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It’s official - I’m in…… and my final thoughts on AA

Posted May 21 2009 10:42pm

I am about to begin my very first online writing class on the personal essay with Sheila Bender.

I had mentioned a few posts back that I had purchased Sheila’s books on the personal essay and had been working through one of them.

I also mentioned that I intended to take one of her online writing classes.  Well, my family lovingly gave me the opportunity to sit through the personal essay class as a Mother’s Day gift.  I’m thrilled.Sheila has already begun sending out preliminary information to help us get a running start.

We have four optional prompts to begin writing from or we can write from our own, to submit the first week of class.  There are five other women besides myself with Sheila instructing us.  It’s going to be a great time of learning for me. 

Traditionally, I have spent my summers reading.  Either by the pool while watching my children swim or these days, on my front porch sipping tea.  Last year I read about twelve books (maybe more).  I usually choose novels for my summer reading, this year; I’m not sure what I will choose.  But, one thing is for certain, it will be a productive summer for reading, writing, playing my piano and hanging out in my flower garden - just a few of my favorite things. :)

More AA Stuff

So, I’m not exactly sure what else to say about AA.  Cherie had mentioned in a private email to me on the matter, that I should hit six meetings before I decide if AA is the place for me.  I only went to three.  But, those three were like a slap in the face or a good splash of cold water.  Shocking.  Being there put me into a strange enough frame of mind that I was able to break the self-perpetuating cycle of addiction; the mental one, anyway, which, frankly, is the hardest one to get a handle on.

I believe that in order for any significant change to occur in one’s life a profound paradigm shift needs to occur.  Getting to that place can sometimes be challenging however, and for me, it had been darn near impossible.  My efforts to shake myself free from drinking were failing miserably because I was stuck in a neuron-path that I couldn’t jump out of. Those three meetings did that for me.  The reality of confronting myself with the possibility of being an alcoholic scared the holy shit out of me. 

You’ve heard, perhaps, the term, “scared straight?”   It’s a tactic that law enforcement officers often use when taking their anti-drinking and drug message to school students.  They show them horrific films and usually have someone there who was horribly disfigured from a drunken driving accident, to speak to them.   The intent is to shock and/or scare the kids into avoiding the pitfalls of drinking and drugs.  It’s an effective tactic for many and I would say that my three meetings with AA accomplished a similar goal.

I’ve always been very proud of my ability to walk away from habits, situations and influences in my life with little to no intervention from others.  Yeah, it might have been a mental battle for me, such as my battle with cigarettes, but the victory was always my own, because I tackled it myself and did it myself, with no help from anyone else.

I have also always believed that anything could be accomplished if the decision to accomplish it was rooted deep enough in your heart.  Flippant, casual, mental ascent does not bring about long term change in one’s life.  The soul rattling, shocking, blast through the B.S. kind of approach does.  Sort of like Cher slapping Nicolas Cage in the movie, Moonstruck  , telling him to “snap out of it”. Unfortunately, I couldn’t seem to get myself to “snap out of it” with my drinking and my efforts to do so just kept bringing back to the same old place.  More drinking.  More failure.  

But, facing the notion that I could possibly be an alcoholic, or at the very least, heading there fast, was enough to shock the hell out of me.  At this point though, I don’t think I will attend any more meetings.  I might, but, I don’t think so.   I have emerged from this past week with a conviction I did not have when I went in - I do not want to drink.  Period.  I know that I have this situation under control now because prior to this, I did not want to stop.

Instead, I wanted to figure out how to moderate.  I wanted to not think about alcohol when I wasn’t drinking, so I could drink again - without guilt.  I  wanted to stop counting down the hours before “cocktail hour” so I could drink with a clear conscience. I wanted to find a place in my life for alcohol and feel okay about it.  I wanted to figure out a way to have my alcohol-cake and drink it-eat it too. But, I sure didn’t want to quit drinking.  That much I was sure of.  Today, I am sure.  I do not want to drink.

AA talks about the “bottom” that every alcoholic must hit before they can ever hope to kick drinking.   They say that some people have a high bottom so to speak.   Meaning that, they haven’t sunk to the lowest lows of alcoholism and its destructive ways. Such as: losing a job, losing your family, losing your material possessions and everything you may hold dear in life.   Some of us do not have to go that low before we bottom out.   So, in AA terms, my low is considered a high bottom, but, it was my low, nonetheless.  

Freeing myself from the clutches of that broken loop in my brain has given me such a boost in confidence and hope.  I will not, however, delude myself into thinking that I could possibly drink again.   If I allow myself to entertain such a notion, even mildly, I am certain I will undo everything I’ve accomplished mentally in the past 7 days.   Being sober is so much more than abstaining from alcohol consumption.   It is a state of mind – sober thinking, if you will.   I am now sober ladies.   So, h ere’s to sobriety – cheers. :)

©2009 The Magnolia Diaries, Volume II. All Rights Reserved.

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