I identify with members who share that the booze stopped working for them. Oh, I still got drunk all right, but the psychic pain had ratcheted up to the point that a few drinks would no longer produce the sense of ease and comfort I craved. Instead, I woke up every morning paralyzed by fear. I was unemployed and running out of borrowed money, but all I could do to help myself was get drunk and make believe a job would solve all my problems.
Gratefully something inside of me cried “Uncle” and let go. I experienced a moment of clarity and was led to Alcoholics Anonymous. You told me if I really wanted to quit drinking I had to do what you did. Little did I know at the time that I had to change pretty much everything about who I thought I was. Fortunately I was so sick and tired I was willing to try.
Relationships with others was a fertile area for change. I had chased everyone out of my life with my judgmental, “my way or the highway” attitude. I didn’t hate, I simply had no time or interest in anyone who didn’t think, act, and dress like me. I was so insecure, I couldn’t risk letting a person into my life who might try find out the truth about me. It’s no wonder I ended up all alone, getting drunk twice a day in my messy apartment with the curtains drawn.
In AA I was taught when I point my finger in judgement of another, I have three fingers pointing back at me. During my first fourth step I came to see I had almost the exact same character defects I resented in my father. I was cold, critical and emotionally unavailable. Today whenever I get twisted up in judgment of another -- especially people in the program -- I try to take a good look at myself. Usually I find I am guilty of the very same shortcoming I see in them. These discoveries are like little doors to freedom.
Live and let live means I allow everyone else on the planet to be exactly who they are. I try and treat others the way I want to be treated. I do not always succeed, but I have the willingness to keep trying. Thanks to the many loving examples of the alcoholics who came before me, I am becoming more loving and tolerant as the years go by. It is nothing I did and everything God did.