Friday, July 22, 2011

Claiming Back My Life

We alcoholics are an extraordinary bunch. We tend to be sensitive individuals (I used to get called "oversensitive" all the time). We feel things deeply, which is probably one of the main excuses--aside from alcoholism itself, which is the actual reason--we used for drinking. It helped numb pain or helped us avoid pain. We're also pretty insecure and run on fear a lot: fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, fear of being disliked, fear of being alone.

At the same time, most of us think we're special. No one, but no one, has felt the depths of pain the way we do. Nobody has suffered the injuries we have. Nobody else has been subjected to the runs of bad luck we've been on. Our suffering is so much more amplified.

It's all bullshit, of course. One thing I quickly learned in rehab was how UNSPECIAL I really am. If horrible things have happened to me, I discovered that's nothing compared to the guy sitting next to me whose father ass-raped him repeatedly when he was a child. I'll take it a step further. I found out that it's silly to even compare the types of injuries, the gravity of pain. The person on the other side of me who is upset that his wife cheated on him isn't honestly feeling any LESS pain than the guy on the first side of me. Pain is pain. It all hurts. We have all suffered greatly in some way or another.

We have ALL been devastated. Every last one of us has teetered on the precipice of that vast, empty place of nothingness over which we have no control. We have ALL experienced profound grief and spent hours shaking in fear. We would rather die--or drink ourselves to death--than feel that way again.

But, we must. If we are to survive, we must. We must start owning our lives again, start taking responsibility for our choices, stop letting life happen to us and start directing those things we do have power over.

We do have more control over our destinies than we've thought. Too many times we failed to see we had a choice when we took no action at all. We turned a blind eye, we looked the other way, we didn't ask for clarification, we assumed, we held irrational expectations, we put out exactly what we got back. Our drinking and numbing out, our denying responsibility, our lame excuses of, "It just happened that way"--were a choice.

Today, I will make a better effort to claim back my life, and to pray for strength and guidance when I am unsure.


Elise said...

I really like this: "stop letting life happen to us and start directing those things we do have power over." Very true. You don't have to be an alcoholic, even, to know how many times we just let life "happen." That we think we don't have power over things we do. And, yeah, how many times we endlessly bang our heads against the wall trying to change things we have no power over.

Joyce said...

Much wisdom in the Serenity Prayer, that's fo' sho' ;-)

Anonymous said...

WOW !!!!

Joyce said...

Hello, Anonymous. :)