Under the Lash of Alcoholism (Step One continued)

Under the lash of alcoholism, we are driven to A.A.,
and there we discover the fatal nature of our situation.
Then, and only then, do we become as open-minded to
conviction and as willing to listen as the dying can be. We
stand ready to do anything which will lift the merciless obsession from us.
That was it for me.
I just got back from hearing the lead of a man who was arrested many times, had no job, was hospitalized many times and suffered seizures if he was without alcohol for any amount of time.  His house was in foreclosure and his relationship was dead.  Four years from the time of his first try at AA he was able to listen.  Although my situation was somewhat different, I believe I was also as close to the end as he was.  I was about to die, or be locked up.  I couldn’t function.
Over the years I had thought about suicide.  Part of the change in my mind that enabled me to achieve was lasting sobriety was admitting that I really didn’t actually want to die.  It seemed very tempting lots of the time.  Living as I was certainly wasn’t an option.  I couldn’t sustain even that miserable existence, though I didn’t want that miserable existence.  I wasn’t able to change it except to keep going down the hill, getting worse, heading for the bottom of that pit.
Now when I talk to people who struggle to maintain sobriety I fear that they haven’t gone far down enough in that pit, and I don’t want them to go any further because I know the odds are against them coming back out.  While they are talking to me, while they’re going to meetings and reading the books  I believe they still have a chance.  When they stop doing those things and begin drinking again I’m afraid their last chance might be over.
So many people die rather than change.  I always want to communicate the message from the other side that the pain and work of sobriety is worth it.  I can also decide to die later.  I will die later, decision or no decision.  This life is so good, I want to put that off for as long as I can.  That’s a miracle.
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