OK, I survived another run.
Now I have to find a way to live.
Here I sit at day six, finally with a clear head. As I fight my ever present self loathing it only becomes stronger. This run began about three weeks ago; my umpteenth relapse. Each time the physical withdrawals are more and more severe and they have progressed to full blown D.T.s over the last year. I suspect that I won't survive many more of these excursions into Hell.
When I was younger I would pollute myself alcoholically and be able to 'bounce' and emerge relatively unscathed. Not any more. I shake uncontrollably and hallucinate. I guess I shouldn't even consider this a relapse over the last few weeks, but as more of a continuation of my sharp decline over the last year and a half. The periods of sobriety were more like rest-up periods between active drinking.
After 26 years in and out of AA you would think I would know better. And that is just the point of my dilemma - I do know better. But knowing better isn't doing better. I relapsed after a three year period of sobriety that was punctuated by me securing a great position in my chosen field, a marriage proposal to the woman of my dreams, the purchase of a sports car and a beautiful home. Not bad for a sober drunk. What happened?
I failed to enlarge my spiritual life, plain and simple. I stopped doing the basic things in the program that had led to my successes. I stopped regarding myself as powerless, let the small annoyances in the rooms justify my dropping out, and lied to myself about my growing unease. The first drink came subtly.
In rapid succession I lost it all. I would drink with more ferocity after each loss to try and bury the pain. I spiraled out of control trying to stay blacked out for as long as I could physically tolerate it. Not only did I lose my job and most of my possessions, as well as the woman I love, but I lost my ethics as well. My behavior, a bit unstable in my sobriety, blew up into a myriad of pathologies. I've run from doctor to psychiatrist to treatment centers to detoxes in a futile attempt to defend my rejection of A.A.
And now I survived another one and I'm doing something different. I've returned to A.A. half alive. I've desperately raised my hand as a newcomer. I've gone back to the group that helped me get sober years ago and I'm trying to become a member in the center, not on the outside. I'm willing to do what I call 'Total Emersion' in the program. That is the only way of life that has ever produced lasting contented sobriety for me. I'm a hopeless alcoholic searching for a solution to my chronic relapses. And the solution is read at every meeting I attend. I just let my arrogance and desire for 'more' to delude myself that I could go it alone. How wrong I was.
What's the game plan? Prayer. Meetings. Meeting with my newly acquired sponsor - a man whose story is similar to mine. A.A. doesn't need me, I need A.A.