It’s important that I recognize you for taking the time and effort to come to my blog to learn more about my journey with the disease of alcoholism. Thank you for being here with me today!
This could be the first post you’re reading, or could be your third. It really doesn’t matter because you’re here. You may have a had a very challenging day dealing with cravings, triggers, and thoughts of hopelessness. But I’m here to tell you, you’re not alone! I’m here with you at this very moment supporting your decision to fight against this terrible disease. You are one step further away from your addiction and be proud of that accomplishment to do something different today than pick up a drink or drug. I’ve stated in another post that I may not know how you feel right now but I’m pretty sure I’ve had the same thoughts and feelings you might be experiencing.
Take a breath…this disease sucks! And it takes a lot out of us. Relax, you’re in a safe place right now. Please do yourself a favor right now and find a nice quiet area where ever you may be. Whether the kids are screaming, the wife or husband is yelling at you to do something around the house, or it’s simply too loud where you are. And maybe your mind is racing with thoughts. Your head hurts and your mind is even loud. Pause, find that place you need to find. Immerse yourself in that quiet place. Focus on removing all unhealthy thoughts and come join me in this little story about being “frustrated”.
So I ask, “Have you ever had a day where you were so pissed and frustrated and you just couldn’t shake it loose?”
I think anyone can say a resounding yes to this question! Well, I’m here to tell you about an experience I had about being frustrated early on in my recovery. I was at a halfway house after treatment. The standard protocol is that most alcoholics and addicts have to continue to the next phase of treatment. A halfway house. I will say, many of us are defiant to the idea of having to go to a halfway house. I was no exception. But I can tell you this, it saved my life by doing so. My advice would be to remove your ego (Edging God Out) and allow things to happen as your Higher Power wants them to happen for you. (See Step 3)
Of course I didn’t want to go to a halfway house. I mean, “I’m way better than than living in some shitty place with other alcoholics and addicts. I have a life to live, right?” – Yeah, I think you know what I’m talking about.
But I did come to my senses and took the “advice” from my counselor to live in a halfway house. I had to swallow my pride, once again! (Laughing) The funny thing is that I had no pride left. I mean…who was I kidding? And on top of that, I was technically homeless. So where else was I going to go. That’s how screwed up your mind (my mind) gets when your in the depths of this disease. Did you key in on the word, “mind”. Don’t forget this is a mental disease. It’s not about you putting down the jug or drugs. You need help. We all need help. I needed help and it started with treatment, then a halfway house. It wasn’t the most glamorous thing I’ve ever done in my life. But I needed to do it! As it says in the Big Book of AA, “Are you willing to go to any lengths to get what we have?” I was ready and your damn right I was willing to do whatever it would take to get my life back. – Are you ready to get your life back?
I don’t know how many days that it was living in the halfway house when I had day that put me over the edge. It really doesn’t matter because I had so many thoughts each and everyday of so many different things early on in my recovery. This is quite normal by the way, so relax. But this particular day was exceptionally tough on me. I guess you could say it was a day of judgement against myself. A day of comparison against the world. A day in which I was looking at everything I didn’t have or have lost because of drinking. I think you know what I’m talking about if you think like me. Bottom line, the day was like a tea pot on the stove ready to whistle and blow its top! Thankfully, I had my scheduled meeting that night with my counselor. I needed to talk to someone badly.
It was about 7:05pm at night. I’ll never forget the time as I’ll get to in a little while. I didn’t take much for me to verbally spew everything about what I was thinking about that day to my counselor. I can’t remember exactly what I told her, but I know it had the overtone of self pity, resentments, sadness, anger, and frustration. (Laugh) That was too easy to type! I can remember it like it was yesterday and it’s been 6 1/2 years since that time.
So I continued to rant on and on about how pissed I was about life. And where I was at in life being 36 years of age. “I’m mean c’mon, I’m in a friggn halfway house?!” I couldn’t believe it and didn’t want to believe. I wanted life to be back to the good ole’ days before all the destruction that has happen in my life due to my alcoholism. I wanted life to be how I wanted it to be. You see, I’m selfish and I don’t like it when things aren’t working out to my liking. There were so many things that were out of my control at this moment and I was ready to unravel like fishing line on a reel.
