly know people who do.  I come down to being grateful that Alcoholics Anonymous and the people are there are great resources for recognizing and dealing with these behaviors.  We have a great yard stick, as well, with the concept of life becoming “unmanageable.”  That certainly covers a multitude of sins.

In Comments

The following was sent as a comment to my page of AA topics.  I believe it deserves a post.

i’m curious about this. i’m a younger person who likes to drink (emphasis on likes)…i’m not someone who gets aggressive, violent, or any malevolent repercussions, maybe just acts stupid at the most part… I consider myself an alcoholic…i don’t harm anyone and am a respectful person no matter what my state is…however, the only thing people see is my harm to myself…that’s about it…i don’t offend people, don’t hurt people, don’t do anything like that; just my friends’ concerns…but i enjoy it…it’s my own choice and i like it…i’ve thought about the idea of why i indulge myself sometimes and to be the most honest sometimes, i think people suck…i think i’m an amazing person and, after meeting the tons of people i have, i don’t think anyone has the right to share my company with…maybe i’m too selfish…maybe i’m too sure of myself….i’m starting to find a dark side of myself and would like some advice…i think my kidneys are starting to hurt daily…i enjoy it though…i think there’s a sense of suicidal tendencies definitely involved that i actually enjoy…it’s on of the many conundrums i’m looking at…i don’t want jesus to save my life, i’m just looking for like-minded people…

peace

And my response, here and by email:

Hi, and thanks for commenting.

My advice to you is the same as it is for anyone who is questioning.  I think that your appearance on a blog about alcoholism proves you have a problem.  If not, your hurting kidneys surely do.  Alcohol is a poison, and you cannot poison yourself daily without doing long-term, serious damage.

You may believe you’re not harming anyone and that may actually be true.  Or it may be that you’re unable to live responsibly because of the time you spend under the influence.  Feeling better than everyone around you is not a good feeling.  It is a lonely feeling.  You are not actually better than those around you, and so picture yourself accurately, as someone who thinks he is better but is clearly not.  That is a sad picture.

So my advice is that you check out Alcoholics Anonymous.  It costs nothing.  You sign nothing.  There is no obligation to stay or return.  You have nothing to lose but your self-harming habit and you have everything to gain.

September 21, 2012 (yesterday)

So much has happened, and nothing has happened.
After I guess five years of wonky periods, I’ve gone through all the fancy tests again, and gotten a clean bill of health again.  And gotten the suggestion from the doctor again that there are pills and procedures that can cure me if I desire, but I’m still toughing it out.
“It” put a big damper on a weekend in the woods that Carole and I spent with the dog.  It was very lovely aside from that.
Politics in this political season again tests and stretches and tries my tolerance.  Intolerance is a big big character defect of mine.  Big one.
The weather has gotten cooler and I can still summon gratitude at any given moment that I’m not hot hot hot.
When I just took a moment to think of what’s going on with me, the state of my living room popped into my mind because it’s shedding season and quite a furry mess.
And, the character defect of the moment being resentment, I will try to lessen my resentment against people who for some reason I can’t fathom want it to be illegal for me to get married.  I will try.

Service, gladly rendered . . . (Step Twelve continued)

Service, gladly rendered . . .

 

Thinking about my character defects, the number one impediment to my service is my dog.  Service is helping or doing something for someone.  Service usually takes me out of the house.  I work full time and I usually feel like it isn’t right to leave the dog all day and then all night.  Sometimes I take the day off, or work half a day if I need to go somewhere at night.  That somewhere doesn’t usually involve service, though.  I’ve told Carole that, when this one is no longer with us, I want a year without a dog.

But but but but but . . . She was on death row, a big black dog in a kill shelter.  On top of that it turned out she was deathly ill and cost a lot to get well.  I thought I could feel like a life with us is better than no life.  All this having nothing to do with service.

I know that we have to serve AA, in order to keep it here for ourselves and help secure it for the people of the future who need it.  Last night we celebrated the seventh anniversary of the meeting we started and Carole said we have 15 members.  I wouldn’t count them all as members, but many do participate and help now, whereas until maybe a year ago it was mostly me and her.  That service, of going early and making coffee, I usually did gladly and gratefully but there were times she and I argued about it and I tried hard, after that, to remember that doing that was nothing, and I do mean nothing compared to the lengths I went to in order to drink.  The time and expense of helping an AA meeting is a day at the beach compared to the planning, the securing of funds, the buying, the hiding, the drinking, the lying, the missing school, the midnight dialing, the puking and clean up and a thousand other awful things that were part of my drinking.

