Unlike many people who skulk into their first AA meeting—broken, unraveled, undone, weeping uncontrollably—I fairly waltzed through the door, beaming like the sun. They talk about hitting rock bottom but for me, it was a perfect storm: The decision to live out loud, to be there for my children, to have optimum health, and to live in harmony with my mate. All of those things and more were in grave jeopardy but from the moment I set foot in those AA rooms grace prevailed. Unvarnished honesty, loving acceptance—a safe place to be unmasked and naked.
I love talking to anyone who is serious about attaining, sustaining and supporting sobriety. Anyone committed to transformation and miracles and intentional evolution on every front. Years of using alcohol to manage fear and anxiety had left me out of touch with the sparkle of my own personality, the rush of my own exuberant energy. I was so used to having a buzz in social interactions that I had to rediscover my precious natural self.
Alcohol addiction was not only the monkey on my back, he had dug his little toenails clear through my skin and into my spine. And for me, taking any substance to the level of addiction is like checking into the Hotel California:
‘We are programmed to receive.
You can check out any time you like,
But you can never leave!’
Granted, I had to prove the truth of those haunting lyrics the hard way (like I do most everything) by walking away from three years of glorious sobriety and cautiously going back to “drinking moderately.”
Alcohol and I started dating very slowly but even at the beginning, it was different this time. I couldn’t shake an element of shame and even in small doses, just being around him was making me feel more vaguely sick than bubbly. The only way to get past that was “drink a little more “, which eventually reactivated my MORE button.
The one that has no off switch.
It’s bad enough with a bag of potato chips or Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies but with ethanol? Next comes the MORE OFTEN button, another one that turns on and sticks. Too many of us have seen how that movie plays out. No matter how many times Alcohol starts out as an attractive casual date, for me he’s always going to turn into Charles Manson. Or in the hard-hitting analogy offered by Allen Carr: I had already fallen into the sticky bottom trap of that deadly Pitcher Plant and managed to get free…once.
The insanity was thinking that I could return to casually and occasionally sipping safely along the very top edge because NOW I’m so clear and strong and “back to normal.” Maybe I didn’t fall back to the same bottom this time around, but I was stuck again. And being stuck in any form of self-destructive Darkness is a room in hell.
I heard the phrase “sobriety as a portal” in a podcast and it totally captured my imagination. OMG yes! Sobriety IS a portal.
We all know there are portals into Darkness and portals into Light. If we don’t know the difference yet just a bit more experience changes that and We LEARN. Unfortunately, some of the portals, passageways, tunnels, pinholes into the Darkness are addictions that are tough to walk away from when we don’t like or even hate where we have landed. It just keeps getting worse and worse and worse. We feel trapped, chained, doomed to repeat the same mistakes again and again and again. We start to feel like the protagonist in some Greek tragedy or like Sisyphus in an endless mythological nightmare.
Sobriety as a Portal into what? You name it.
All you can be. All you can do. Your best self, your peace of mind, your fulfillment, your health and longevity, your enjoyment of intimate relationships, your soul’s highest expression in this human vessel. This is the place you enter. This is the portal. This is the Way.
I totally advocate for EVERYONE to change how they are looking at the one dangerous, destructive drug we celebrate and market as the “elixer of happiness and joy.” So hang tight my precious sober community, no matter how much trouble we have staying on this path, no matter how many times we veer off into the weeds, this is our happy destiny. This is our place, our calling, our numbers will only grow.
Think of yourselves as trailblazers, pioneers, way-makers. We can do this…together. We can do anything together.
I’m staying joyously and gloriously sober today, let’s do this together.
If you’re Drinking too much too often Rethink the Drink.
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