by Chris Freeman
Let me continue my story by quoting Dr. Bob, co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous as he wrote in the Big Book of AA on page 161 from the Chapter, “Doctor Bob’s Nightmare” –
“If you still think you are strong enough to beat the game alone, that is your affair. But if you really and truly want to quit drinking liquor for good and all, and sincerely feel that you must have some help, we know that we have an answer for you. It never fails, if you go about it with one-half the zeal you have been in the habit of showing when you were getting another drink.”
I came into the rooms of recovery many years ago, it was in 1979 when I attended my first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. That was 38 years ago. In that time I have attended thousands of meetings, with-in Alcoholics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, and Narcotics Anonymous. I would love to say I have 38 years of clean and sober time but that would not be honest. What I have is 38 years of exposure to the only solution I have ever known. However, most of the last 38 years were not fashioned in the way Doctor Bob prescribed in the aforementioned quote.
Just what do I mean by that?
Well, when I was using and drinking it seemed as if all of my efforts in life were just in doing that; drinking and using. I was totally engaged and had an extra supply of zeal in doing so.
When I would drink and use drugs I would exhibit passion, ardor, devotion, enthusiasm, eagerness, appetite, relish, gusto, vigor, energy, and intensity!
When I was drinking and using I would have a great sense of urgency, interest, attraction, and captivation.
My mind and actions were, engrossed, absorbed, and occupied.
I was devoted, enthusiastic, and committed.
The history of my addiction and alcoholism involved an obsession, a 24 hour round the clock preoccupation that drove me into oblivion and landed me wherever it wanted to, whenever it wanted to. For those folks that do not understand, I could only describe it as pure insanity.
I was willing at anytime, anywhere, to do, say, feel, think, act, lie, steal, embezzle, convince, con, spend, forge, deal, perpetrate, cajole, and manipulate anything or anyone, including myself, to meet the needs the desires of my incessant hunger for the next hit, drink or fix.
Addiction and alcoholism were my masters. I was a slave to their cunning grip, squeezing my soul and spirit into worthless dust. Blown into any direction they wished. Taking and removing every hope and dream, no more love, or comfort. Only misery and pain.
My friends showed me and instructed me that if I were to let go of my “old ideas” and open my mind up to a new way of thinking, then maybe I might have what they have. They told of a surrender, a giving in the process, conceding the fight.
Their guidance led me to an understanding, that what they were describing, was, in fact, real and could be mine if I were to pay a price and have an honest desire to do so.
The process was explained to me and it was made very clear that if I were to put forth the same effort and zeal, with enthusiasm as if I had just been cured of a terminal disease and that if I were to engage my recovery as I had engaged my addictions, then I could enjoy the same peace and happiness that they were experiencing. I was given a new direction to follow that did provide me with just that, and much, much more.
I needed the discipline and direction they spoke of. I had at one time, thought of discipline as being punishment. Today the discipline of recovery is the guiding force of my very life.
If I were to pay attention and focus, with the same intensity as I did while I was using or getting ready to use, then I would reap the benefit of a fulfilling and meaningful purpose in life. I would gain access to a Power that, they said, would change everything!
My friends were absolutely right. One moment it was one way, and then all of a sudden, everything changed, as if my reality in the universe has transitioned into a new realm. They called this a transformation or a spiritual change. It was the psychic change the good Doctor Silkworth had written in his letter about many years ago.
One of our promises that the recovery process produces is what we call, “a new freedom and a new happiness.”
I describe it this way:
Today, I go all day long with a new desire, hope, meaning, and purpose. I go all day long without the thought of drinking or using, but more miraculous to me is that I go all day long not even thinking about how I am not going to drink or use.
Wow. Don’t think about drinking and don’t think about not drinking. The problem has been removed.
All that was needed was my participation in my own recovery. Just because the wind quit blowing doesn’t mean the storm is over. It just might be the eye you’re standing in. It seems that when we quit drinking and using the problems would go away and we would be able to regain our status in life, but this is not so if you suffer from what I have suffered from.
I have learned to engage recovery. I cannot give addiction an inch, no wiggle room for this ex-hopeless dopefiend. Today I am a hopeless hope fiend. New purpose and meaning fill me with passion. My name is Chris. I am a recovered alcoholic and drug addict.
I stand along with my friends on the firing line of life ready to reach out to the still lost and broken. I will always tell them the truth and offer the solution that was passed on to me.
Until next time, Chris Freeman