“If nothing changes then nothing changes.”
What an obnoxiously on-point and impactful quote. The first time I heard this my reaction was, “thank you Captain Obvious.” Then I paused. Change is everything. Ugh, I still want to say “duh.” After giving time time in this program I have learned that my mind, body, and soul need complete reconstruction, and that’s putting it lightly.
My mind is a tear-down. Every notion I had about myself needs to do a 180. Where I used to say I’m stupid, I have to say I’m smart. Where I say I’m ugly, I have to say I love myself. When I say I want a boob job, I have to tell my insecure thoughts to take a hike, because I’m beautiful the way God made me.
When life used to bitch slap the bejeesus out of me (still does) and the only solution I could find was at the bottom of a bottle, now I must pick up the phone, pray, ask for something greater than me to remove the obsession, and write a gratitude list because being ungrateful is old behavior. When I used to feel discomfort in my own skin so extreme that I had nowhere to go except mental and physical isolation, I must now bare-knuckle the unease until it passes.
The way I view people must change. Passing judgment was a way of life and it took many forms; belittling someone in my head, talking shit on a person who has done nothing to provoke my personal space. I know now that when I am judging someone else I am judging myself. When I judge others I am envious and I must derogate the person who has more than me; whether it be money, happiness, or security. Jealousy was too hard to admit. It was better to make myself feel bigger so my ego wasn’t in jeopardy. The ego had to go, too.
They say the same alcoholic will drink again and sometimes I feel like the same person who walked through the doors 227 days ago. I’ll ask myself what the hell I’ve been doing this for and why the fuck I’m still here. Then I look back at my journal entries (which I wrote in TextEdit because I had no Word Document, so ignore the typos), and the steps I’ve taken cannot be gainsaid.
On March 9, 2013 when I had just a little over 30 days I wrote about my share from that morning:
“ i spoke and said I was glad that he said that because the topic was “elation.” i said that when i feel elated i hold on to it for dear life. holy shit, i’m happy and it’s not from drinking, and that is what i want. i said i see triggers everywhere. i can’t listen to the radio anymore, it’s a trigger. commercials, songs, all triggers. north korea is a trigger. and not because i think they’re actually going to nuke us, just because i can’t stand it when someone doesn’t like me. but here i am completely unlikeable. i’m such a bratty walking pity party. i said i was walking around last night, seeing the train go back and fourth to NYC. i was thinking about how awesomely ironic it would be if i were to be hit and killed by a drunk driver. not normal thoughts. i said i can pretty much look at a pile of dirt right now and see a line that needs to be chopped up. i said i know it’s only been 30- something days but i feel like i’m regressing. i said all i feel is anger. when i see someone celebrating i don’t think, oh i want to celebrate with you, i think, i hate you. and i want to be drinking. i said i have nothing to drown my depression and i have nothing to mask my insecurities and the whole world is trying to get me to drink. except for AA. i said i remembered one guy in a darien meeting who said, i just want to get over myself. i said that is exactly how i feel. it resonated at the time but i didn’t understand it till now. the world is not all about me. it really is not.”
This was my most recent entry, on August 31, 2013:
“Sometimes I question my alcoholic legitimacy. If I am an alcoholic, then why haven’t I relapsed yet? Then I think, why would I ever leave this? Sobriety is the best thing that’s ever been mine. It’s been the most important decision of my life.”
Amen, past self.
Ignoring reality was easy before I knew I was an alcoholic because I had one phrase conveniently engrained whenever I needed it: “deny, deny, deny.” That has changed. (There’s that word again). Now my mantra is: accept, change, carry on.