Wow, in 10 days I’ll have strung together seven years of continuous days without drinking. With this impending milestone at the forefront, I’d like to share with you my experience, strength and hope of recovery, self-discovery and living seven years without alcohol.
There are four AA slogans repeated in every meeting that I held resentments toward for several sober years but over time they have transitioned into life savers for me. And, I do mean LIFE savers!
The mercurial seas, always churning and constantly changing. Periods of calm followed by impressive storms and then back to calm. Sounds like sober living to me…with a big ole iceberg in my downward path, no matter what course correction I made. Aware of this iceberg, I believed that if I just start attacking what I could see, then what I couldn’t see buried beneath, would just somehow go away. Like my bill paying method. Put them in a draw and they no longer exist. Of course, it doesn’t work that way. Nor does sobriety. I learned that I had to uncover and address the entire iceberg – bit by bit. For me, it was and still is, the uncovering and discovery of my character defects, the acceptance of those defect and the summoning and mobilizing the courage to take action.
I understand that ideal learning and retention takes place during two heightened emotional states, when we are happy and when we are sad. For the past seven years, I experienced a lot of pain and suffering with some happiness along the way. Through the pain and suffering, self-discovery then mindfulness, I have learned a lot! And through all that learning, I have predominantly learned that I have only removed the tip of the iceberg. Going forward, I am excited and open to being teachable. There is hope for a still better future, a more complete self, and I am humbled and grateful for the people in my life that will guide me there as long as I remain willing.
Seven years ago, I couldn’t even make it into the rooms of AA without taking a resentment. They had alcoholics stationed at the door who would greet you with a big WELCOME as you approached. They even gave you a hug sometimes, if you happened to let you guard down. I resented that. It didn’t matter if it was audible or otherwise, I resented the welcome. The voice in my head told me to be on guard, they’re not as happy as they are projecting and they are here only to suck the remaining life from you and be thankful that they are not you. Twisted and insane thinking. That was me.
Today, I enjoy a hearty welcome, a handshake and a smile when there are alcoholics at the entrance of the meeting rooms. After all, it is customary to welcome a new person; be it at your home, place of business, etc. Today when we welcome the newcomers at meetings, I say a silent little prayer…”Hope you stay, don’t die if you don’t”! I have seen the later too much.
Resentment number two..”Keep coming back”! Immediately the voices in my head would go into overdrive, offering up, in a whiny mocking voice…keep coming back, keep coming back. They need a fresh supply of newcomers to plug into and drain their energy to keep their own sobriety. But I kept coming back, alert and on guard. And, I did one thing perfectly each time I untethered myself from AA….I didn’t drink NO MATTER WHAT! Not drinking allowed me to come back each time with a clearer head and a hopeful heart.
Resentment number three…:You must take contrary action”. Huh, are you shitting me! You’re saying that my thinking is 100% off and that you want me to trust YOU! I remember thinking “that will never F’ing happen.” Pain and suffering, however, have a way of getting you to do things you wouldn’t normally do. I picked up the phone and called five people to run my latest crisis of conscience past. All five people I checked with…ALL FIVE…offered a response that was opposite of mine. So I threw those names out and got a new list of five people. That’s not true. I have learned that when my thinking goes bad, I cannot think my way out of bad thinking. That voice in my head is in overdrive…you pussy, you couldn’t buck up be a man and make your own decision. You’re weak! You have no confidence in your own abilities, when are you going to learn to rely on yourself,and on and on an on, spiraling seep into self-pity, self-loathing, self-hatred with a brutal and punishing voice. I rely on others opinion these days. When they dispatch their advice, I follow it. This has made a huge impact to my life.
Resentment number four. “You must work with others”. Ugh! That is an doable suggestion. I must seek out those who need help. And in doing so, I also help myself. I’ve learned something very valuable along the way. When I am engaged and helping another struggling alcoholic, I experience a new-found freedom of joy and happiness. Who could argue against that! Resentments gone. Iceberg gone!