I was thinking, “It wasn’t fair that I was having to go through this recovery bullshit to get my life back!” – Especially when my daughter was out there waiting for me, needing me to be there for her.
Well, I’m here to tell you (as I’ve learned now) that life isn’t fair no matter how you cut it. This was the hand that was dealt to me. Or, did I deal it to myself? Think about what I just said. Was the hand dealt to us (as alcoholics/addicts), or did we deal our own hand of destruction? I won’t go deep into this question at this time. But I want to pose this question for you to think about your own life. Life moves on right? So we both still need to play our cards in the game of life. So I choose to look at the only ace I had (my daughter) and continued to hold on for that next great card. I can say now, I think it’s worked out so far as I’ve been in the game of sobriety for 6 1/2 years. And I’m damn proud of that too! I don’t care if you have 24 hours, 2 weeks, 2 months, or 20 years. Be proud of yourself now and every day you take a breathe living sober. You’re not dead, you’re just living a sober life. A new life! So live the life that your Higher Power wants you to live. Only you can choose to screw it up by going back out there and use again.
So let me end this post about frustration by explaining what happened when my counselor finally spoke to me after my ranting and raving about how life sucked. She asked me, “What time is it right now?” I looked at the clock and it said 7:05pm. I answered her. She then asked me when I’d be going to bed. I told her around 10-10:30pm. She said, ok. Then you have about three and half hours to be pissed the rest of the day. Go ahead and give yourself permission to be pissed the rest of the day if you want. She asked if I could do that. I said yes. She then said, “Do you think you can wake up tomorrow morning and realize tomorrow is a new day and that you can give yourself permission to have a good day?” I said, “YES!”
You see, a miracle happened to me that night. What miracle is that you ask? It was a miracle that I was able to accept being at a halfway house. It was a miracle that I knew I was right where I was supposed to be in my life at that time. (Although hard as it was on me) It was a miracle that I was actually reaching out for help instead of trying to do it my way and still suffering. It was a miracle that I had counselors to work with me during my recovery. It was a miracle someone, anyone would listen to my problems and feelings. It was a miracle that I had someone to talk to about my frustrations, resentments, sadness, and anger that I had inside me. It was a miracle that I was willing to share what I did with my counselor that night. It was miracle that she was able to understand how I was feeling. It was a miracle she gave me a tool I could use to make it to the next day, and look at the next day differently.
You see, it was a brief moment in time. A brief moment in my life that helped change my life forever. My counselor gave me the opportunity to take my life back in a healthy way by empowering me to make the decision whether or not to pissed the rest of the day. Understand that, I was feeling that I needed to get rid of it somehow by “working the program”. Or turning my will and life over to the care of God as I understood him (Step 3). I was going crazy in my mind about how to figure this out. The thoughts and feelings wouldn’t go away that day. But the funniest thing happened that night before I fell asleep. I don’t know when it happened. But my frustrations and anxiety were washed away. I remembering going to bed and laying my head down on my pillow feeling at peace. I slept with hope in my heart and faith that life will be good again. And just like that, it has. One day at a time.
I realized at that moment that we all have bad days. And some days we can’t shake off the thoughts and feelings we are having. But those thoughts and feelings aren’t meant to last forever. See, tomorrow is truly a new day for both you, and me. So give yourself permission to have a miserable day if you’re having one. But know that tomorrow will absolutely be better than it was today. And I bet you can’t have a shitty day if you tell yourself to have one. You’ll see how this works if you put it to the test. It will actually be a relief when you say to yourself, “I give myself permission to have a shitty day!” I don’t believe it can happen, because life isn’t meant to be lived this way. Thank you for giving me your time today. I wish you all the best in your recovery from your disease of addiction.
May you lay your head on your pillow tonight in peace, knowing tomorrow will be better than it was today!