Monday, August 15, 2011

The "Crux" of the Problem

"The monkey's off our back but the circus is still in town". So goes' the the ole saying, one which brings an immediate identification for most alcoholics that have been dry for any period of time. It becomes apparent as we try to integrate back into the society that we had turned our backs on (or never felt a part of to begin with) that we have a host of contorted emotional conflict within us. We carried around a toxic soup of misappropriated feelings and ideas about life that obviously weren't working. As we related to others we were content one minute, wanna kill some son-bitch the next! The jobs ok, then we felt like an incompetent idiot, may as well die!!!!... naw, just drink-the next minute. Periodically we would suffer from a relapse into a debilitating low self concept. Some innocuous social event occurs. An embracement, an attempt at humor in a social setting backfires, common place rejection in romance or business, we recoil into "tunnel thinking". Suddenly our entire life is defined by that one disproportionally uncomfortable moment. We have no peripheral memory of ever having done ANYTHING RIGHT! We cannot escape the moment; we cannot put Humpty Dumpty back together again. This "sort of thinking dominates an alcoholic who repeats time after time the desperate experiment of the first drink".

Drinking alcohol is not what was wrong with the alcoholic before he ever took his first drink. Booze was a solution that we stumbled upon, back when we didn't know there was anything wrong with our approach to life. We were not even aware that drinking was a solution to anything, we just naturally followed the well worn path between our house and the 7 Eleven. For most of us the "discovery" of alcohol marked a place of arrested emotional development, deterioration. We seemed to grow more irresponsible, more immature while the non-alcoholic people around us were steady, as if they intuitively knew how to live.

Dr. Carl Young pegged it when he explained to Rowland that a radical personality change brought on by a spiritual awakening is what needed to take place if any chance of permanent sobriety was to follow. He explained: "Ideas, emotions, and attitudes which were once the guiding forces of the lives of these men are suddenly cast to one side, and a completely new set of conceptions and motives begin to dominate them" The AA text explains that we have being trying to get "a new attitude" towards life by way of a new relationship with our creator.

As alcoholics, drinking became the only normal life, but while we may have recovered from drinking, now we have to recover from "the crux of the problem". If not then we become so uncomfortable in our own skin that a return to drinking or even the thought of suicide looks attractive.

Colter K.


  1. Good point, but I don't believe in this suicide horseshit.

    I have never, nor will I ever commit suicide. I think it's possible that some people are so mentally ill and/or depressed and maybe even possessed by a demon that they go to or think of suicide. But not so with me.

    I wouldn't be sober at all today if I didn't have my shit together and my ducks in a row... to the extent that I know I'm going to be ok today. I got this by working steps. I got this by being recovered.

    It is true that alcohol is not the crux of the problem. The fact that I've tapped into the power of God and let That flow through me is also the fact that I don't want a drink today. The not drinking nor the wanting to is a side benefit.

    I don't even need to save a drunk today... not that I can anyway. Rather, if I get the opportunity to help a drunk today, I get to. Now Bill and Bob may have at one time "needed" to. I don't need to. I have a set of steps available to me today and I can discern between what kind of meeting I can go to today... if any. Back in the day, they didn't have such a choice... but I bet their meeting was a good one.

    Maybe they had more willing drunks back then, IDK. In the summers around here, people are so active and out n about. They usually don't come crawling back to A.A. until Fall sets in. We'll see.

  2. I will have to add this; folks that observed by behavior on my last drunks would probably think I was someone with a death wish.

    I probably looked like someone who wanted to kill themself. But in the morning, no matter how awful I'd felt and the terror... I'd always pick myself back up and look for ways to rebuild. I stood up to my guilt and asked for my punishment.

    Now the inner shame would be something else... my own inner hell, so to speak. A drink would usually fix that. Or once in a while, I'd just suffer... until that spark of hope came my way again. It always comes, if you look for it.

  3. Alcohol, ethyl alcohol specifically, is a benign chemical mixture that just sits there in the bottle causing no harm. But when I take a drink of the stuff, funny reactions happen with my genetic makeup. The results ain’t pretty. And to make things worse, “a drink” isn’t part of my vocabulary. “Start drinking” is more appropriate.

    As Colter said, if I stop drinking I’m still the same asshole, only I’ve sobered up. Actually, I was a bigger asshole sober than I was when I was drinking. This sorta points to the problem being me, not the alcohol. It took me a long time to figure that out. Shit, I was happy blaming everyone else. Couldn’t be me, I wasn’t even drinking.

