A Drug is a Drug

*******Disclaimer!  This is my opinion only!  I don’t speak for anyone else, any organization, and I have no training or education in medicine or psychology!*******

Sometimes I feel like the only unmedicated person in my world.  I take no prescriptions and not much over the counter anything.  I have no chronic conditions that require medications yet, aside from annoying allergies.  I’m sure there’s plenty wrong with me, and that a doctor or psychologist or psychiatrist could find lots to medicate.

It’s my own personal experience that I have to remember the terror of not being able to stop drinking.  When I experienced that somewhat sanely, it was terrifying, and that’s what it should be, for someone who wants to live.  It’s hard to remember, decades later, but it was dramatic enough to stay with me, and that’s part of what has kept me sober.

I have dental problems and I have to go to the dentist every three months.  I haven’t had laughing gas for years, but I used to get it regularly.  Every time it hit my central nervous system I decided that as soon as I was done, I was going to go drink.  That drug effected me dramatically, because I have an alcoholic brain.  Every time I came down from the gas I returned to my senses and did not go drink, but that experience tells me it’s right there, waiting to grab me again.

I had Demerol in labor, and whatever they give you to put you under for surgery.  Pain pills after surgery, and that’s pretty much it for me so far.  I know I could legitimately get a doctor to prescribe something for my pain, my anxiety, my sleeplessness.  I may do that some day.

But I can name many people who went out after using legitimately prescribed and needed drugs.  It can happen, and sometimes I’m sure it’s not the fault of the person who does it.  We can’t all have our medications held by someone and doled out to us as prescribed.  And taking things as prescribed has also lead to relapse.  It just has.

It will be a bit of a surprise to some people that the spirit of AA is that is a person takes a mood-changing, mind-altering drug that has not been prescribed and/or is not needed, that person is not considered to be sober in AA, even though he or she has not taken a drink.  But that’s the way it is.  These drugs change our mood or our mind and so we are not sober, and will probably soon drink.

July 8, 2016 (this day)

IMG_0492I don’t have much to write about today.  I don’t comment on current events because I don’t now much about them.  I don’t watch or read news when I can avoid it.  I find the local news to be stressful in that it mostly has to do with fires and murders and other bad things that happen to people.  I feel, really, that I don’t do enough to improve the state of things.  I work with people who have multiple, severe disabilities.  That is not enough.

Regarding my program there are two things on my mind.  One is that I’ve tried to help a young lady who is worried about her daughter in a way that I used to worry about my daughter and, at times, my son.  I suggested to her that she give the issue several  quiet minutes a day.  I remember that as I worried about my daughter and dealt with her issues day to day, I tried all the time to keep gratitude up front.  My friend and I have some of the best resources in the world available to us.  We have great support systems and we have hope that our daughters will be independent and happy, at least some of the time.  Remembering these facts helped me get through.

My second issue is a character defect of mine I’ve been attacking.  Attacking!  Something has been bothering me, and I don’t know why, and I might at times even blame those pesky female hormones.  As I seek to overcome this character defect, at least as much as possible, I’ve looked up prayers about it and read about it and I keep deepening my understanding of it and resistance to it.  I want it to be removed, as much as that is possible, and I’m willing to work for that.

Maybe this all Sounds Mysterious (Step Three continued)

Maybe this all sounds mysterious and remote, something like Einstein’s theory of relativity or a proposition in nuclear physics. It isn’t at all. Let’s look at how practical it actually is. Every man and woman who has joined A.A. and intends to stick has, without realizing it, made a beginning on Step Three. Isn’t it true that in all matters touching upon alcohol, each of them has decided to turn his or her life over to the care, protection, and guidance of Alcoholics Anonymous? Already a willingness has been achieved to cast out one’s own will and one’s own ideas about the alcohol problem in favor of those suggested by A.A. Any willing newcomer feels sure A.A. is the only safe harbor for the foundering vessel he has become. Now if this is not turning one’s will and life over to a newfound Providence, then what is it?

So here possibly lies some of the key to my early chronic relapsing.  It took me six years of drinking and attending AA to finally achieve a sobriety that would last.  I didn’t feel AA was a safe harbor.  Although I believed that the sober members were telling me the truth.  I believed they had been just like me and that through following the program they had achieved sobriety, I was not completely sure that I could.  And I held on to a tiny straw of hope, for the longest time, that although I knew I was alcoholic and that alcoholism always gets worse, I would learn to drink successfully.  So I didn’t entirely give my will concerning alcohol to AA.  Almost all matters, but not completely all.  And I did intend to stick.

Now I’m writing this blog with 32 years of sobriety and counting.  I want to work and rework these principles in my current, sober life.  I suffer still from many disturbances of my peace of mind.  They are nothing like they used to be, and when I was drinking that disturbance was quickly bringing me to my death.  No, sobriety gets better and sobriety is worth it.  If I didn’t have sobriety, I wouldn’t have the life nor the ability to grapple with my current state of mind.

Day to day, alcohol is not an issue for me.  Character defects are.  I cannot completely surrender and abstain from anger and fear, anxiety and jealousy the way I can from alcohol.  There is no religion that would guide me thoroughly enough to give the rest of my life over to it.  There is in me, after all the time, still the hope and faith that by continuing with the program I will continue to improve.  Just grappling with this one paragraph of this one step of this one book has hopefully brought me closer to that ideal me I want to be.  Maybe this is mysterious – impossible to explain.