I still set that meeting up often but not nearly as often as I used to.  And the argument about whose turn it is has become moot because the person who we fear at local meetings comes to the meeting very early, so we travel in pairs now without a second thought.  I also am the treasurer for the group and that is a bigger service than it might seem because it involves math.  The only other service I perform in AA presently is helping people when they ask, mostly sponsoring.  That is 99% joy and 1% frightened sadness for me right now.

Personally, I am temperamentally a helper protector type.  The easiest and most frequent service I do anywhere is when I directly help someone with a severe disability.  I do that at work, a lot less directly than a few years ago, but still daily I get to push a wheelchair down a hall for someone who cannot do it him/herself, as an example.  I struggle to turn the work I do directing the direct care staff into service for the people with disabilities and the staff as well.  It is potentially more helpful to a greater number of people and, of course, it’s harder than helping directly.  Still it works perfectly with my personality and it is an easy, easy way for me to serve.  I even get paid to do it.  AA has taught me to be grateful for that.

We have a dog walker come walk the dog when we’re at work, serving.  A lot of our financial resources go there.  It helps keep some lovely ladies in business and I’m sure that’s a good thing.

Now I’ve agreed to help with a presidential campaign after work.  It’s something I feel deeply about, although I’m skeptical as to the work I do really making any difference.  But I’ll do it, regardless.  I keep asking for a work at home opportunity, because at home, I haven’t left the dog all day and night.  Four years ago I hand wrote cards to get out the vote.  I like to serve and protect but I don’t want to leave the dog and I don’t like people, so I won’t do calling or knocking.  If only the candidate’s campaign people realized what a worker bee they have in me, as long as I can stay in my hive . . .

September 4, 2012 (this day)

I’m bravely waiting to go to a meeting, planning to leave 14 minutes from now.  Bravely because Carole isn’t home, and I am always so reluctant to leave the dog.  She’s gotten a terrible fear of thunder, and it thunders most nights.  It’s overcast and hot and humid as heck, but so far no thunder.  Carole and I went to this meeting some time ago, and I remember thinking it was one of the worst meetings I had ever been to!  A woman talked about how her parents (whom she lives with) are so hard on her, the next talked about her irrational in-laws, and it was down hill from there.  I wonder if it’s gotten any better.

Today I understand that the fault is in myself.  I’m grateful for that.  And I want to get home and bathe and visit my Sims.  Pesky job has kept me occupied all day, and now this meeting tonight.  I also did cat litter, dishes, fed the critters etc.  Hard, it is, to be me.

Action

I’m thinking about the actions I take, the things I actually do to maintain and improve my sobriety.

  • I go to one or two meetings a week.  Usually, hopefully two.  This works for me.  I’m an introverted loner and I’ve been to thousands of meetings.  Lots of people need more meetings, and that’s fine.  Also, I envision that if I’m lucky enough to retire one day, I will go to more meetings.  Meeting makers make it!
  • I read recovery things regularly, as in I always have one or two recovery books going.  Right now I’m reading The Varieties of Religious Experience and, again, The Little Red Book.  With Carole I’m reading The Greatest Thing in the World.  I always read more than one book at a time.  To me, reading one book only is like watching one television show, sort of.   These aren’t things I necessarily want to read, or enjoy reading.  I do it to sort of study this thing that I’ve made be the center of my life.
  • I still write out new prayers I’m trying to learn.  I rotate them in the sidebar of the blog and I take the time to actually write them out.  In the past, I’ve written them out by hand when I was having a particularly hard time of things.  I really haven’t memorized any this way, but I know that in times of terrible stress my mind reaches for them and they are there.  I’m also able to incorporate some of the messages of these prayers into my daily life, which I guess is the point.
  • I sponsor people when asked.  Right now that’s two.  I answer the phone when they call and put a lot of thought and prayer into how I can be helpful to them.
  • I speak at meetings when asked.
  • I’m the treasurer of my group.
  • I chair my group often which involves getting there early, making the coffee, buying the snack (which usually I can get Carole to do), setting up tables and chairs, getting a speaker.
  • I always help clean up my meeting and make sure the doors are locked, lights are out, etc.
  • I read recovery blogs.
  • I write – this!

Looking at this list, I’m wondering how much time it takes me each week.  It is truly the best time I spend.