    So I’d get tired of the drama and go back out again, just to show everyone that’s it’s all their fault. That’s the beauty of alcohol – it took away the guilt, the shame, the regrets, and life was good again. As long as I was drinking, that is.

    And I reached the point where I couldn’t not drink. I crossed the line. The guilt and all that started to appear again. The alcohol didn’t work anymore. Life sucked.

    Eventually I got smart, found a decent fucking sponsor who whipped my ass and I got sober. And by getting sober through the program of AA I changed. My whole personality changed. I developed a spiritual life and found some serious serenity. A friend of mine likes to say the same person will drink again, so the personality change was critical.

    I never got into the pits of despair where suicide was an option. I know two people who did commit suicide within the past two years and another two who tried to, so maybe I’m fortunate. Or maybe my bottom wasn’t like theirs. Dunno.

  4. I know two who did commit suicide as well; PHONE got hooked on method, committed atrocities on his family and Hung himself, and Louie, who was manic-depressive and did not like the way humanity was going.

    Both drank to excess, but neither was alkies.

    Evil is out there... autonomous from us. We do not corner the market on evil... nor is evil just the flip-side of Tue "Good" coin.

    We choose into evil. Facing our truth and being rigorous seekers of truth changes us.

    No shit folks like us got to work the steps.

    Nobody needed to kick my ass to make me willing. Booze seemed to do that just fine.

    I guess my sponsor's name is Jack Daniels... Old #007.

  5. I have a morbid list of 12 people who took their own lives sober. The mental illness or spiritual malady is still there after we stop drinking, even after a spiritual awakening. On the road to happy destiny, the second mile is not very crowded.


  6. Yeah? That's why I do steps yearly.

    Why again do I do that? For one thing, I was told I should do it. For another thing, it works... whether I want to do it or not.

    Paul Martin used to say... or was he quoting Bill W.?? "When we do what we need to do, we find that it's what we wanted all along."

  7. Uh oh. This just in;


    Evidently, alcoholism and drug addiction are not spiritual maladies after all. It's just a brain disorder. Pfizer and Roche Pharms will becoming out with a pill upon FDA approval.

  8. Not quite. "At its core, addiction isn't just a social problem or a moral problem or a criminal problem. It's a brain problem whose behaviors manifest in all these other areas," said Dr. Michael Miller, past president of ASAM.

    What they're saying here is that addiction isn't a character weakness as many would like us to think, but an actual, primary disease. And as such, it manifests itself in moral (spiritual) problem areas as well as social areas etc.

    This we know. Addiction is a spiritual malady, but not just a spiritual malady. It's also a physical as well as psychological malady.

    So for those who say that all you need is willpower to overcome alcoholism, this is a good "scientific" response that they keep demanding be provided.

    And there are already pills on the market to treat alcoholism. But as the article says, addiction is a chronic disease which requires one to choose a recovery process as a cure isn’t in the cards. We have chosen one – the program of AA. Our recovery program involves a spiritual approach to treat our alcoholism.

    There’s nothing new in this article other than setting some things down in stone that we already know. Alcoholism is a primary, chronic, progressive and fatal disease. What else is new?

  9. Danny S. seems to think that it's going to set into motion the professionalizing of working with drunks and that you will have to be a licensed pro to sponsor... or work with alkies.

  10. Right. Good luck with that. Next you'll have to make an appointment to attend a meeting. I don't we need to worry about that one too much.

    Which leads me to the story I heard recently about a sponsor who was a Psychologist by trade. He's sponsor guys and bill their insurance companies, "waiving" the copay. Seems the sponsees didn't know anything about it 'til one got a statement from his insurance company.

    And I'll make a deal with those who want sponsors to be licensed. I'll get a license if there's a requirement that all licensed pros be recovering alcoholics with 5 years or more of sobriety. That'll clear out the Treatment Centers pretty quickly.

  11. Hello, Mcgowdog:
    I'm still sober (32+ years), and taking life on its own terms! I can't always control what happens to me, but I always have the option to control how I react.
    I like your motorcycle photos (you have a good eye for picture-taking), and they bring back back memories of my "wild youth"!
    I hope you remember to put out your flag tomorrow in remembrance of the fallen of 9-11-01 (a day I cannot forget).
    Hope all your family is well!