Unquenchable Thirst

 

And so our troubles, we think, were basically of our own making.

The Big Book 

My blog is almost three years old and I’ve begun to think about it in different terms. I’ve skated around a few issues here and there, but mostly written about the many things that have a positive influence in my life.

Originally when I began, my website URL was Everyday Life in Recovery. Then I switched it to Katherine’s Daughter. I’m ready to share with you what that was all about and why it is still such a huge part of my life.

About eighteen years ago my life changed in a big way. Someone near me made the decision to stop drinking alcohol. It was a profound decision, one that I really didn’t realize the gravity of until much later.

You probably know someone who drinks just a bit too much. Maybe you know someone who overdoes other things too much.  Just for today I’m going to talk about alcohol but you can substitute the words food, gambling, pornography, drugs, sex, video games, control, anger, and money- anything that can be an obsession or fodder for over use. Because what I’ve learned is- addiction is addiction- doesn’t matter what it is.

I’ve read some good stuff on the internet lately about recovery. It is amazing to see people talking about it. The holidays are coming and I used to love and hate the season. It was usually a tension filled time. There were unrealistic expectations on my part. Sometimes depression and anxiety. Controlling situations meant more work and ultimately, more disappointments.

I don’t have the obsession to drink. If I have one or two glasses of wine in a month, that is about it. But since my life is affected by drinkers I go to a twelve step meeting for those who love an alcoholic. To respect the anonymity of my friends, I am not going to divulge any names. To follow the traditions of the program, I’m not going to name the group. You can easily find a twelve step program on the internet.

Going to recovery meetings has affected my life in such a positive way. Members share their experience, hope and strength. No one tells me I should do it this way or that. It is there I learn how not to be absorbed by behaviors or situations around me. I make an effort to mind my own business. I try not to stick my nose where it doesn’t belong.

The twelve steps are a calming force in my life. They enable me to have quality relationships with others and with my family. It is work, yes. Even after all these years I still go every week. The biggest thing it helps me with is setting boundaries.

I’ve always been a fixer, a take charge person. And I’ve prided myself on that. And that is something to be proud of unless you prevent someone from hitting their own bottom, or interfere where you shouldn’t. The meetings have taught me where in that line falls.

Now here’s no big secret. I love going to open twelve step meetings where alcoholics meet up. I love when the chairperson reads the promises. I love when the recovering speaker gets to the podium and shares his or her story. Wow. (and it’s usually a whopper). Guess what? It is rarely the bum under the bridge. It is the successful businessman, the hard worker, the mother, the wife, the son or daughter, the CEO of his or her own company. Alcoholism doesn’t discriminate. It affects everyone.

By the time I leave the meeting I am uplifted. I have often thought that you cannot get closer to God than being in a room full of recovering drunks. Honestly, I so love and respect them. They have taught me so much.

I love the slogans of both programs like “Easy Does It” and “Keep It Simple.” There’s a lot of forgiveness in the rooms, and just as easily, accountability. The alcoholics keep each other sober by sharing experience, hope and strength. They work their own twelve step program. It works when they work it, just as it does for me.

All these years later and I am still in awe of my friends who chose to put the drink down and live life without numbing themselves. Alcohol is so glamorized in tv and media and I can’t help thinking what a monumental task is it to quit. But from what I can see it is worth it. That’s when the living really begins.

 

 

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16 thoughts on “Unquenchable Thirst

  1. Cathy McElhaney

    What a powerful post Joanne. I need to find a 12 step in my area. I belong to several awesome groups on Facebook, that have helped tremendously. My favorite one is called “OurAnon” and it encompasses many addictions. There is also another one called The Addict’s Mom, G2G and they are all mothers of addicts raising their grand children due to their children’s addictions…oh my gosh the strength and support in that group is amazing! People ‘get’ what I am going through! Some stories truly make me realize how ‘lucky’ I am.
    I have learned that addiction IS a disease. A brain disease. The ‘chemicals’ change the brain chemistry causing them to think differently. I recently read a post in one of my groups that the persons ALO (Addicted Loved One) compared their drug use to the person’s necessary to live medication! They said that their doc (drug of choice) helped them mentally, so it was the same as the other person’s blood pressure medicine! The sad thing is…this person BELIEVED what they were saying was truth because the drug changes their perception of truth. The person even went on to say that it’s not like they are ‘shooting heroin or anything’…yeah, some addicts just don’t get it!
    Thank you for sharing Joanne!

    Reply
    1. Joanne Cain Post author

      Cathy, so glad you have reached out to groups. This is a huge help and makes us feel like we are not alone. There so much addiction and yes, the thinking is sometimes way off balance.
      Kudos to you for educating yourself. And I again thank you for your support!
      xo Joanne

      Reply
  2. Denise Hisey

    Joanne, your vulnerability is so powerful in this post. I agree that anyone who finds the strength to give up their addiction is admirable. And I really like how you said ‘addiction is addiction’. It’s so easy to point fingers at someone else’s addiction that’s so much worse than our own, but the reality is addictions are created to relieve pain. They may look different but they come from the same place. We are all seeking to be pain-free.

