Tag Archives: alcoholism

A Different Source

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As my inner turmoil has intensified
I have found myself remembering
a glass of wine
or a mojito
or a margarita…
It has been years since I’ve had a drink.
I chose to stop
because I wanted to go deeper
and to be clearer…
but I remember
the soothing wave of inebriation,
the giddiness,
and I ask myself if I’m being too extreme,
too ascetic, too prudish, too goody-goody.
I know many people who would say
I should have a drink
when I’m feeling this way.
It’s just a glass of wine,
it’s good for you
they would say.
Just have a drink,
it won’t kill you,
it will help you relax.
But I’ve chosen clarity,
and this means to stand and face
whatever arises with my whole self,
my real self.
How can I see what needs to be seen
if I have filled my head with clouds?
It was a personal choice,
a commitment I made,
and I feel honor bound to uphold it.
A quieter voice says,
Don’t look back.
This is your chance.
Summon your courage,
breathe.
You are where you need to be,
and these feelings are real.
They have something to tell you;
listen.
Trust.
Being able to hear this voice
is a taste sweeter than the finest wine,
more refreshing than
than the most perfectly mixed mojito.
Sure, these drinks might taste good for a moment,
but the inner longing would remain;
and after their sweetness receded from my tongue,
I would be still more parched,
the way drinking from the ocean makes you even more
desperate to find pure, clear, sweet salvation.
And so I dip not my hand into these waters.
Now I quench my thirst from a different source.

Yay Sobriety

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This happened.

My mother, father,
sister and her boyfriend,
my husband and children
were sitting in a nice restaurant
to celebrate my birthday.

Some of you know
I have chosen
to not imbibe the fermented fruit of the vine,
and you also must know
that this puts me in the minority
of the adult population.

So I, my daughter, and son
sipped on our water,
while the five other adults drank,
two of them to excess.

I attended to my children,
enjoyed giving them bites
of delicious food,
sharing my salad and entree with them,
engaging them in conversation.

My husband,
bless his heart,
and to his credit,
did make an effort to engage with me
between sips of beer,
and we exchanged some pleasant words
in the course of the dinner.
He only had two beers and a glass of champagne.
Surely, this is moderation, is it not?

But inside, I felt lonely.
This was supposed to be my birthday celebration,
and the adults were focusing on their booze,
becoming loud, intoxicated…

I found myself looking around
at the others in the restaurant,
wondering about their conversations,
guessing that they were surely
more interesting
than what was unfolding at my table.

My family,
with its history of alcoholism,
couldn’t help itself.
The alcoholism had to follow us into this dinner,
even though the guest of honor
doesn’t drink.

What would you do,
if you felt lonely at your birthday dinner?
Would you have put your foot down?
Would you have said something?
Would you have withdrawn?

I tried to be kind and present,
but I couldn’t help feeling wistful.

Afterwards my sister was belligerent,
verbally aggressive…
because this is what happens when she drinks too much.
She yelled, gestured,
said she didn’t need anything from anyone,
and passed out in my bathroom.
She has done this many times before.
I wish I could help her,
but I know that I can’t.
She needs to help herself first.

And now, more than ever,
I see that my sobriety,
my clarity,
my lucidity,
my health
is one of the greatest birthday gifts
I can offer to myself…
and to the world.

Yay, sobriety.

Together in Our Own Personal Haze

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It’s Christmas,
and we’re all here together again,
so…
what should we do?

I know!
Let’s pour ourselves a glass of wine,
some eggnog,
let’s drink a beer.

Put something in your hand
so that it will have something to do.
You won’t feel awkward
with something in your hand,
something to sip.

There, that’s better now,
take another sip.

Bathe your brain in some poison
So that laughter and smiles
will come more easily,
so that you will be more talkative
with those you seldom see.

It’s okay, we won’t judge,
we’re all doing it.
And heck,
the red wine provides antioxidants
which are good for heart health,
so, we should be drinking it anyway, right?

Hush up liver,
no whining!
it’s Christmas–
time to let loose,
to celebrate,
to be together
in our own personal haze.

The Last Day of February

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The blossoming always comes at the perfect time.

Patience, and trust that the blossoming will occur in the perfect time, space and sequence.

