Only those people who have serious long sober time, realize the depths of just how lonely we were. That takes A LOT of time, in sobriety.
Lorna Kelly said that about her life. She said this to us when she was here in 2012. And I listen to her share continuously. Because she was right.
A newcomer sat with us tonight. And the default for the meeting format when someone is at their first meeting, we return to “More about Alcoholism,” And Step One.
I got to the hall first, and got the coffee perking and set up with a friend. As I was walking outside, one of our newcomers, as I approached him said to me … “Stay away from me and don’t touch me…” Not sure where he is in his head, but I am the least of his worries.
Being a third generation Alcoholic, I thought I understood what alcoholism was, by the way family treated the subject. My grand father, my father, and my uncles all drank.
The wives and the kids, never made much of it. It was an acceptable norm. Alcohol was a major food group. And nobody said a word edgewise about it, at least in front of me.
Those men all drank with impunity. They paid no consequences for their actions, because who was going to punish them or make light of the seriousness of the problem?
Functional alcoholism was the name of the game, for the whole of my life.
My grandparents had homes, families, cars, kids … It was picture perfect.
My paternal grandparents had a beautiful home, that I still visit in my mind’s eye. It was a safe place that I was protected and loved unconditionally. My Grammy filled me with that love, behind a very powerful and terrible secret of abuse, violence and pain.
The alcoholic men in my family were abusive in every sense of the word. And for the whole of my life, my grandmothers stood in the way of my father carrying a bat around chasing me around the house trying to kill me.
And that went on, with impunity. My mother allowed it to happen. Because she knew that if she said anything or got involved, it would be worse for her. She would never leave him nor say anything because he warned her that she would go with nothing but the clothes on her back. So she stayed …
Silence gives consent. We all know this today. Did she know that then? Probably not.
The obsession of every alcoholic is that some day we will be able to drink like everyone else. A friend said tonight that if she was controlling her drinking she wasn’t enjoying it, and if she was enjoying it, she wasn’t controlling it either.
I drank like everyone else in the family. One for One. I could out drink the best of them.
I thought that was normal.
I carried the delusion that as an alcoholic, following the example set by family around me, that “I Too” could drink with impunity. That there would be no consequences, that I would not pay for my addiction to alcohol. That nobody would call me on the carpet nor say a word about it.
I was very wrong about that. And I paid a price for that assumption.
My parents taught us all how to hate and how to resent someone, just because.
When I moved away from home, to be Gay, I was told that alcohol was the lube I would need to “get into community.” Now, I look back at it, it might have been fun, while it lasted, and I did have fun, but underneath, deep underneath, was utter loneliness.
I could not land a relationship to save my life. Not when alcohol was driving the situation. I got burned time and time again, by people who knew better than I did, how to burn another human being.
I’ve heard it said that, once we begin drinking in the morning, we have crossed that invisible line into serious alcoholism. That once we start with that “morning drink” the game is all but over. The end is nigh…
I was a particular alcoholic.
- I never had alcohol in my home
- I never bought alcohol from a liquor store, ever
- I never bought hard drugs, but if you had them to share, I participated
- I never drank in the morning, ever … UNTIL
- I always had to go out to drink, I never drank at home
I know, for a fact, that the first morning I decided to keep drinking on the 23 hour drinking program, I had crossed that invisible line.
I know for a fact, that the morning I sat in that bar at 7 a.m. in the morning with another drink in front of me, all bets were off. And with that next drink, came two fellows with a proposition, which I participated in.
It was that day – that morning – in a haze of drugs and alcohol, that I took my life into my own hands, God be damned, for the fun that couple of hours would provide. In the end, I was the looser:
The BULLET was SHOT. And I was the TARGET.
In Fort Lauderdale, in those years, you could feasibly drink, 23 hours a day.
One bar opened at 7 a.m. and that started the ball rolling. You could easily drink all day, and well into the night, and well into the wee hours, until 6 a.m. The bars would close for that functional “Stocking” hour, and the cycle would begin again at 7 a.m.
I think, if memory serves, I only did the 7 a.m. run twice. Because by then, the damage was done. My choice to drink that particular morning, would eventually catch up with me, and take my life, right out from under me.
How can you think that the other alcoholics and their enablers, would step up to the plate and rally the troops and gather the wagons and horses and support you ?
Thank God … Thank GOD that TODD read GOD stepped in when they did.
I’ve never felt so lonely, alone, and helpless, like I was back then.
I know the depths of particular loneliness, not necessarily the alcoholic type of lonely, but the loneliness, of being tossed into the gutter and abandoned by people who should have loved me and cared for me, but that was just too much to ask of any of them, because they surely had no care nor love to give, because they did not have it while I was growing up.
So how could they tap a well that was eternally empty ???
Another young woman talked about what happened to her when she drank, at the bitter end … The Teleportation.
You know “teleportation,” you begin drinking in one location and mysteriously, without input from yourself, wind up somewhere totally different, beyond your understanding.
At the end of my drinking, I was teleporting too.
I was binge drinking back in those days. One night a week, on Saturday.
The bar opened at 11 p.m. by 11:30 I was already lit. At midnight, the dance floor opened, and I attempted to make it to the Bells at 1 a.m. A few drinks in, hoping that someone would notice me …
Mysteriously, I would lose time and location.
I could not figure out, and still, to this day, I have no idea what actually did happen, In one moment I was dancing in the club, and the next moment I was in my bed …
How I got from the dance hall, into a taxi, home to my building and through TWO secure locked doors, and into my bed, ESCAPES ME.
They also say that the only Step you need to do 100% is Step One.
I am an alcoholic and I am powerless over alcohol.
If I ever forget that, I will end up, like some of my sorry fellows stuck in that revolving door of addiction and alcoholism, very quickly.
I am not one of them, and I work very hard at remembering why. I study my friend, I parse their words and I collect their stories here, so that I don’t ever FORGET.
We know that when we begin drinking, our lives, our being become stunted. We remain who we are emotionally, at the time the drink began. And when we stop, we have to figure out how old we are emotionally, and begin rebuilding from there.
And IF we go OUT again, it only gets worse, never better. We could never recapture the glory of that BUZZ we got once, never to find it again.
Many come, Few stay, the first time around.
I’ve done my time in the furnace. TWICE.
I am not going back. As long as we read the book and work our steps.
We only have a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.
Thank GOD … THANK GOD !!!