Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Power and acceptance – Alcohol gave me wings but then took the sky away.
For a long time, I felt that I found power in alcohol. I felt that when I drank; I became a person that was liked, and could socialize better. I found the power that alcohol gave me to feel that I become more acceptable so deliciously alluring. I am not distracting from the fact that I was never able to drink like a normal person, but the perceived acceptance and reverence I got from people when drinking was only in my own mind.
I found this acceptance from strangers in pubs, bars, strip clubs and not with people whom truly mattered. The people that I found my drunken acceptance from really would only see me when I had been drinking and my alter ego came rushing out. They did not see me the following day with the red eyes and stinking breath, or the aches and moans of a body that would no longer allow the amount of poison put into it. Or the heaving from a stomach that would only see food when a sober moment allowed it.
I also thought of myself as this life of the party, the funny one with the funny sayings and witty comments. Now I know, they probably laughed out of pity or social obligation and not because I was such a delightful person. To me I was the man, to the people I interacted with socially I was just a man… a drunk man.
Then eventually the inevitable happened. Alcohol had given me wings, but as time passed it slowly took the sky away. Until one day when I came crashing down, I fell in a heap of self pity, self loathing, anger, sorrow, resentment, and to quote an old friend. I felt like a turd at the centre of my own universe. That day when I realized that I was such a massive failure through years of addiction was the day that I knew that everything I loved and lived for was given away, not by my own hands directly, but by my arms that was too busy holding a beloved whiskey glass that they no longer had time or energy to hold the ones dear to me.
That day that I realized how utterly powerless I was over alcohol and its effects on my life was the day of absolute rock bottom. That day I started a journey into another universe, the beginning of a road that would lead me along a path of discovery, amazement and new things to experience so dazzling that not even my wildest drunken fantasies could ever have produced.
A road filled with tears, my own, the tears of those close to me, gut wrenching emotional agony. Ecstasy so utterly amazing that words will not describe it. The beauty of joy after the pain came to me only when I had been sober for a long while. The initial sober times, where you wonder how you will survive passed, only to be replaced with my acceptance of how much this new life of sobriety had to offer.
Still I stand amazed daily at the new things around me, the beauty in the people that surrounds me in this world. The beauty in what is referred to as creation by some, is so beautiful in every aspect, from the dirtiest slimy mud to the softest beach sand. I have so much to explore and discover in others, in myself and in everything around me that even in dealing with everyday screw ups, I seem to find some kind of positive. Even if it just means that I have learnt something new today.
I realized that I had to accept that I am powerless over alcohol in order to stop fighting it. I realized that with the acceptance of my powerlessness came a rational way to see what I was doing to myself and others. A rationality that makes sense to most is a rarity amongst alcoholics, the disease of irrational behavior. Which makes us repeat the same self destructive behavior over and over has in a way of learning to live with it, acceptance of your own powerlessness at its core. Acceptance that as long as you stay away from the first drink you are able to stay away from those that come after it as well as the accompanying screw ups which inevitably follow.
Live, learn, experience life.