Near Death Experience

I had no idea I was dying an alcoholic death. Only in hindsight can I see how far down the scale I had traveled. I was an empty shell of a man without energy or enthusiasm for anything other than drinking. I had no job, no hobbies, no interests. I had no friends and no one to love. There was no light inside of me. By then booze was medicine I needed every day just to feel even. Drinking was not my problem it was my solution to boredom, loneliness and the dull ache of fear I awoke with every morning. Alcoholism had eroded my spiritual center. It was killing me from the inside-out, but I was paralyzed to change.

I wasn’t looking for a spiritual solution when I sought help from a therapist. My best thinking was life would be peachy again as soon as I found a new, high-paying job. Thank God for denial. Who knows what I might have done to myself if I could see how pathetic my life really was? I think denial saves a lot of us alcoholics from the ultimate mistake. Unfortunately, it did not save my father.

When I was new I heard an old timer say if an alcoholic kills himself before he works through the steps and has a spiritual awakening, he has killed the wrong person. If I had killed myself before I began my journey in Alcoholics Anonymous, I would not have killed the real, eternal me, only the false, fictional me, ego. There is nothing real about ego. It is only a collection of old ideas, images, and memories held in place by self-centered fear. Ego is the voice of self-hate. Ego demands I try and control the people and events in my life so it can feel safe. Ego keeps me in everlasting conflict, because ego can’t survive without conflict. Ego blocks out God just like the morning clouds on the Southern California coast blocks out the sun. The sun is shining, but since I don’t see it, I think it is not there.

The dynamic action of the twelve steps has deflated ego and allowed God to work in my life. The work is far from complete, but I'm not at all like the person I was when I started on this journey in Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s gloomy outside today, but the sun is shining in my life and I am grateful.