I’m still here. I’m still sober. 19 days now. And I am finally, FINALLY feeling joy. That first couple of weeks was a BITCH. I was telling a few people how I felt like I had literally knocked my brain down another notch with the last 10 weeks I was drinking because the couple of times I had quit before with any success, I had felt immediately happy happy happy. This time all I felt was blank. For two weeks. Blank with a side of inexplicable melancholy and mental imbalance. Yippee.
It hadn’t occurred to me that what I had probably “knocked down another notch” was the happy hormones in my brain like serotonin and dopamine. Someone with many years of sobriety pointed this out to me – she could see how concerned I was over my state of “nothingness” – and oh my god I was so relieved because I recognized immediately that’s what it was. I had the same feelings coming off of doing ecstasy on a couple of occasions years ago, that drop in those hormones for a week or two that follows use of MDMA, and that’s just what it felt like.
So it finally passed. Since Tuesday night or so I have been very happy and finally on what I would consider an even keel. No longer out of it and weird and blank. That is seriously the most bizarre feeling ever.
Anyway… happy. I has it. And peace and quiet and balance. I no longer feel like I am teetering on the edge of a huge precipice.
And I think too that, in the evenness not coming so easily this time, it has made me a lot more vigilant against the insanity sneaking up, tapping me on the shoulder and telling me one night of drinking would be just fine. I am under no illusion any more that it would be just fine. No.
Going to AA has also helped keep me on that track, absolutely. In that vein, I’d like to leave something here, for keeps, that is read out loud at the beginning of my 12&12 on Mondays. It’s the start of Chapter 3 of Alcoholics Anonymous (The Big Book). The first meeting I went to, the first time I heard this, all I could think was “OH MY GOD THAT’S ME!” Hearing it again and again only serves to drive the point home further. As I need it to, every day.
Chapter 3 – More About Alcoholism
Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics. No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink like other people. The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.
We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.
We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking. We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control. All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such intervals usually brief were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization. We are convinced to a man that alcoholics of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness. Over any considerable period we get worse, never better.
We are like men who have lost their legs; they never grow new ones. Neither does there appear to be any kind of treatment which will make alcoholics of our kind like other men. We have tried every imaginable remedy. In some instances there has been brief recovery, followed always by a still worse relapse. Physicians who are familiar with alcoholism agree there is no such thing a making a normal drinker out of an alcoholic. Science may one day accomplish this, but it hasn’t done so yet.
Despite all we can say, many who are real alcoholics are not going to believe they are in that class. By every form of self- deception and experimentation, they will try to prove themselves exceptions to the rule, therefore nonalcoholic. If anyone who is showing inability to control his drinking can do the right-about- face and drink like a gentleman, our hats are off to him. Heaven knows, we have tried hard enough and long enough to drink like other people!
Here are some of the methods we have tried: Drinking beer only, limiting the number of drinks, never drinking alone, never drinking in the morning, drinking only at home, never having it in the house, never drinking during business hours, drinking only at parties, switching from scotch to brandy, drinking only natural wines, agreeing to resign if ever drunk on the job, taking a trip, not taking a trip, swearing off forever (with and without a solemn oath), taking more physical exercise, reading inspirational books, going to health farms and sanitariums, accepting voluntary commitment to asylums. We could increase the list ad infinitum.
To read the rest, go here.