And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today

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And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today

Postby rumtussle » Sun Oct 14, 2012 9:56 am

Hi all,

I'm an alcoholic in recovery. I was in AA from 1986-1994, during which I accumulated 4 years of sobriety at one point. Came back to AA in 2010, and had 20 months of sobriety until I relapsed a few weeks ago. I'm now at 34 days.

I have a sponsor, a service position, and a home group. I've worked the steps multiple times, and attend several meetings a week (3 to 7, as often as I can go, because meetings are one of my favorite things!). I do page 86-87 every day, and I'm active in fellowship as well. The relapse I had a few weeks ago did not come as a huge surprise however. I've been looking over the few months leading up to it and have learned several things.

1. I am an alcoholic. Page 24 informs me that most alcoholics have lost the power of choice in drink, that we are sometimes unable to bring to mind what happens when we drink (I'm paraphrasing here). Page 85 tells me that my daily reprieve from my disease (particularly from the mental obsession) is contingent on the maintenance of my spiritual condition. When my spiritual condition slips (and trust me, it doesn't always take a whole day) I am back to what I believe is my natural state: desiring the next thing that's going to make me feel better.

2. No matter how much I've worked the program, I can always learn more. I never master this thing. I can (and have) worked half a dozen fourth steps, but that doesn't insure me from ever feeling resentment or fear again. Also: I can pray to have fear or resentment removed, but that doesn't mean that it automatically will be removed, particularly if I keep grabbing back at it. The last few months I had a specific resentment towards a previous sponsor, and did a thorough 4th-7th step on it. Never got to 8 or 9 though, and I mistakenly thought I had to be free of the resentment to make a "good" amends. After I relapsed, I wasted no time making the amends as thoroughly as possible, and it was through that process that the resentment was removed. This was an eye-opener for me, as I'd always had the impression that you have to "get over it" before you can thoroughly make amends for it.

3. Joking about specific drugs or alcoholic drinks -- even if I'm very funny -- and I always am, at least in my own mind -- does not stand me in good stead. I may think I'm being dark and cynical and clever, and I may be getting lots of laughs of recognition and entertaining an entire meeting, but if I'm spending time describing a specific drink, it's probably both an indication that there's some resistance to sobriety AND a way of building resistance to sobriety. My new practice is to share in a general way -- to refrain from describing specific aspects of specific drinks or what I got from a specific using episode or what romanced me about alcohol.

4. (And this is a big one): Relapse doesn't allow me to start over. In my heart of hearts I was getting sick of the responsibility that goes with being sober for a period of time, and I was tired of the 9th step work and my service positions. I knew from previous experience that if I relapsed, my sponsor would start me back on step 1 and I would be relieved of my responsibilities. Guess what? Not only was I not relieved of my responsibilities, but my sponsor turned up the heat and raised the stakes on my 9th step. So yeah. This time it wasn't an out.

And finally -

5. I was lucky to make it back. I keep forgetting this one. I keep thinking that because I'm relatively youngish (in my 40s) and not that low a bottom (7 institutions and living in my car at one point, but you know--not actually homeless or toothless), I can afford one more slip. Two weeks ago a friend of mine in the program lost her 44-year-old boyfriend to that same thinking. I knew him, knew that he had some of the really intense intellectualism that haunts some of us and makes it hard for us to accept some of the experience of the folks in the rooms. He died in his sleep; the general belief is that he'd had so much to drink that he didn't wake up when he had his usual sleep apnea episode. So there is a lot of sadness there (as there always is) but also a reminder to me: I don't have to drink for years or use fancy designer drugs to die in one stupid night.

Wow -- this introduction was long. Anyway, nice to meet you people. : )
rumtussle
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Re: And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today

Postby jakpar » Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:21 am

welcome to eAA rumtussle,
glad you found us!
Jack

"We are of service by accepting responsibility for the authority God has given us and by respecting the authority God has given to others"
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Re: And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today

Postby Mike O » Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:48 am

Welcome to the group rumtussle,

Thanks for your post. Very observant and it will help others.

-Mike :D
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Re: And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today

Postby PaigeB » Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:00 am

I don't have to like it, but it is what it is & THAT is what I have to accept. Reality is good.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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Re: And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today

Postby Tommy-S » Sun Oct 14, 2012 11:33 am

Welcome Rumtussle,

Good stuff. Look forward to hearing more from you.

Thanks... Tommy
Together, we don't have to cave in or wimp out to that Fatal First One, no matter what today!
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Re: And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today

Postby Karl R » Sun Oct 14, 2012 12:15 pm

Hello There.

Welcome to E-AA.

Thanks for giving us the view from the other side. And for sharing your examination of how you got there.

You've helped us all today.

kind regards,
Karl
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Re: And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today

Postby Squawking Hawk » Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:25 am

Rumtussle,

Thanks for sharing your story with us and welcome to e-AA. I needed to hear what you had to say today. Thank-you!

I always hope that I may remain teachable in these rooms, and to remember that it doesn't matter how many days or months or years of sober time that I have, I am only one drink away from a drunk.

And I am reminded, again, about how dangerous resentments are.

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