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.