Where is the Hope? – A Psychic Change is Truly Required in Order to Have a New Outlook and A New Hope for Life to be Different for an Addict or an Alcoholic.
For many years I felt and believed that trick that my head always told me. “It was going to be different this time”. “I’m going to be able to drink like a normal person”. Once I put that crap in my body I always, always, went on some sort of spree coming out on the other side with nothing but disaster and more problems. Not everyone’s stories are the same, some will be similar and I always look for the similarities when relating to other alcoholics.
Another alcoholic shared a bit of his story with me recently and although his experiences are different from my own, the mental obsession, the thoughts, ideas, the feelings, the turmoil is very much the same. He too felt the trick his mind tried to play on him. He came out on the other side usually with felonies when he drank and used drugs.
Over time, after 5 DUI’s, a few years in prison, then another trip was how it went for him. He couldn’t hold a job, couldn’t support his family, lost everything worthwhile in his life over and over and over again, because he kept thinking he could drink and drug like a normal person.
“It was so incredibly elusive. It would simply sneak up me every time”. The program of Alcoholics Anonymous and the Big Book tells us the only way we can recover is through experiencing a “psychic change” and the only way to get that is to work in the 12 steps. When he finally chose to do that, his life changed more than he could describe. Today he is successful, married, a father, but he had to fix the problem in his psyche, in his mind, in his heart.
The way he thought and felt about himself had plagued him for so many years and was truly his demise. “I was full of resentment, anger, grief, shame, and guilt. I had to get it out, so God could come in”.
I can truly relate to those feelings of worthlessness, of shame, of resentment. My low self-esteem had bottomed out to the point it didn’t exist anymore. I had no coping skills to speak of and my “toolbox” was full of the wrong tools I needed to
work on this “machine” that was my mind, body, and soul. The struggle was so exhausting because while I had lost all care for myself and carried no self-worth, my ego and pride had grown to enormous proportions. I could not ask for help, because that would be admitting I had failed and could not solve my problems – problems I still fully could not admit I had. I was aware of these ideas and how ludicrous they were, but simply could not figure out how to remove the wet blanket from around me.
I believe all of us have these similarities to our stories and because of the other alcoholics who have shared with me around the rooms and tables of A.A., I no longer feel alone. Someone once gave me an empty box of darkness and I have come to understand and treasure that gift. I needed it to be empty so I could fill it with me, my truth, my good qualities, my contributions, the goodness of my heart. It contains my sobriety and the pieces and tools I need for my lifelong recovery.
The chaos in my life and my unnerving domestic situation just did not allow for any type of growth or recovery or sobriety of any kind. Changes, big changes, had to occur for my story to turn around and for me to experience all of the blessings I am truly grateful for everyday. The chaos had been nothing more than a distraction for myself and others so the real, true problems could not be seen. Finding yourself alone and in jail can have a great humbling effect if you choose it to. It was only through removing, giving everything in my life away, and experiencing some truly horrific events, that I was able to experience a psychic change and choose life.
Now I am hope. I feel hope in all those around me. I choose hope very morning when I wake and carry it with me throughout the day. If I feel the need to refuel, I know I can go to a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, call my sponsor, speak with another alcoholic and find it in their words, their comfort, their compassion and understanding. I fill my internal jar of hope by staying out of my selfish, self-centeredness ways and doing for others. Gratitude reminds me to be humble and that I offer so much help just by sharing my story and putting others first instead of myself.
My sobriety has a price tag just like every other person living. All lessons have a cost. I am grateful my recovery did not cost my life, but it did require vast sacrifices and still might in the future. The unknown will always be to “what lengths” I will have to be willing to go to in order to stay recovered from the grips of alcoholism. I am forever grateful to be the person I am today and to stand on my feet so proud to know I am an alcoholic and committed to my recovery and helping others to recover. I could have never imagined my life would be so full of joy and happiness. I embrace everyday and have received nothing but wonder and serenity in return.