Someone had to stop babying me and teach me a hard lesson. That lesson happened to be tough love.
As long as there was a shed of light, someone for me to take advantage of, someone for me to manipulate, someone to put a roof over my head and food in my stomach, I was going to keep on going down that wrong path of self-destruction.
I tried many ways to get clean and sober. I tried treatment at drug facilities. I was trying my own ideas. I was a perfect example of self-will run riot though I didn’t really think so. When I finally became unable to bear any more of the pain that I had presented myself with, I turned to the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. I found out that just reading The Book did not keep me sober. It was a recovery home that got me into the action suggested by the Big Book. I have read it before and didn’t understand it. I didn’t think I was like the ones that the Big Book portrayed.
All My Bridges are Finally Burned
That day did come when the door closed on me. No one wanted me around anymore. They were tired of seeing me slowly killing myself in front of them. I had caused my own problems.
I thought I was special. Sometimes people had treated me special because I had a problem. The Big Book says, “Perhaps they created the impression that he be wrapped in cotton wool and placed on a pedestal. A successful readjustment means the opposite.”
People were trying to “love me till I could love myself.” But they were enabling me. They were co-dependent with me. They would let me do whatever I wanted thinking I would come around someday for the better. That day would never come until I heard some truth about myself.
The truth hurts and I did not want to hear it. Through pain came willingness.
Things do pop out of the Big Book the more times you read it. I started to see myself all over the pages. And it was telling me the truth, about me.
Dr. Silkworth, a medical doctor, of the Big Book writes:
“Frothy emotional appeal seldom suffices. The message which can interest and
hold these alcoholic people must have depth and weight. In nearly all cases,
their ideals must be grounded in a power greater than themselves, if they are to
re-create their lives.”
I heard the truth about myself. And when I got honest with myself in the fourth step, I saw the truth that these people had been telling me. What an awakening it had become. With that inventory of myself and the help of my sponsor I had some work cut out for me in changing myself from the inside out.
I have heard that if you want to change your world, change your attitude. It was hard to find out I was not the General Manager of the Universe. It was hard to find out that everything did not revolve around me. Dr. Jung, a psychiatrist quoted in the Big Book writes:
“Ideas, emotions and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives
of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of
conceptions and motives begin to dominate them.”
The Fellowship of Recovery Helps the Newcomer
There was no way I would have been able to do this by myself. I found a fellowship in the meetings. I found new friends, ones that actually cared about me. People that would call me on my b.s. My “old friends” had just put up with me. These “new friends” were there to help me. Though I didn’t really like what they told me at times: the Truth.
I don’t tell newcomers that it is going to be all right. It’s not. Life can be hard at times. But, because of the tools that the program of Alcoholics Anonymous have given me, I can go through the challenges of everyday living with a smile on my face.
If I can do it, so can you.
Chris S. is staff member who walks the talk of recovery and is very involved in the lives of our male clients. He is a guiding influence who is not afraid to confront our clients on behaviors that he recognizes as detrimental to their sobriety. As you have read in this entry, Chris believes that the truth can be painful but must be faced in order to achieve long term sobriety.