So two years ago this Tuesday some nice people were monitoring my vitals and making sure I was past the stage where the death knell seizures could be an issue. Anybody else here get to experience a good old fashioned detox? Isn’t it awesome? When the body and mind completely detach themselves from your control and drag you through an emotional darkness and pain that, in hindsight…..is fucking HILARIOUS!
Seriously, we’ll be watching Celebrity Rehab, Intervention, something of that nature and once in a while I’ll just go “oh yeah, I remember that shit”. If you’re going to make it through to the other side you’re going to earn your stripes in the process. You have paid the admission fee in full once you get into some kind of program. The glimpses of euphoria you experience as your dishrag of a body wrings itself clean are a trap. They don’t last, so pay them no mind. All of the things you learn in rehab are great, but nothing more than the equivalent of packing an overnight bag for a lifetime journey.
You can always tell when someone is either brand new or they just fail to grasp the big picture…too much focus on how much they drank, how much you drank, way too much euphoric recall, high minded philosophizing, reinvention of the wheel, nervousness and bravado…all of the short-term shit that means absolutely nothing. When I’m joking around with people I already know I’ll get into some legendary drinkalogues, but when it comes to the alcoholic dick-measuring all I really have to say is “How much did I drink? I drank until it couldn’t make me sick anymore. The only time I would get sick is if I stopped”. Brief, to the point, honest. One of those things that makes non-alcoholics go “oh dear, how sad”, and makes the rest of us go “HA! Oh yeah, I remember that shit! CLASSIC!”.
Last night I went back to my old finishing school to give the “how this thing works” speech to the outpatient group, and tonight is my celebration down at the hall. Two entirely different things. And I have a very long drive to and from work, so they’ve been on my mind quite a bit.
Last year I wrote this incredibly long post once I hit my first anniversary, and had similarly lengthy things to say to the aforementioned groups. All of that stuff is still very true, applicable, but another year has helped to make things…simpler. I still rely upon the program, I will always rely upon the program, I go to meetings, work with my sponsor, work with my sponsee, it is fully and permanently integrated into my life….but LIFE is your focus as time goes on. If I was still fidgety about having a drink after 2 years, or I was all pissed off about labeled an alcoholic…somebody put a bullet in the back of my head, or just give me a fucking drink because all I’m doing is spinning my wheels. Now it’s all about getting to the root of “I was an asshole when I was drunk, I’m still an asshole sober, I guess I should address that”. DO NOT MISINTERPRET- I stay the hell away from situations where it would become normal for me to be around booze regularly. Simply put- if it became normal to be around temptation all the time, eventually I’m getting the proverbial haircut. How do I know that? I’ve seen the shit happen about a thousand times. My family or friends having drinks at dinner, or people bringing beer to a bbq aren’t an issue….but they take that shit home with them and I don’t EVER have liquor in the house (cooking with wine…hell no), and I keep my bottom close enough to me to keep me from romancing the thought of a drink or some wine with my meals. I have my life to keep me occupied, so that kind of distraction is totally unnecessary. It all sounds like overkill or micromanagement….if you haven’t been on the hell-ride.
That’s a big point I’ll drive home to the newly sober people. I don’t want to be a hardass, but last night there were about twenty five in the outpatient group, so at MOST three of them will be sober a year from now. The three that ARE sober have about a 90% chance of being in AA. That’s just the way it works….the newly sober who debate it are the first ones to go off the wagon. The agnostics are being too stupid to even address. Always. No exceptions. I was joking with my sponsor (he’s got 27 years) after a meeting one recent evening and said “Hey buddy, I’ve been around for TWO YEARS! I’ve seen ‘em come and I’ve seen ‘em go!”. He just stopped and said, “You know what? You HAVE!”. And it is the truth. In this short amount of time I’ve seen countless people come in and go out, come in and go out, come in and go out…..I’ve seen people I’ve come to know and love go out and die….I know people with ten years sobriety who have gone back out drinking……this shit does not take a vacation. SOOOOO…it’s funny to go back and listen to the newbie with forty five days talk about how cool it was to go out to the same old bar with their same old friends (who totally support their sobriety) and just have a Pepsi. Fucking idiots. It’s like the movie Groundhog Day watching those scenarios go south…every…single….time. But it’s obviously not completely hopeless, because in the middle of watching the same shit go down time and time again, I’ve managed to compile two full years of sobriety. And some of my best friends are other folks in that “three people out of twenty five” category.
