It has been a very wet and dreary day in the neighborhood. Which did not lend to big numbers. The other day I posted about marijuana addiction, and a comment came through that said … It’s never about the substance, but self will run riot. And I had to agree.
Tonight we read from the Big Book: Pages 22-26.
The fact is that most alcoholics, for reasons yet obscure, have lost the power of choice in drink. Our so called will power becomes practically nonexistent. We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago.
We are without defense of the first drink …
And once again, I reflect on my early days and why I did the things I did, and the thought occurred to me that, witnessing active alcoholism in my family, and the fact that nobody ever said a word about it, and nobody ever said STOP, and in hindsight, we know, that silence gives consent, when my alcoholism followed me away from home, I felt that I could do what ever I wanted, and be damned the consequences.
I never thought about why we all drank as much as we did. Drinking was a social event, because I never drank at home, and did not keep alcohol in the house, I always had to go out to consume.
Hearing that alcohol was the “Way In” and knowing the fight that I witnessed in the gay community back home, and how hard it was to eek out someplace to”BE” all the while trying to build a cohesive community in a world that was less than supportive, moving to Orlando that HAD a community that was solidly built and thriving, once I dropped myself amid that community, being “Part Of” meant a great deal, and whatever everyone else was doing, was what I would do as well.
I never thought about consequences, because like any good addict, I would lie, cheat and talk my way out of consequences, much to my own detriment.
I would end up burning some serious bridges, and create resentments with my family, that to this day, still haunt them and me. They will never let me live that down, and forgiveness has never been an option, even though I sobered up.
I don’t think I ever thought about the amount I would drink, or had drunk in the end. Going to a show, or dance in a club, or be with people I called friends, looking back on that period of time today, I never carried those people into my life, like some had. Orlando and the surrounding cities was a “Periods of time” a “Snapshots” of certain people associated with a place, and not necessarily something that was going anywhere, further than that moment in time.
I hang on the thought that, amid that chaos, while it was really good, and sometimes tragic, nobody ever said the word STOP or mentioned alcohol consumption as problematic. I knew what alcoholism looked like in my family, but in my case, those examples did not apply to me. Or so I thought.
One always leaded to two, which turned into MORE. It was Never Just One.
How can you mix just one drink, in a blender? You had to finish it to the bottom.
Add to this mix, the bars I ran in had drink tickets and drink specials every night. At one particular bar, Uncle Charlies, they would give tickets every time you bought a drink. And over time, you had a “Drink Ticket Box” in your car, because you never knew what the “Special of the Night” would be until you got there. And once the alcohol began flowing, it did not stop until the bar closed. And for every drink you drank, a shot went with it, either bought by friends, or supplied by your bar tender.
So the thought of “Just One” never existed.
Trying to be “Part Of” was something everyone was trying to do, in their own way. And in certain places, there were no “Communities” dedicated to the gay community for a long time, so going to the bar, was where it all started and continued.
It was GO BIG or GO HOME.
This frenetic way of life lasted as long as it did, because of those folks who kept it going until society began to open up. Coming Out and trying to find ones way, youth had its advantages, that only lasted so long. In my case, that delusion of youth and the desire to be something I could not be, as I aged, was the problem.
I thought that the only way I would find a relationship, was through the club system. How wrong I was. Looking back on it, I knew very few people who “Coupled” and remained coupled. But that was not my experience.
It was as if God knew, that I had to get to that point where the writing was on the wall, and like a friend of mine said tonight:
If we HAD HAD the strength to keep going, We would have. But we didn’t. I did not have it in me to keep up this ruse of delusion any longer. I just could not…
The first pass at sobriety came when Todd said STOP.
The second pass came when I reached the end of the line. Some people get lucky to get to the end of their using and drinking, and they just KNOW the party is over, and they sober up. Then there are those who go down in flames, kicking and screaming all the way, and they either die in the process or find their way to us, eventually.
I got lucky. That psychic change the Big Book talks about happened to me. I knew I was done, I knew what to do, and I did that. I got on my knees and I prayed to God.
One, Two, Three … all at once.
What needed to happen was to be hooked up to a support system that would keep me Staying Stopped. The rest they say is history.
I never thought about “Self Will” while I was in it. I never pondered, what I was doing, as good or bad, or the what and the why of it. Drinking was something I just had to do, because that is what I did. Everyone else was doing it, and looking good while they did it.
I just could not keep up with them in the end. I was tired. I was disillusioned because nobody noticed me, even if I was standing in the middle of the crowd hoping that someone would at least “notice me.”
For many years, gay boys went to clubs and bars, just to get noticed. In the end, when I look back at it, for a while people noticed. Once you crossed that invisible line into “LUSH” it was not very pretty.
I think many people have experienced this: Will Somebody just Notice Me ???
In a live fast, die young, and leave a good looking corpse world, nobody noticed.
AIDS killed that dream. AIDS shattered the lives of people all over the world. Witnessing people die, day after day for weeks, months and years, was brutal on the senses.
When humanity began tossing these souls into the streets, it was the bar community that stepped up and tried to mitigate death in any way it could. Where did you go, when you had No Place to go? You went where ever you would be noticed.
Someone (read: Todd) noticed me. And he saved my life. And not for lack of trying, we tried to save others as well, but AIDS was a bitter foe. The battle was lopsided. There weren’t enough US to make a dent when it came to death.
When I came around the second time, I realized that it was time to grow up.
And now, every day that I get out of bed breathing, it is my job to help as many people as I can, in any way that I can. My day begins with prayer, and the knowledge that my needs are met daily, and that I do not need more.
How do you find God’s will, You listen to that still small voice.
You turn it over, and do the next right thing.
In the beginning, it was all about stopping. Today, it is all about Staying Stopped.
This is how we Stay Stopped.
One day at a time …