    Reply
    1. Joanne Cain Post author

      So true Denise! Who wants any kind of pain! Thank you for your support as this was important to me to get this out there. Recovery is a huge part of my life and it has given me so much.
      Blessings,
      Joanne

      Reply
  3. Sunday's Child (trying to be full of grace).

    Once again, I stop by, read a few of your words strung together and instantly feel bathed in Grace.
    While I do not drink, alcohol has caused a variety of problems in our extended families.
    I love the way you talk about going to a group once a week and they offer up acceptance and HOPE.
    Geesh, just think if every single one of us went to some type of group once a week and were offered HOPE?
    I think we would all be better off.
    Your words were powerful. Thank you for being brave enough to share.
    I in turn will be sharing your blog post with several friends and family.
    Hugs from the left coast,
    D

    Reply
    1. Joanne Cain Post author

      I appreciate your support. This is not an easy subject to talk about and I think most people want to sweep it under the rug and forget about it.
      You fill my life with grace as well and I am grateful to call you friend. <3
      xo

      Reply
  4. Marianne

    Beautiful, as always, Joanne…you really do know how to utilize words effectively. Though I don’t drink, I have known a couple who do, and even within my own family I am now finding out from some cousins, that their parents were alcoholics…but you are correct that many things can become addictive. Thank you for sharing your awesome tribute to some very brave people.

    Hugs,
    Marianne xo

    Reply
    1. Joanne Cain Post author

      Marianne, this was probably by far the deepest post I have ever written. I’ve been reading much lately about blogging and what I’ve heard is that to grow your blog you have to be honest. So that is what I’m doing. I want to keep writing and right now, I have the time for it, Thanks to God. I know from experience that alcoholism touches many lives. It’s hard to believe but my spirituality is what it is because of those people who are recovering, and who have blessed my life.
      xo Joanne

      Reply
  5. Marylin Warner

    Joanne, many thanks for writing and sharing this. We never had alcohol in our home when I was growing up. My dad had seen so much abuse in his uncle’s home and the homes of others that he feared it, and it supported my mother’s Brethren religion to not drink alcohol. However, your comment about the MANY types of addiction rang very true. Fighting off one addiction often covers over another. Bless you for pointing that out, and for sharing your experiences.

    Reply
    1. Joanne Cain Post author

      Marylin, thank you for sharing about your family. It was not hard to write this post, but it was alittle hard to share it. Many of my friends know of this part of my life, but some do not. I have felt a desire to make it more known for some time. I’m sure God is nudging me to bring it to light. If the post brings one person to reach out for help, it is worth it.
      Thank you! Joanne

      Reply
  6. Cathy

    We are all touched by the disease it seems, in some way. I can trace the thread back at least three generations in my family. A program of recovery saved my life.

    Reply
    1. Joanne Cain Post author

      How blessed you are! I’m sure you have been an inspiration to many. May your Higher Power bring you more people that would benefit from your example.
      xo Joanne

      Reply
  7. Cindy

    Hi Joanne, I agree this is a difficut subject to talk about, and I commend you for sharing! This post was a wonderful way to “carry the message to others. ” It is just amazing what unfolds when we are open and honest about addiction. Thank you for sharing your “hope!” I truly believe people in recovery from addiction are miracles helping God do his work here on earth. God bless….

    Reply
  8. Laurie Hertneky

    What a true blessing you are, Joanne, and God is so good to have you write about this now. Thank you for your courage.

    I am entering the recovery process right now. Seriously. I have just finished detox for a pill issue that got way out of hand, and will enter treatment on Monday. As the words come off my fingers, I can hardly believe it. Most of all, I can hardly believe how prevalent all of this is. Not just the addiction, but the collateral damage in the wake of this powerful disease.

    While I have dabbled in the 12 steps before, I’m sure you have an idea of the huge presence they will now have in my life. I only hope that my loved ones will find solace in the 12 step programs as well. It’s so good to know how much your life has changed because of the program.

    It works if you work it. Keep me in your prayers as I baby step my way through. And then, maybe a meeting together when I’m in town?

    Love you!

    Reply
    1. Joanne Cain Post author

      Oh Laurie, I am with you heart and soul! I wondered why I felt so compelled to write this post and now I know. You are the reason for sure.
      I would love to meet you when you come to town. I will email you my phone number and please please please let me know when you are coming.
      I want to commend you for your courage to go into treatment. There are many who will help you and I encourage you to LET THEM. For you will get well and you will help them in the process, because it will reinforce their own recovery.
      Blessings to you as you go forth!
      xo Joanne

      Reply

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