Recovering Alcoholic – That is Who I Am

“We already have everything we need to be magnificent; it is simply a matter of allowing ourselves to be who we are. Suffering comes from our own resistance to being who we are…” Rolf Gates (Meditations from the Mat)

My daily discipline of reading some texts (Meditations From the Mat – Rolf Gates, Daily Reflections – Members of AA, The Language of Letting Go – Melody Beattie) and then doing Morning Pages (Julia Cameron – The Artist’s Way) has been very rewarding. It is tough to wake up even earlier each day to get this done but I am finding the effort is worth the inconvenience of leaving my warm bed sooner than I want to. Truths are revealed to me as I engage in this daily practice. This morning I became aware of the fact that so much of my suffering over the past decades has been a result of my resistance to the truth of who I am. I am a person who cannot, under any circumstances, drink alcohol and expect to live a “magnificent” life. I have tirelessly tried to change that truth. I have made deals with my higher power – “…if I buy this homeless guy dinner, please let me suffer no consequences from consuming the double bottle of wine in my shopping bag tonight…” I have set limits and rules around my drinking. All have been broken – usually immediately after making them. I have read books on the topic of how to become a normal drinker. I have switched drinks. Drank water between drinks. I have tried and tried and tried to change the fundamental truth that the first drink I take triggers obsessive consumption the minute I pick up and the only way to solve it, for me, is abstinence. No matter how much effort, planning or money spent, NOT A SINGLE THING ever worked to change me from an addictive drinker to a casual or “normal” one. Nothing. Ever. Recently there has been a shift. I have ceased resisting – much of the time – progress not perfection. I have begun to make some tentative, baby steps toward embracing this truth about myself in my heart of hearts and I have begun to experience the beginning of peace. This is who I am. Some people cannot eat peanuts or they die. Some can’t have shellfish. Dairy can be a super bad plan for some. For me, it’s booze. Always has been, and always will be. I can resist this and die a spiritual death and risk a physical one. Or I can deal with it and move on. Whatever I resist will persist and cause unnecessary suffering (direct quote from my yoga teacher).

We were out to a play last evening. Intermission arrived and I noticed a woman clutching her glass of wine like it was a precious child. I recognized the desperation with which she gripped her glass. She was a mirror of myself when I was drinking in that very venue not so long ago. Who gave a shit about the play or concert or whatever. My only concern was the bar and ensuring the plan for “…just one more..” was secured and executed. I was in denial about who I am. I was resisting all of the glaring evidence that showed me over and over and over that I needed to put the glass down for good if I wanted a “magnificent” life as described in the quote above. I was pretending that drinking was a “just fine” choice for me. I was pretending I could drink like the next person. I was ignoring the foundational truth that I cannot drink normally. And man oh man, did I experience MAJOR suffering by resisting the truth of who I am. At the end of the evening we walked by her and her partner. She could not keep both of her eyes open at once. Been there. She needed to lean on him to remain standing. Been there. She likely would not remember the hilarious play we had all just experienced. Been there. That is a painful place to be and if I choose to deny, debate, or resist the truth that alcohol is poison in my system than I wholeheartedly agree to more suffering. Enough. Today I am grateful to be in a place of acceptance about who I am. Today, I am not resisting the truth of who I am. This is an ongoing process and I will undoubtedly go two steps forward, and one step back. But I am headed in a “magnificent” direction nonetheless. I am a woman who is waaaaay better off sober. I sent out many prayers, thoughts, and blessings to my sister who was a mirror to me last night. I pray that last night was just a “bad night” for her and if it was more than that, I pray she finds freedom in the truth of who she is…

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12 thoughts on “Recovering Alcoholic – That is Who I Am”

  1. Yes. It is a process.
    I completely embrace that I am magnificent. That I shine with a bright light of love and compassion. And so are you. And so do you. We all have this within us.

    Sadly, I was drowning it all in alcohol. And that was a shame. And so very unnecessary.

    We have opened our eyes. Once you do that there is no easy was to close them. That will bring deep suffering.

    In recovery we do find freedom. And life.

    Beautiful post. I am so glad you are on this path with me.

    Anne

  2. Great post sober sister. I really am enjoying your blog and yoga has been a huge too for me as well this time around. I remember that feeling of never saying no to an offer of a drink and hoping and waiting to be asked. At a bar, I always ensured i had drink in hand or was twitchy until I made it happen. Our brains are different from the non-addicted and that’s that. I couldn’t believe my eyes last night when I was cleaning up before bed and had to empty my husband’s half drank glass of wine in the sink… I held it to my nose which is located dangerously close to my mouth but it did go down the drain… sigh.. you are finding your magnificence here and now and we all see it even if you don’t. xoxo

  3. Such a brave post. I’ve been sober for 13 years and still have moments where the memory of where I was when i was drinking is too much to bear. There was a lot of shame, a lot of danger, depression. I feel so grateful, though, to have had those experiences because it brought me to where I am now. I appreciate reading posts like yours so much because it is a reminder that I need to always be diligent in my journey. Alcohol is a poison for me too.

  4. All your words ring true for me. I tried everything to be a “normal” drinker for YEARS. No such thing for me. I agree that the shift has been to cease resisting. It is in the surrendering that I just can’t control alcohol anymore. I know this on a cellular level now. And, you know, I actually like being sober! I still romanticize drinking sometimes but when I really think about it I know I would just feel like crap. So grateful to find this path!

  5. That post was just what I neeeded. Thank you. Youve given me strength on day 2 since my own realisation and decision to live life sober. Good going sister

    1. I have tears in my eyes as I read your comment. I am wishing you tons of strength on your journey – the early days can be tough going but man oh man is this life worth it. Keep on reading the sober blogs out there – they sure gave me strength and continue to do so…

  6. I will. I had never thought to look up recovery blogs, but it’s helping me so much, I’ve woken up this morning and am reading more with a cup of tea. I’m welling up too because at long last the denial is over. God bless you all who blog your stories. Thank you.

  7. Getting past the denial and back and forth of “to drink or not to drink” is so freeing. That debate and the resulting regret when I did decide to drink was frankly exhausting. So glad to spend that energy on more important things now. Keep on reading – maybe write your own story on a blog too?!

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