At a recent meeting, a new person brought this to the assembled group for discussion. Perhaps most of us have felt this way during our early days in the Program. Didn’t seem so unusual. But the more we discussed it, the more ambiguous our fears seemed. Perhaps it was the particular situation of this person. She had been sober for 23 years and for some reason had returned to her old ways and had relapsed and stayed out a couple of years. At first, we felt it was the normal feelings of a person coming off her return. It seemed to be a deep-felt truth for her. She just couldn’t stop - a considerable period in the program, yet, “out she goes.” Perhaps her statement reflected a deep-seated fear of a lack of self-worth. Who knows.
Of course, we aren’t aware of all the details of the nature of her sobriety, or what prompted her to “go out. Maybe she encountered a really deep hole in the road, or maybe she didn’t stay aware of the nature of our disease and wasn’t going to meetings with as much enthusiasm she previously had. Maybe she found it was just too difficult to appear to be the only one in her circle of friends with this “addiction problem” or someone might have called her attention to a “new and really good drink… try just one.” Her guard might have been down.
I think people who do not suffer from an addiction to alcohol don’t appreciate the depths of our obsessive desire for these substances. We just plain old “like the taste and the buzz.”
For us, alcohol just simply tastes good, it emits powerful pleasant smells, a happy crowd around you, all experiencing these new brands, a powerful relaxing agent from life’s challenges, selecting just the right one from those new small breweries, we’re even attracted by the creative shapes of the bottles. And yet, if we are paying attention at all, we know the familiar path our once pleasant habit will take.
But let’s not pretend that we will be able to stop on our own, even if we sense trouble ahead. We may know and remember that troubles will be encountered if we continue our habit. Maybe we’re too proud to seek that assistance.
We seem to be driving a car as fast as we can toward the edge of a cliff testing how close we can come to that edge and be able to stop before disaster. For us, that edge is that perilous drop which may destroy us and all our relationships.
So, how do we forget that good vodka, the aroma of a freshly prepared martini, that special bouquet of a newly opened bottle of wine?
Next time: some ideas to avoid going over that edge ... to be continued