By Dede H.
What’s cooking Cookie?
How’s life treating you?
Higher Power you know
Let me take a moment
To reflect on where I’m at
I have a headache
A few aches and pains
Take away all that
Breathe in breathe out
Higher Power you remain
Nothing more to be said
Breathe in breathe out
You are the breather
You’re air in my lungs
I will look up now
THE THIRSTY GIRL
By: Christine R.
Our book describes the alcoholic personality as being akin to Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde. Two personalities in one body. Boy did I relate.
More than most people, the alcoholic leads a double life. He is very much the actor. To the outer world he presents his stage character, the one he likes his fellows to see. He wants to enjoy a certain reputation but knows in his heart he does not deserve it. BB p. 73
My Mister Hyde I call the Thirsty Girl. An inner saboteur who’s always thirsty for booze, in one form or another. Anything to relieve that inner compulsion or craving. One woman calls her dark side, “that Vile Bitch Upstairs.” Whatever you call it, the voice was alive and well yesterday.
While at the store, passing a seductive pyramid of Mumm’s Pink Champagne, the Thirsty Girl declared, “Girlfriend - That sure looks good!” Within a twinkling, after years of sobriety, I could taste the bubbly-pinky-sweet stuff. Hadn’t tasted pink champagne in years. Yet, there it was, “How ‘bout a drink?” Along with the voice came the visual measuring up of the size of the bottle to guestimate how much I could drink in a day. “One bottle?” “Two?”
I was scared. I think I still am. It takes a habit to break a habit. Kudos to sponsors who train sponsees to call them, to recalibrate the hand to mouth coordination from raising a glass to the mouth to raising the phone instead.
Picked up the phone and within seconds discovered a women’s meeting right around the corner, starting up soon. Upon arrival, I took a front seat and began to settle down.
How often have we heard someone say, “The reading today was exactly what I needed to hear.” So of course, the reading came from Living Sober. Living Sober, a title that says what it does. How to live sober, one day at a time, without a bottle. Real simple but not always easy.
And what were we reading? Staying Away From The First Drink. Another title to say it all. Stay away from that first drink.
If you don’t take that first drink, you can’t get drunk. One is too many and twenty are not enough.
The chapter goes on to reveal:
Instead of trying to figure out how many we could handle, we remember,“Just don’t pick up that first drink.” It is so much simpler. The habit of thinking this way has helped hundreds of thousands stay sober for years.
Certainly helped me stay sober yesterday. The meeting threw a lifeline and a keen reminder to help keep a body sober. Not with the view of staying away forever. Forever is too vast. Keep it simple. Avoid the first drink.
Keeping an addictive compulsion down is like keeping a beach ball down under water. No matter how we strive, the ball keeps popping up. Our alcoholism requires a tremendous amount of time, energy, and determination to keep the ball down, to keep our addiction under control and in check. Really freeing to surrender and allow the ball to burble up so we can move on.
Time is not a tool. All the years away from a drink and still the balloon shows up and coos,“Think me! I’m real.” “No one will know.” “I can do this.” That’s from the Thirsty Girl.
If you’re in an aisle of life where a drink looks like a good idea, as it did for me, move to the other side of the store. Get some mental health food as you recall, “One drink is too many and 100 not enough.’”
The Toll Road
By John W
As his head hit the pillow this night
Knowing this day he had fought the good fight,
He paused to reflect the discipline it required
To see the triggers and not by them get mired.
On Awakening he turned to his daily ritual
So different from the Before and now habitual.
His requests for help with his day’s tasks unspoken,
Their hearing, not granting, witnessed by another annual token.
Each day he found his token, just by the door.
Each day he was sober, now, each day since Before.
No small price to pay on The Toll Road called life,
The fare for his passage, a sober reply to joy or strife.
* * * * *
Deeper Rooted Emotional Problems
The Centerline of Life
By Rick R.
We are all born with a Conscience and an Ego. We all have Instincts. As human beings, we are also born with the use of Practical Reasoning, and that separates us from the animals, who, for the most part, live by their instincts. The degree to which these assets and liabilities affect our behaviors differs in all of us.
“Yet these instincts, so necessary for our existence, often far exceed their proper function.” (12&12 Step 4)
Most normal people make mistakes in their lives and that is normal since no one is perfect. Most alcoholics, however, take their life to the brink of destruction before they become desperate enough to surrender and enter the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. Most alcoholics struggle with emotional difficulties that far exceed the normal range. Some of these troubles can be rectified simply by acknowledging they exist and being willing to change our motives and behavioral habits.
Unfortunately, a certain percentage of our fellowship have Deeper Rooted Emotional Problems that are permanent and cannot be cured simply by practicing A.A. principles alone. They are often masked by the use of alcohol. When a person stops drinking and starts dealing with their behavioral problems, these things rise to the surface in the form of: O.C.D, A.D.D, Bipolar Disorder, P.T.S.D, and many others that can only be subdued by the use of medications. In some cases, these dull the mind of the patient to the extent that they resist taking the medication and would rather live with the symptoms. Not knowing this, we sometimes misunderstand the people stricken by these deeper-rooted mental conditions and believe, by their sharing, that they are Resistant, Arrogant or Egotistical etc. when displaying behaviors that the average person is not afflicted with. These conditions are not always at the extreme levels. Each of us, as alcoholics, have a degree of behavioral problems outside of the normal range, else why would we need to attend A.A. meetings?
Let us consider the normal range to be 5 degrees on either side of the centerline. The extremes of the abnormal behavioral problems extend out to 50% on either side of the centerline. Let us take Fear as an example. Some people are so fearful they are afraid to leave their home, while others are so fearless they may dive off a cliff into a pool of water. These are extremes, and we all fall somewhere in between. Those of us who are fortunate enough not to be afflicted by those pre-mentioned mental disorders are blessed in the sense that, practicing the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous, can bring us back toward the centerline and we can lead a somewhat normal life.
For those ill-fated ones afflicted by those conditions, they can stay sober. But the behaviors are still apparent to us and, unless we can recognize and replace the habit of judging them by their outward behavior, we are still outside the normal range ourselves. When we replace the habit of being judgmental with the habits of Compassion and Empathy, we are somewhat closer to the centerline. We can change all those alcoholic behaviors when we recognize them, simply by looking deeper into our motives for our actions pointed out in the A.A, program. Steps Six and Seven begin this process of recognizing our defects of character, based on our thinking, and changing the shortcomings or actions that result from those thoughts.
“There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.” (BB pg. 58)
My question is, do we have the capacity to be accepting when we recognize that some of us have these uncontrollable deeper-rooted issues and that we cannot compare them to ourselves and be judgmental about these difficulties? Love, Compassion and Empathy are the centerline positions in these cases. They need our understanding.