So many times in recovery we can get caught up in our own heads. Some people in the rooms call this “the committee.” No matter what particular names is attributed to it, many people can relate to being controlled by feelings and sometimes overwhelmed by them. Don does a magnificent job of telling his story of plunging in to the depths of alcoholism, and then rising out of the ashes to a life of recovery.
In the grip of alcoholism and scoffing at a Higher Power
There were a hundred times and I had reached the point where I lost the ability within myself to stop drinking. Someone usually had to intervene to get me loose from alcohol. When I was going though detox, it usually took three or four days for me to be physically able to do something, like sit up in a chair. I remember this one experience I had when I was in a facility due to my drinking, they got me through the first three or four days, they set me up in a chair, and sat in there with my my braces, my crutches, and my catheter bag. They decided for some reason that an AA meeting would be appropriate for me. When the AA people came in I immediately heard Step Three, “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over the care of God as we understood Him.” I was appalled and this insulted my intellect. I climbed up on my crutches, straightened up my catheter bag, and said as loud as I could, “Do you mean to tell me there are people in this world who believe this crap?” Then I hobbled away from the religious fanatics who I thought would somehow pollute my pristine intellect.
Anyways, after that things got worse. I became addicted to hard narcotics. I became a needle street junkie. That brought enough pressure on my law partners to cause them to kick me out of the law firm that I founded and I was headed toward hitting bottom. For me, hitting bottom used to be the most mysterious thing in the world to me, it seemed so unfair. Booze and dope was my first bottom that I’m aware of. The Internal Revenue Service took my portion of the office building we had built in downtown Louisville and a couple of things like that. The mortgage companies took the homes I owned and the wife too after all the material things were gone. My daddy was on the farm in his late eighties with nothing but Social Security and I went back home where I kept on drinking. I have a sister with special needs that was living at home and endangered her health and her very life by using her and her meager funds to keep on drinking and drugging. I used up everything and everybody.
The Second Step and apprehension about the “God thing”
Even with the devastation in my life, I still had trouble with the second step. The “God” thing, if you will. You see, I am complex, and I am really intelligent. I would think to myself “if I could just be simple minded like those folks.” I had to set aside how I felt and to open my mind up to new experiences. Setting aside my preconceived ideas and attitudes toward a Higher Power was key in my healing. I guess its when there is nothing else you can turn to, is when you can open your mind the most. Had I not reached the complete pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization, I still may be carrying around resentment and anger toward the concept of a Higher Power. I am grateful today that my illness brought me to a position of desperation. Today, my life is wonderful and far more important than my feelings, are my actions.