When I first heard that recovering alcoholics were required to maintain total abstinence for the remainder of their lives, I immediately shunned the idea of Alcoholics Anonymous altogether. “If you expect me to quit drinking forever,” I thought to myself, “you might as well put a bullet in my head right now. That is the only way something as ludicrous as that is going to happen.” Maybe my first thought wasn’t quite so eloquent (and perhaps a bit more vulgar), but it was something along those same lines. I remember the first time I shared in an AA meeting. In retrospect I had no idea what was going on; what the intention was, why everyone got together and talked and held hands and prayed. To me it was nonsense. But I was good at picking up on the structure of things and vacantly mimicking them. I had become quite good at that. And so I raised my hand enthusiastically (I was nervous, because I could feel again for the first time), and I spoke. I shared. And I blacked out sober, and I don’t remember what I said. But I remember I incorporated something like, “When I’m not longer an alcoholic, I’ll probably still go to meetings.” Something like that. Something sweet and naïve like that. And I was swarmed after the meeting by wisdom-imparting old-timers, assuring me that I would be an alcoholic forever. Forever and ever and ever.
I Tried to Drink in Moderation, Time and Time Again
I didn’t really stick with it that time, I had no real desire to. I assumed that my parents were being neurotic and overdramatic and that was that. I transferred from the treatment center I was in to a halfway house in Los Angeles, close enough to my college to not put any kind of kink in my daily design for living. Which was, you know… go to class when I could make it and drink with my ‘friends’ all weekend long. I quickly realized that weekly piss tests hardly interfered with my social life. This halfway thing was going to be cake. I went to AA meetings to see celebrities and flirt with boys, and avoided getting a sponsor because I knew what sponsors did. Sponsors told you that you had to stop drinking and find God – no thanks, not for me. Besides, I had been successfully drinking in moderation. I only blacked out, like, three times a week.
Things Continued to Get Worse
They say addiction is a progressive disease, and I can certainly attest to that. I left the halfway house after one of my roommates overdosed and died in the downstairs bathtub. Too much. Once I was free again (not like I wasn’t snorting coke off of the sober living sinks, but you know) I hit the ground running. Started drinking alone for the first time – a fifth of Burnett’s every night. Moderation eluded me. But still, I had things under control. Right? I was maintaining a lucrative career at Panini Café, attending classes when I found the time, and I had a steady boyfriend with whom I only got into drunken screaming matches occasionally. Life was good! Except for the fact that I was miserable, and I woke up every morning wishing that I was dead.
Recovery Is Possible
I learned later on that I had a physical allergy to alcohol – that once I had consumed that first drink, I instantaneously lost all power of choice in how much I consumed thereafter. The first drink was the one that got me drunk. Moderation was a dangerous delusion – an intangible ideal, a real alcoholic American pipedream. Today, abstinence is nothing short of a blessing. The things that I have gained through the beautiful process of recovery are things that I would not risk losing for absolutely anything. I gave up one thing – one thing that was slowly killing me, ripping my soul from my insides in greedy fistfuls – and I gained everything. Everything I could have ever dreamed of. Recovery is possible, as is a complete psychic change. Only a few minor steps are necessary, and we are here to help get you started on your personal journey of recovery. Give us a call today, and kiss your delusional desires of controllable self-destruction goodbye.