I was in a meeting the other day and some guy said he wanted to hear what we were all grateful for. Well, for those of you who might not live near Boise, let me tell you what we’ve been going through. We’ve had record breaking snow, ice, and freezing ass cold. It has been a crazy winter to say the least. So, when this guy asked what we were grateful for, my first thought was that I am so glad the snow and cold is only temporary. I cannot imagine living like this all the time. That’s when I had my next thought-everything is temporary. And boy am I glad for that. I remember those early days in recovery trying not to drink. People, that obsession with alcohol is real. It still blows my mind how strong that desire is. It is unworldly, like some supernatural force. It takes over your mind and makes not drinking literally impossible. It’s real, raw and ugly. It’s torture for an alcoholic to not drink in those early days of sobriety. Luckily though, that obsession passes. Eventually. It could be days, weeks or months but it does calm down.
I never knew my physical desire to drink could ever go away. I thought there was literally no way I could not drink. I thought I was doomed and I still feel like that sometimes. I get a horrible/annoying/disturbing thought then it takes over my mind. I worry that it will never go away. See, it’s the same thing. My obsession with drinking alcohol goes, then other obsessions kick in. I’ll tell you what, this disease is a bitch.
It ain’t easy being an alcoholic, it seems like I’m always under attack. Whether it’s alcohol, thoughts or problems (real or imagined, oftentimes the latter) something’s always troublesome. I have a disease. It’s a stupid disease. It makes me mad sometimes. It doesn’t care that I am a good person, it doesn’t care that all I want is to do good and be happy, and it sure as hell doesn’t care about my feelings. It’s real, alive and it is never going away. But, like all chronic diseases, I have access to medication which will help alleviate my symptoms. Too bad I can’t just pop a pill, but at least I have access to relief. For me, it is the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Unity (fellowship), service and recovery (stepwork) are my pills. It is the only way I have learned to live a somewhat normal, happy life. It ebbs and flows, waxes and wanes, but I know (now) that no matter whatever situation I am in, no matter how bothersome, will always change. That’s why they say, “This too shall pass.” And thank God for that. Sometimes when things seem shitty, I just gotta buckle down, do the next right thing and wait it out.
In closing, I want to go back to cravings. I remember how God awful they were and how badly I wanted that alcohol in my body. I remember the horrible feeling when I’d wake up the day after succumbing to the craving feeling like a piece of shit failure. I remember too how on top of the world I felt when I’d wake up the next day after not drinking, so happy that I achieved another day sober. I’ve wanted to drink so damn bad but did whatever (call someone, go to a meeting, read a book, etc…) and even as little as an hour later realizing the craving was gone. I’d sigh in relief knowing I’d made it through another one. The point I’m trying to make is that no matter how strong the craving, and it can be maddening, it does go away. It always goes away. It will pop up again, but the more recovery I get, the fewer, farther between and less intense they got. Damn those early days were a bitch.
So anytime I feel messed up in the head and have thoughts that I don’t like or don’t understand, I gently remind myself it’s just my disease flaring up and I’m not broken or bad, I’m just sick. Luckily I have a solution and nothing is ever permanent.