I decided in January that I would be exploring the Twelve Steps in some form during the twelve months that I have committed to daily posts.  Today is the last day of February, the second month, so it only seems fitting that I wrap up with some work on the second step. I wrote a good bit of this post a week ago, but never got around to polishing it to my liking.  Hopefully today I can post writing that is enough in congruence with what I’m feeling that it rings with authenticity, if not for everyone else, then at least for myself.

o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

Step Two is the rallying point for all of us. Whether agnostic, atheist, or former believer, we can stand together on this Step. True humility and an open mind can lead us to faith, and every  meeting is an assurance that God will restore us to sanity if we rightly relate ourselves to Him.
-from http://www.aa.org

February 20, 2014

Nearing the end of February, and I find myself wanting to reflect more and more on the second step of the Twelve Steps. Tonight I spent some time researching Rageaholics Anonymous. I even found a phone meet-up and wondered if I would have the courage to join in on one of the conference calls.  There don’t seem to be any meetings in Baltimore; I would prefer to meet face to face with people, but I suppose a conference call is better than doing nothing at all.

My therapist suggested that I find an AA meeting in town.  Without too much effort I could present myself as an alcoholic, he suggested, and then I would gain admission to the group.  He cautioned me that if I tried to join saying that I’m actually a rageaholic but that I want to be part of a group, they  might not let me in.

Sure, I could present myself as an alcoholic.  I have turned to drink many times when I felt sad, or angry, or uptight.  I relied on drinking when I felt nervous in a social setting and wanted to “take the edge off.”  I have been so drunk that my body began to violently reject what I had poured into it, in an effort to save itself from being poisoned, evidence of its impulse to survive at all costs.  I have driven when I certainly shouldn’t have, and was lucky enough to not hurt anyone or myself.  I have allowed drinking to cloud my mind so that I wouldn’t experience true connection with my family or myself.  Sure, I could pass for an alcoholic.  Because I might actually be an alcoholic.  It doesn’t really matter that I haven’t had a drink since last August and that I haven’t missed it much at all.  The truth is, I have engaged in many addictive behaviors in my lifetime, the consequences of which I am not the least bit proud.  I want to explore these behaviors in the context of an established system that has proven results, if one is willing to do what needs to be done.  I think I am.

It would be nice to join a group.  I think in the end what I’m really looking for is connection, for support, a sense of being a part of something, being included.  Could I find this connection with myself, support myself, include myself?  I think I wouldn’t be asking these questions if I were already capable of such self-honoring.

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February 28, 2014

It’s the last day of February and I’m exhausted from four sleepless nights in a row.  The Wellbutrin is having its way with me. I’m not supposed to be looking for an improvement in my mood before two weeks have passed, and this is the minimum window of time in which one can expect for the drug to take effect.  And there is the painful irony:  I’m taking this medicine with hopes of someday feeling better, but while waiting for that to happen, I’m being deprived of rest, of respite from my neurotic mind. I feel myself slipping into a downward spiral of impatience, resentment, anxiety, overwhelm, loneliness, sheer exhaustion, and I’m just feeling a whole lot worse.  It isn’t supposed to be like this, is it?

And yet, I am a mother.  I must be there to take care of my kids, to provide for their needs.  I’m getting caught up in my thoughts, and my son or daughter is whimpering, calling out.  They’re getting fussy with one another.  My son resists having his diaper changed and gets poop all over his hands, his legs.  My daughter doesn’t go willingly to the bathroom on her own; she needs to be coaxed, offered incentives.  Making lunch seems like a huge, nearly insurmountable task, all I want to do is lie down, rest, and let someone else be the mother.

But I push through, and inside, I am screaming.  My son scampers out of the room and starts pulling things off of bookshelves, out of drawers.  He does this while I’m trying to help my daughter with a puzzle that is probably too complex for her.  I dash after the boy to clean up the messes he has made, to avoid the worsening of the messes–and my daughter cries out in frustration because she has reached an impasse and needs my help.  I am running back and forth, from room to room, the house is in disarray.  I want rest. Inside I am screaming.

It is 1:41pm, and the kids are in their rooms for nap time. I take a deep breath.  I’m looking forward to teaching restorative yoga tonight; it might be the only moment today in which I experience peace, centeredness, stillness.  I take another deep breath, peace is now. Only now.

The second step reads:

I came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore my life to sanity.

As I look back on what I’ve experienced the past two months, and as I look forward into the third month and the third step, I feel pretty complete in this moment, as far as my step work goes.  I don’t have a group or a sponsor, but I do believe that a power greater than myself can restore my life to sanity.  Maybe the higher power is God, maybe it’s Wellbutrin, who knows?  All that is really important here is my belief.

And I do believe.