13 thoughts on “Iceberg Ahead – Seven years of Sober Seas”
So you met me on the plane. We had quite the lovely chat and you changed my views on AA. I was one day sober, not even that I was on my first day sober. I am so thankful to you for your words of wisdom as my view has completely changed.
After my 8 sober days in Seattle, I came back to Vegas and I got back from my second AA meeting tonight. 15 days sober. I plan on attending at least one more this weekend. You were so right about going in with the right attitude. It’s the smartest decision I ever made.
I couldn’t find your email on here, but hopefully you will have my email now. I put it in the box below but I don’t know if you get it or not. Thanks a ton Iceman18! I remember your name, just don’t know if you wanted it put on here!
Thanks for letting me know how you’re doing Gamerj. I’m inspired by your 15 days of sobriety. That helps me stay sober another day.
You’re 15 days away from a 30 day chip. Having traveled the road you’re on, those 15 days that you have to 30 are much more difficult than my 366 days to 8 years. It gets easier with time. Remember that and smile when you pick up your 30 day chip. I’ll send you my email address. Way to go Gamer!
46 days now. Still waiting for you to send me your email address. I never got it.
You commented on my blog http://climbthewell.wordpress.com/
so I decided to come over and read some of yours. It looks like you had a huge gap in writing. A year or so? What was going on with you during that time? Just curious about you.
Thanks for stopping by. And, I appreciate your question. I have gotten busy with life again. My career has really taken off and I could easily work 15 to 16 hours a day. But I don’t. My kids like me again and I love being in there lives. I’ve been working on my marriage and owe my wife a living amends. And, I have been working with other alcoholics.
The Psychologist that I had been seeing encouraged me to write my story down. I did that and intended to leave it at that. I get a little down time at the beginning of the year and popped on to write a few post the last couple of years. Wish I had more time but I’m happy where I spend my time in a more balanced fashion.
You sound like you’re in a great place sober. AA seems to work for a lot of drunks, but I have had to take a slightly different route to staying sober. It’s very ‘inner work’ involved, not really ‘outer’. I’m 34 years sober and, it so weird, no one in AA wants what I have and I don’t want what they have. But I still go to AA even though my “program’ is so different from most other AA’ers. I’m actually on an odyssey of sorts. It’s a program of absolutely NO addictions or obsessions of ANY kind. I need to find out the “exact nature… of what is wrong with me”. (the exact nature of our wrongs as per the Big Book). If you are curious about what happens when an alcoholic extreme child-abuse survivor… gets sober. My odyssey starts with this post. http://climbthewell.wordpress.com/2014/04/07/on-being-a-social-outcast/
Thanks for stopping by. If one is sober, by any means, there is the possibility of working through one’s demons and living a fulfilling life. That’s what I found. Courage to you on your journey.
Your honesty is refreshing and I love this post. It reminds me so much of the way I perceived AA and the people who attended AA. I was lost, alone, confused and a know-it-all with openness the size of a pea. No one could have possibly understood me and my problems and no one had problems like mine. My learning curve for continual sobriety was quite elongated. I am excited to read on and dig deeper into your stories. Thank you for your support over in my neighborhood as well. Awesome honesty. Brutal honesty is always the best reading. Keep it up my friend!
I forgot to mention– your advocacy towards stopping child abuse is amazing stuff. I too advocate the non aggression principle for children. (I believe in the non aggression principle as a whole). I have a few posts that talk about the negative effects of spanking our children. Kuddos to you! It is truly world-changing principles.
Thanks for your comments.
“We are quick to recognize the splinter in the eyes of others, while we fail to recognize the log in our own.”
I can laugh at myself now, knowing how blind I once was. Today, I am grateful that somehow I kept coming back to AA. I would get to the point where I had it all figured out and then leave the rooms. Only to come back when I got an ass kickin from life. I never drank when I was untethered and that I believe was the key.
That’s a miracle that you was able to not drink during that time. Giving advise is always so much easier than actually living it. Walking the walk as they say. I don’t always walk the walk but at least I am aware when I’m starting to slack. I am blind in one eye from the “log” that’s in it. Lol