I never realized before I came into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous that I was an alcoholic, and I never even knew what an alcoholic really meant. When I heard the word alcoholism , I always pictured a homeless old man, toothless and sitting under an overpass. I was uneducated on just how many people the disease of alcoholism and addiction affected. Once I was brought to my knees by my own mal-adaptation to drinking and well, life, I learned that alcoholism and addiction come in all different shapes and sizes. I learned that alcoholism is really an obsession of the mind, and an allergy of the body and that when we are sober, our mental obsession can act out in a multitude of ways. My addiction pops up in relationships, eating, shopping, sleeping, and negative thinking. Not to mention, when I’m in active addiction, I always need more and more.
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“We are equally positive that once he takes any alcohol into his system, something happens, both in the bodily and mental sense, which makes it virtually impossible to stop.”
-Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholism – The Consumption of Liquor/Drugs
For most of us who are already darkening the doors of AA/NA/CA meetings, we are well aware of the phenomenon of craving and how we have been affected by it. However, for those of you who may not be familiar with it, it can be easily summed up in a short sentence… once we start, we cannot stop. Most of us usually would stop once the money ran out, we got arrested, jumped and beaten, etc. etc. and even then, if all those things happened and someone put a drink or a line in front of my face, you’re darn tootin’ I would have done it. No matter what consequences I was faced with due to my using, I could only think of one thing, more. I had a one-track mind, and that track only led down the miserable and lonely road of, how to continue getting wasted. Even if I knew I had an important job interview, class, or even just the drive home, I didn’t care, once I had one drink, line, shot, my only concern was continuing the process. I hurt people, lied, stole, and hurt myself to get what I needed. It didn’t matter, because I am an alcoholic, and I have a disease of more.
This is probably one of the most troubling aspects of addiction to outsiders, as normal drinkers are baffled when they see what we put ourselves through to get drunk and high. They don’t understand why, even when our lives are falling apart, the rent or mortgage isn’t paid, and we are down to our last dollar, we spend it on a cheap tall boy. Some alcoholics will tell you that they use because it is the only time they feel okay. Others will say they use because of their external circumstances being so bad (usually due to their using but they will never admit it). Regardless of what the excuse is, it is mind boggling to non-alcoholics that we are just unable to put the bottle, pipe, needle, or straw down.
The issue that is underlying our disease of more, is just that. We have an illness. Scoff if you want, I did at first too. An allergy? But I don’t have hives, I don’t need an epi-pen, what gives? An allergy is the body’s negative reaction to an external substance. Okay, it’s starting to make a little sense. But what about the mind? Why can’t we just not start if we know we have an allergy? Because unlike other allergies, ours also has a mental aspect, we have an obsession to use and abuse the one thing that we cannot safely use.It’s pure insanity, it would be similar to a person who is allergic to bee-stings, walking through a honey farm covered in flowers, simply because they enjoyed the way the stings felt. It’s crazy, and it doesn’t make any sense, but trust me when I say, our addiction confuses us just as much as it does the outsider.
Alcoholism – So What About When We Get Sober?
Okay great! You have admitted complete defeat over your addiction and you decided to work a program. That is awesome, you rock, welcome back to the real world. Okay congratulations aside, now here is your warning. You have a disease of MORE. Removing the drugs and alcohol, which were previously just a symptom of your disease, means that you will now probably experience the phrase we all like to call, “replacing one addiction with another.” Don’t be alarmed, you are not the first person to find out just how much you love to binge eat, gamble, have sex, and shop once you stopped drinking and getting high. I’d put good money on you not being the last either. However, just because this can happen to all of us, does not mean that it is something that we can let get out of hand. Again, we always want more. We get sober, after years of being complete wastes of life, and all of a sudden we expect to have the best job, the most money, the best body, the perfect relationship, etc. etc. When we let ourselves fall victim to our disease acting out in a multitude of ways, we are really just hindering our growth process. We must learn the ancient art of balance. We want what we want, and we want it now. But if you are working a 12 step program, then you are probably familiar with the phrase, “We make plans, and God laughs.” Whatever we put before our sobriety, whether it is money, relationships, clothes, the job, and even our families, we will lose. And when I say we will lose, I mean, because we are mal-adapted to life and we are probably gonna screw it up. If our higher power, and our sobriety, do not fall under the category of something we want, not more, but the MOST, then everything else will be lost.
So if you have the disease of more, and you are lucky enough to have gotten your butt a seat in these rooms, save yourself, your loved ones, and everyone else the heartbreak. Make this your MORE. Be here. Be all in. You’ve probably tried every other way. What have you got to lose?
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