Thursday, April 7, 2011

Ever been to a meeting and heard this?

So the topic was on the second step and I got called on first.  I've got energy and I don't mind... setting the pace so to speak.

It went along pretty good for a bit ... I think.  The chair person was a good one... good topic.

Then just when it seemed like the meeting was gonna fizzle, E got called on.  He said some very powerful stuff.  He's sober 30+.  He is one of only three guys in town who can/will hear my 3 column inventory.  He had said something to the effect... "So if you can manage well... or come in with that desparation that you really need to do it this time... like it's the last house on the block and I really really got to get it this time or else and you do... you fit the description of the hard drinker."

I don't know if that's exactly how he said it or what he said... but it was something to that effect.  But it hit me as true.  Then the very next gal who was picked said, "E... usually you say something that inspires me... but I'm not feeling it this time.  Maybe it will hit me in a few hours or so."

I can't believe that she said that.  First of all... who give a shit what you think or feel?  The thing he said seemed to have annoyed or upset her.  Maybe she heard some truth and it bothered her.  Maybe she heard something that didn't "resonate" with her.

I think the real deal is this... MOTRers and/or hard drinkers DO NOT like being called hard drinkers.  It offends them.  They don't want to be called out as hard drinkers and they don't want to be moved.  They like comfort... making coffee... cleaning ashtrays.  Oh wait, we don't do that anymore.

The later part of E's statement may confuse some of you ... you may not agree with it.  But here's my own experience with the thing... my last time back went like this;  I didn't even think I had any resove left.  I knew that my drinking was spiraling out of hand and I was realizing that I could not bargain with my wife any longer.  Get sober or bye bye wife.  I'd tried to arrange trying some "controlled drinking" and she would have no part of it.  So I really really was geared towards splitting with her and going it alone... not so much because I wanted to continue drinking like I was... but because I was quite sure that I'd already done that A.A. shit and it was just not for me anymore.  I didn't want to do it again, I didn't want to fail you folks yet again... and I also didn't want to put up with your shit and hear your lectures.  I'd rather drink bourbon and just say "Fuck All Y'all!"

So I had absolutely no hope in coming back... yet again... and I didn't want to even bother y'all with it again.

But I did.  I swallowed my pride for just a few moments for some reason, came back in and said, "Here I am.  Can you help me?"  This group did not tell me "You have to want to quit more than you want to drink."  or "You have to want it for you."  or "Easy does it... one day at a time."  No, they said, "Yes, we can help you.  You can do this.  But first, do you think you have a problem with booze... and are you ready to quit for good and all (or maybe even 'Do you want to do something about it?')"

I said "Yes" and "Yes" and I meant it.  I walked away from there with a complete sense of surrender and I felt hope immediately.

I don't know if what I experienced then was right or wrong, good bad or indifferent... but I knew what E was sayin'.


  1. I dunno there, Patrick. Maybe I'm misreading what E's saying here. But it seems to me that he's telling everyone several different things.

    First, "If you can manage well...". That implies to me that you can manage your drinking. Okay, hard drinker here.

    But then he goes on to say "or come in with that desperation that you really need to do it this time..." Need to do what? Manage well or stop drinking? Maybe hard drinker, but that depends on why you need to do it.

    Then he finishes with"...like it's the last house on the block and you really need to get it this time or else and you do...you fit the description of a hard drinker".

    The first two parts of the statement to me talk about a hard drinker. Someone who can manage, but perhaps not very well sometimes.

    But when he talks about the last house on the block and it's now or else, that says to me that you're really desperate to stop and are fortunate enough to be able to. That I see as an "real" alcoholic who's successful in his recovery, not as a description of a hard drinker.

    I don't ever see a hard drinker in an "or else" situation with regards to his drinking. Yeah, maybe his wife gives him an "or else", or his job is threatened. But when I think of I need to stop "or else", it's a life or death "or else" which doesn't apply to the hard drinker.

    Maybe I'm just misunderstanding what E's saying. If the "or else" situation is about an ultimatum from another person, then OK. I can see it applying to the hard drinker.

    I was like you in that I walked in the doors begging for help. I was asked if I was willing to do anything to stop. That was the only question asked and it was a pass/fail, not bullshit response accepted one.

    As to your girlfriend who didn't feel "moved" by what E said, I recommend more fiber in her diet.

  2. The way I took what E was saying was that there's this notion of a "Last House on the Block" to begin with and that it's get sober now or die... and that this is supposed to motivate us to quit the booze for good and all.

    How about this... we're leading a pretty good life... have a good job, a great family, a watch... on our hand... a car in the garage... with four new tires... painted all one color... with no whiskey bumps nor any tequila scratches, but we seem to have the inability to control the amount once we start to drink... and although we seem to be able to put the bottle down for days or weeks when we really mess up enough, but the time always comes that we drink again with the threadbare idea that we'll be able to control our drinking this time. Oh, and in this scenario, we're not only not on the last house on the block, but we're not even in a fucking cul-de-sac. Are we any less alcoholic than the sap who has a liver the size of Oprah Winfrey's ass?

    Do we need the drama and the sufficient reason and the failed marriages and the D.U.I.s and the drinking from the gutter before we can sign up and join the club? Or can we qualify if we're just seeing some issues with control... mentally and physically?

    I'm all for a good war story...if there's a point. It's got to demonstrate a loss of control and if it includes some progression as time goes on, that might be of interest. If it shows the inability to differentiate the truth from the false, especially with regards to liquor, that might be of interest.

  3. That's the way I saw E's "Last House on the block", too. Get sober or die.

    As to the high bottom drunk with the good job etc, he may well be more of an alcoholic than the the one with an elephant's liver.

    Drama, DUI's, failed marriages, jails, and all make good stories, but I think the bottom line here is a matter of control, not a position in society.

    Either we can control our drinking or not. If we can't, then we qualify for club membership (assuming we want to join). The sooner we learn that we're powerless over alcohol, the less likely we'll end up in a low bottom situation.

    If, given enough motivation, we can control our drinking, then we're not eligible. We're just hard drinkers.

    And I think everyone's story is gonna involve a loss of control, some obvious progression, denial, and all that shit we went through. How much drama is involved depends on how quickly we accepted the reality of our alcoholism and did something about it.

  4. That's what he was talking about, I believe. The newcomer often describes some horrible situation that just happened to them and why they are now so willing to join this crusade against booze... rather than getting to the nitty gritty about how I respond to booze and why that adds up to lack of control mentally or physically.

    Now, the drama that ensues can help us set up behavior patterns that at least help us remember things from the past.

    A lot of our detractors point to the possibility that this malady is behavioral. Think of situations you have been in as a result of excessive drinking. Were you pretty devastated? Would law authorities be concerned? Is there not some sense of concern in the drinker? Could a behavioral situation be used to ellicit control?

    If not... then is booze or the situation or the behavior the problem? If not, then what is the drinker going to do this time to avoid the situation in the future?

  5. Oh, well if this is the last house on the block... then I must be willing. There is no moving past here. I must be so perfectly willing that I'm now out on the limb that I just simply choose to not drink ever again. I don't need God, I don't need to do these steps and I don't need A.A.

    I can ride to town on my willingness and Grace.