I am 6 months sober, have been attending AA meeting for several months and have very recently partnered with a wonderful sponsor. It’s time to give AA a proper chance because I’ve realized that if I’m going to have long-term success with my addiction, I need to do things differently.
It’s time for me to tackle the steps. I plan to chronicle my step work, mostly because I need to write thoughts down to properly work through a concept. My ADHD mind does not retain thoughts for long, so having a written account of my process will help with my overall success.
Step One: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
Advice from sponsor: take time to have an honest conversation with yourself about this statement. If, at the end of the conversation, you don’t agree with pieces of it, that’s fine; just be honest and critical. You really want to nail the first step. You’ll come back to it over and over, but for less and less time.
Am I powerless over alcohol? I am, once I start drinking. I feel a certain amount of power over alcohol when I am choosing to not drink. When I’m at a bar with friends and I’m the only one sipping club soda, I feel strong, as though I hold power over alcohol.
But once I make the decision to buy a bottle, I lose all power. I started countless days resolved to not drink. By noon, I was in the checkout line at the liquor store. I somehow justified it to myself, so that I wouldn’t feel the guilt and shame that I would feel later, after drinking half the bottle.
Was my life unmanageable? This is where my sponsor’s advice is needed most. I believe the answer is “yes” but because I put on a good show for the world, I convinced myself that I was functioning. Compared to other people’s stories, I was functioning.
I went through the process in an earlier post of reminding myself that I truly wasn’t functioning.
Ways in which my life was unmanageable:
- Work I: the first job I lost due to alcohol was as a business owner. I was abusing alcohol to manage the stress of business ownership. This is when I started drinking at work, justifying it because I was the boss. My active alcoholism kept me from being able to hold onto the business. I wasn’t proactive about anything in the business, just reacting to each fire as they came up. With a clear, alcohol-free mind, I would have made better business decisions and likely would have lasted more than 1 1/2 years. Pathetic.
- Work II: the second job I lost because of my drinking ending in a blaze of embarrassment and humility. I’ve told the story here. That episode started my longest stretch of sobriety since I began drinking: 7 months.
- Work III: my current job is a good, solid job. And I nearly fucked it up because I was drinking every day. I did this 4 years straight. I had to admit my “problem with alcohol” to my boss after a particularly dreadful workday filled with vodka. I am tremendously lucky I wasn’t fired. Sadly, it wasn’t enough to push me into sobriety; it took another 5 months of denial before I took another step towards sobriety.
- Social: I have had no social life to speak of for the past 12 years. Whether I isolated to protect the drinking, or if I drank to cope with the isolation, I was alone. My only social contacts were family: husband, parents, sister & her family, in-laws. 100% of my interaction with family was spent either drunk, too hung over to drink (otherwise I would have), and/or completely preoccupied with how I was going to get my next drink.
… I feel as though this list is not even close to being complete. It’s a work in progress.
Ways in which my life was manageable:
I created this heading when I first structured this post, thinking I would list various aspects of my life within 2 categories: manageable and unmanageable. Once I spent the time listing my unmanageable pieces, I was stumped to come up with 1 aspect about myself that was manageable.
Verdict: my life had become unmanageable and I am powerless over alcohol once I take the first drink.