I’ll be the first to tell you that there is no ‘old white dude in the sky’ that controls us like puppets on a string. I am not a religious person at all, so when it comes to the second step, I make no pronouncements about when, if or why ‘God’ acts among us.
All that said, I know that I didn’t stop drinking on my own. I can point to the dozens of my failed attempts at sobriety to prove that I was incapable of making it stick.
Yet, here I was. Sober. Through no real proactive action or belief.
Over the years I’ve had many theories about what happened to me. I’ve heard many ‘experts’ give me their appraisal of the events – though none were there. The only person present – me – still can’t truly grasp how it happened.
The truth remains, it did. I am sober. With the exception of a very few instances over the past two decades, I’ve not even entertained the idea of starting up again.
Personally, I think I’d just had enough.
To have known me before, you would not recognize who I am today. You would not see a path from that guy to me. It just seems highly unlikely that he could just… stop.
For me – and I truly only speak for my own experience – I take the second step quite literally: I came to believe that a power greater than myself could restore me to sanity.
I can’t argue with the result, and I have no real idea how it happened. I only know I didn’t do it. Thus, something – some force or even some subconscious thought – flipped a switch in my life. Over the years, I’ve come to believe that this – whatever it was – is real.
I make it sound so easy. Trust me, it was not.
Living Life on Life’s Terms
The pain was not the worst though. Years later – fully 100% sober – I would find far worse pain than I ever knew drinking. Standing on a hotel balcony in Houston, Texas with few options… but that’s a whole other story!
That’s the problem with sobriety – and sanity – you know what’s happening. You notice the second step says nothing about ‘restore us to happiness’ or ‘solve all our problems’.
So what’s the upside then? All the pain and torment of a real life with no anesthesia does not sound like fun!
Without the cloud of booze and its accompanying haze of panic, debauchery and fear I get to see a path through the tears.
For me, that’s the best promise of sobriety. Life happens. We can’t avoid that. How we react is our only tool to keep us happy, healthy and progressing. Being sober, I don’t get trapped in the endless physical and emotional morass.
I’m sober. I didn’t make it happen, but I do have to live with the consequences.
But Wait, There’s More!
All this sounds so gloomy! Is there nothing to recommend a life without booze, drugs and debauchery? Absolutely!
The first two steps are all about the problem! The third step is a promise, and the rest are all about progress!
In many areas, they speak at meetings about ‘qualification’ as a way of showing that you understand the problems faced by your sober community. In essence, you belong.
I’m one for not ‘staying in the problem’. Spiraling on about my shitty life as a drunk is not going to help anyone. Living sober is more about ‘living’ than anything else. As they say, my alcoholism was only a symptom of a deeper issue. Clean up the booze and I was still a mess.
My story is only here as an example of hope.
It gets better, it truly does.
Stay tuned… The best is yet to come.