I have heard people say things like “just stop drinking you will be fine.” That statement really couldn’t be further from the truth. I thought the same thing about my husband’s drinking. I would say “if you didn’t drink things would be so different.” They were different but NOT in a good way (at first). You see if someone is just putting down their substance of choice and not getting into emotional recovery then the only thing you do is remove your numbing agent but you still carry that deep seeded pain and anxiety of what you are running from in the first place. Or whatever haunts you will follow you until you face it.
Don’t get me wrong a desire to stop drinking and admitting your life has become unmanageable is your first step, BUT what I learned very quickly is sobriety is about the journey through self discovery in recovery. Once you surrender (completely…..Mind, Body, Soul) that is when you will feel the change begin. My husband has just reached his 4 years of sobriety, which is an amazing accomplishment in itself. We are all so very proud of him and he is proud of himself. We also know that sobriety doesn’t mean you won’t have troubles in your life because life still happens but learning how to cope with these issues on a whole different level is a big part of recovery.
Recently my husband has had some struggles with old alcoholic behaviors. He found himself behaving in some of the same ways that he use to when he drank. He was becoming short with his comments and not very nice at times. He said he could see what he was doing but wasn’t quit sure how he could change it, but he knows what he needs to do for himself. Sometimes that old enemy “alcoholism” is sitting right over your shoulder trying to convince you to have that “one drink”. I know my husband and that way of thinking is NOT a good path to go down. He went to a meeting the next morning and said that more meetings would be helpful. He has the tools and he knows what he needs to do to change his thought process. However, if you don’t put the effort into action then things will inevitably get much worse. More meetings, reading his big book, reaching out to the other guys in the program as well as his sponsor are all things you learn to do because you don’t have to struggle alone. In these meetings we go to no matter how much time someone has you will still hear the struggles they have in their sobriety. One man this weekend that spoke has 31 years of sobriety. He said “when I start acting up my wife will put me in my place.” It’s not in a mean way it is more of a nudge to say your falling off your path. Sometimes we need that though, we don’t always see our own faults until we hear that we are hurting someone else.
For anyone who is working on change no matter if you have an addiction problem or not change can be so hard, but it can also be easy when you are tired of behaving in the same ways that create a negative energy that hurt the ones we love and ourselves. The only way I feel we get better is to hold ourselves accountable for our own behaviors. The best example I can give you is if you are saying or doing something to another person and it is creating pain for them then you are clearly on the wrong path. The worst pattern someone gets into is when they blame another person by not taking responsibility. That doesn’t mean you have to follow down that same path. Sometimes saying nothing at all is your best defense.
When I speak of “old alcoholic behaviors” what that means is handling a situation in ways that you use too. An example I could give you would be something like my husband would leave our house without saying goodbye or telling me he was going, I would just find him gone. It would be to become verbally abusive. It could be to sit in your “self-entitlement” and refuse to see you have strayed way off your path of recovery. Blaming others for your bad behaviors, ETC. It isn’t about picking up a drink it is about your insides getting out of control and allowing the devil to take over again. Alcoholic behaviors can happen in your ways of thinking without your lips even touching a drop of alcohol! Sometimes I hear people share in a meeting that they have lost someone they love, even their spouses. They say when life gives them every reason to drink and they don’t, that is when they know they are keeping their life on the right path and using the tools they have learned to remain not only sober but in the state of recovery. Honestly, the best thing anyone of us could do is to clean out our emotional house and face those demons and stop allowing them to control our way of being.
We all have things that haunt us, hurt us, changed us, make us angry. In the end though when you learn how to tackle each of these hurts one by one you will begin to feel such a sense of relief in the way you feel everyday. You will be so happy that you didn’t pick up your drug of choice to get through it because to me the only reason we pick up those habits and medicate ourselves in the first place is because we don’t want to face other things. We use the drug of choice as a shield to “protect” us, but the truth of the matter is it causes you and others so much more harm because alcohol/drugs give you a false sense of reality. It will tell you what you want to hear so you keep coming back falling deeper into your addictions. The only thing that sets you free is surrendering, complete honesty, accountability, making amends, and live those amends everyday. Even the worst situation can’t become worse without fuel……..if you stop fueling it and find a way to extinguish it instead and learn the lesson from it then you are on your way to a much more positive place. After all, we all want a life worth living. Now is your chance to take those demons down and live your life in ways you only dreamed of but never thought possible. You got this, with every little step your life will continue to get better and pretty soon even your worse days sober will be better than your best being loaded!
Wishing you Peace & Serenity…………Harmony