About one week ago, Hank tagged me to blog about Step One. I procrastinated for a few days--too busy, ya know--until I forgot completely. Reading Mary Louisey's October 24 blog (scroll down to find it) on the Second Step, reminded me to get on the stick:
When I became a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, I admitted that I was powerless over alcohol and that my life had become unmanageable. I realize the first step includes the word "We" which meant to me I needed you. How TRUE! Because I had tried SO many times to stay stopped. Note that hundreds (thousands?) of times I had stopped drinking, when mostly I went into my hour-or-two of oblivion.
I stopped drinking many times every day, every time I screwed the cap on the vodka bottle or put the cork back on the wine bottle. But I could not STAY stopped, could not STAY sober. I promised myself--countless times--that "this is the last one...ever". Oh, my puzzled brain, when next morning I'd awake looking straight up at birds sitting on power lines, looking down at me. I experienced frequently that remorse known only to addictive people (or great sinners?), when occasionally remembering where I had been, what I had said and done, and to whom.
In March 1974, I had been seeing a counselor, who had me cut way back on my alcohol consumption, way back to 1 little pint of vodka per day. (I remember buying a case of pints on sale.)
On Monday, March 18, he said to me, "Today is the day of your last drink. Tomorrow night you will attend your first Meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous. I have arranged for someone to meet you there. Good luck."
At my first AA meeting, I heard the following words, but did not remember them. "Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable."
And since my life was at that time in complete, utter CHAOS, I sensed that I was in the right place. And, here I am--October 2008--still free of alcohol, and free of SO much more! Often have I pondered why some of us--many of us--do not make it. The difficulty seems to arise in those of us who never really admitted that we were powerless over alcohol. We had a mental reservation. We kept debating with ourselves and finally reached the wrong answer.
In Step One, right next to 'powerlessness', (or under?), 'surrender' comes to mind as SUCH an important word/concept for me. I DO recall thinking this: "Please, AA people, tell me what to do. I am helpless and hopeless. I cannot do this. I want to drink SO badly, it's been 20 hours now."
I had given up. I had surrendered. I had lost all mental willfulness, all physical energy, and could fight no more.
Even though I've not drank alcohol for many years, I know, in my heart of hearts, a drink is only a slip of the mind away--for me. I must constantly think about how to give this (sobriety) away, in order to keep it. And, still, here I am...and this I remember always, a quote from I don't know where:
"The dead drug leaves a ghost behind. At certain hours it haunts the house."