Our slogans are like hundreds of shiny threads woven into the fabric of our recovery. One of my favorites is “I came for my drinking but I stayed for my thinking.”
After the therapist listened to me whine about my life for 30 minutes she said she couldn’t help me. Her exact words were “your brain is so cloudy from your daily drinking that you can’t hope to get any clarity on your life.” (And this was after I had lied about how much I was actually drinking!) She said she couldn’t help me but maybe the treatment center up the street could. Even though I wasn’t sure I was alcoholic, I didn’t know what else to do.
I caught alcoholism in my first AA meeting. One man shared that when he had a couple of drinks he couldn’t stop. I thought to myself, “Wow, I can’t stop either.” But that wasn’t the main reason I kept coming back. Something inside of me sensed there was something special going on. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew I wanted more so I kept coming back.
Successive fourth steps revealed an ugly collection of character defects. I was negative, cynical, judgmental, and resentful. I seemed to have no capacity to treat anyone with love and kindness unless there was something in it for me. I had been this way for so long, it felt normal to me. I learned I was loaded with guilt, shame, fear, and anger. Just not drinking was not going to fix me. Like the good doctor said in his opinion, I needed to experience an entire psychic change — To let go of all of my old ideas —the stinking thinking — I’d been carrying around all my life.
Progress has been slow, but the dynamic action of the 12 steps has worked to dissolve much of the self-centered fear I walked in the door with. My thinking has been placed on a much higher plane. I usually see the glass half full today instead of half empty. More and more I experience the impersonal love we alcoholics have for one another. Thank God I’m alcoholic. There is no way I could have traveled from where I was to where I am today without having a deadly disease that was going to kill me if I didn’t treat it spiritually.