Keep away, but keep coming back…
The local Alano club is closing down to help fight the spread. If you aren’t familiar, that’s a resource that helps folks stay sober, a meeting and fellowship hall. One of the main things the program and stepwork suggests is getting outside of your own head, know that others feel the same way, and that there is always a place for the recovering alcoholic and addict to go. Yeah, the addicts too because seldom is the story of alcohol not also intertwined with drugs, or vice versa. But that resource is closing, the groups that depend on it, and the people who depend on those groups are in a holding pattern, one that is a slippery slope, and vastly more difficult to manage without assistance. It is now more imperative, to undo a bit of anonymity as well as tighten the ropes of responsibility that we carry with us in all our affairs.
If getting sober is difficult, then it will be even more so when the needed help along the way is somewhere in hiding. A major aspect about getting sober is the part about being willing to ask for help. That willingness to examine our lives and actions with an honest desire to stop drinking, depends on others to be there. Yet, in a time of rapidly changing societal outlooks and emergency actions those other human beings are hard to find. As Bars and establishments close their doors as well to stop the spread, to flatten the curve, some people are going to be considering sobriety in this time. It’s not for me to say what others should do, but those 12 suggestions I followed on the walls of the rooms of AA have left me more capable than ever before to deal with this pandemic.
Am I scared? Of course! Am I filled with anxiety? Sure. Am I going to drink or drug? Hell no! It’s not like I couldn’t use the relaxation effects, but that would mean trading in my superpowers, giving up to hopelessness. Yes, I call them superpowers because the bigger the problems the more powerful and greater the abilities become. Yes, I learned abilities, practiced them, reinforced them within the program and in my daily life. I have often said that it is simply practicing better thinking, I shorted the equation, it is better thinking that equates into better actions, and the domino effect is very real. Scared? Yes, but I recognize that fear, I put a few mental markers down to let me know that is the territory I am going into. I was able to move those markers all the way from beginning to end, color coded and telling me exactly what fear I was dealing with. Anxiety? Well, without fear and anxiety I probably would have no muscle mass whatsoever. My ultimate superpower is overthinking stuff, so I have a good idea of what I would have made of this in my drinking and drugging years.
Am I going to drink or drug? Flatly no. One of the most difficult things that I had to be shown, nobody could tell me about it or share it, but shown in perfect detail was about power. Society innately infers on people the various ways to attaining and securing power. Whether it be the machismo of the male psyche, or the intense interpersonal trappings of the feminine, the things we are bound to, is sometimes our most destructive mythology. When I admitted my truths, when I asked for help, when I told my deepest truth, my biggest lies; Those things that people don’t do because that would open them up for all kinds of fears, problems, and uncomfortability… It didn’t happen. It didn’t happen the way I thought it would, it didn’t feel the way I thought it would. It wasn’t embarrassing, it was something else, it wasn’t uncomfortable, it became something else. Power, the real kind, was found in not those things I hold, but the things I was able to let go of. It defies the physics of the psyche, the way we expect it to happen, but that destructive mythology must be smashed.
This social separation, stay in your homes, and avoid contact time is rife with emotion. It is going to be filled with hardships and difficulties coping with the multitude of personal and worldwide fallout. I am eternally grateful that the abilities I have managed to hone, and practice these last eight years, as I see them as being key to coming through this in the safest and mindful manner possible. This is the most wide ranging and difficult time to live through in my lifetime. In no other time have we seen the sweeping and drastic changes life is requiring. The virus itself a little too personal for my liking, for it is almost designed to attack all of my immunity compromised body functions specifically. I still must collect supplies and food to make it through, and we are blessed my wife can work from home, starting this morning.
The rooms are silenced, and closed in great caution, to that I am grateful. The alcoholic who still suffers is still suffering, and to that I am mindful. The spiritual experience that is spoken of usually starts with finding your own spirit, your own you. I found it in following some suggestions, doing a few things asked of me, nothing I didn’t want to do. I found a truth I had not known, and a life I could be happy in. And when I cannot share this ultimate truth with others who share my story, I pass them on to anyone who will listen. For having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.