I’m not saying I know everything, and I am annoyingly aware of the AA-rebuttals…usually spouted by people who have no actual knowledge of the disease or can quote everything the internet has told them about why it’s NOT a disease. Intellectual wannabes and angry dry drunks aside, all I know is I’ve been sober for two years, I don’t go around missing alcohol or wearing my sobriety on my sleeve, and my life is about as good as it was in those fleeting first sip of bourbon moments when there was peace and all was right with the world. Except now it’s a reality. I told those people last night- two years from now, if you are alive and on this planet, you will look back at your time in treatment as the easiest you ever had it. Period. No exceptions. Full stop. If you remain sober, it will be the easiest you ever had it because the process of learning to LIVE sober is a sonofabitch. The rewards far, far outweigh the heartache, but still- it’s actual for-real hard work that does not end. If you do NOT remain sober, you will look back on this trip through treatment as the easiest thing you ever did because when you relapse it is never, ever, EVER easier on you than the last time. It only gets worse. You lose more of everything you CAN lose. That is how this beast works. And no, it’s not fair. It’s not fair, but you’re not special. And the cherry on top of that shit sundae is…nobody owes you a goddamn thing. It’s the pride, the anger, the self loathing, the selfishness and the ego……all of those things left unchecked, with drugs or alcohol thrown into the mix, never go easier on you when you let them off the leash. I’ve never seen sheer willpower work, I’ve never seen the hope and love from a supportive family work, never seen anger work, never seen smarts or money or staying busy….never seen ANY of that shit work for very long as far as staying sober. So yeah, as much as working an outpatient program annoys you, this is the easy part. Learning cursive and your times tables comes later. So shut the fuck up about quantum mechanics and listen to the people who have been steadily grinding away at this for a very long time.
After two years of steady grindin’, I’ve achieved a level of supreme knowledge and spirituality that assures me, “You are still a dumbass, and you have to admit you’re way better off than you deserve, so focus on the simplest shit possible and repeat it”. And THAT is basically the message for this evening. Oh, I’ll provide some giggles with some “what is was like” stories that I’d never even share on HERE, because I’m a high spirited joker and all that, but it all comes down to the profoundly deep simplicity of this thing of ours. Ah-HA moments. When I suddenly realized after hearing the fucking reading during EVERY SINGLE meeting that “How It Works” is actually….how it..works. And meeting makers? They make it. It works if you work it, Keep It Simple Stupid, keep coming back….I’ve got many many dollars worth of education and life comes down to phrases like that. They are all bigger than me. Bigger than my mind. So instead of doing the usual thing where I’d try to disprove them or pick them apart, I try them, and if I stay sober and my life continues to improve, I keep repeating them. There are the 12 steps, I work those things, I really do, but that’s all cursive and times tables and all that shit….they are how you continue to grow. As far as basic sobriety and keeping this train on the tracks- go to meetings, listen, share, help others, do what my sponsor says. The kind of simple that just pisses you off. But….it works.
So that’s really about it. It’s hot as hell outside. I honestly do not want to get back out and go to get a coin tonight…but it’s great to get back out and go get a coin tonight. And this train keeps moving. Gotta clean the kitchen tomorrow, folks coming over for fried chicken on Sunday….laundry. Grass is getting too high, but fuck all that in this heat. The Sous Vide Supreme is awesome. OH! Dinner in El Comedor AGAIN tomorrow night! And as a special bonus, we’ll be sharing the table with my favorite family of butcher from up in Trimble. So yeah I’ll take it. This life is okay. It’ll do pig, it’ll do.