Why I’m an Alcoholic

Photo on 1-9-15 at 11.08 PM #2

You know what? Instead of adding to the sea of negativity around the terror attacks, I’m am going to withhold (at least for now) my rant on religion I had intended to post tonight. I’m just going to sit here and try to pray for a forgiving heart, realizing that my hating anybody does the world no good and especially does me no good.

Have you ever heard of the alcoholic’s prayer? It goes something like, “Dear God, if you’ll get me out of this one I swear I will never do this again!” Lord knows I prayed it more than a few times during my sixteen or so years of active addiction to alcohol. But there was another one that I prayed and that continued even into my sobriety. I went something like, “Why God, why? In addition to the other shitty cards I got dealt, why did I have to be an alcoholic too?”

Sooner or later I stopped asking that question. It didn’t really matter anyway. The clear fact that had been proven over and over was that I am an alcoholic and once a you’re a pickle, you’ll never be a cucumber again. I just set about doing what I needed to do to get to midnight without picking up a drink or a drug and that I’ve done, one day at a time, for many years.

Lately, long after I let go of that “why” question, I think the (somewhat existential) “reason” has been revealed to me. Because I became an alcoholic, I have been forced into trying to find a spiritual path by which to live my life. My being an alcoholic made that necessary. That’s enough reason “why” for me. God knows I still stumble and fall more of the time than not, but I hate to think of where I’d be without my (admittedly unconventional) spiritual practice. I got so stung by religion, I would have said “fuck off” to any  that might be qualified as a “design for living” based on spiritual principles. My becoming a drunk took me to my knees. When I found myself there, I figured I might as well pray.

Those of you who have been following my blog have been a witness to some of my darkest, craziest thoughts. You’ve watched me time and time again descend back into resentment and self-pity, especially around my marriage to Adam and our subsequent break up. To tell the truth I am having to do more “spiritual work” around of that in the last couple of months than I did in the previous nine years. I prayed in earnest just to have the thoughts of Adam and the marriage removed. The only possible reason I can think of that the answer to that prayer has been “not yet” is because I have not learned everything I needed to learn from it yet. Instead of just praying for Adam’s wellbeing now, I also pray that it will be revealed to me what I need yet to realize to be completely free of what was one of the worst periods of my life. I have a bad habit of trying to remove my own character defects instead of praying to “have them removed.” A part of me still thinks that I can handle this on my own. Thus, in the same way that alcoholism drove me to have to be wiling to seek some power greater than myself— so has my marriage and divorce.

I want for my experience to benefit others and if nothing else, mine should serve as a cautionary tale warning others against such defiant self-will-run-riot as I demonstrated by getting into a relationship with an active alcoholic drug addict. I had been warned hundreds of times. Still, that ole “I want what I want when I want it” kicked in and nothing absolutely nothing could dissuade me from doing it anyway. I paid— and I continue to pay. I think again the parallel can be drawn to drinking. I have heard the stories of many a sober alcoholic who decided for whatever reason to go back and try to make drinking work once again. Just as I think those people underestimated the level of terror that can be brought about by such a decision, I underestimated what the wreckage of my bad decision would be. I invested years of support (in every sense of that word) toward a common goal. Not only did I not receive any benefit from that sacrifice (save the very painful and costly lessons), the emotional pain that I have had to face because of my bullheadedness has been incredible.

All my problems are of my own making. The things that I am facing right now are a product of the decisions I’ve made over the past several years, dating back to before I met Adam. I will get through this and I will go on to be happy again. I’m not happy now. I’ve not been happy for a while. All the grinning selfies in the world can’t deny what the real truth is— that I danced, and now I have to pay the fiddler. It was not worth it. The best I can take away from it is, as the Marines say, “pain retains.” The most painful lessons are the ones we remember.

If you are saying, as you read this, why doesn’t he get over this and move on— will you do me a favor? Will you stop reading my blog and “unfriend” me in every way you can. You may think I’m crazy but I actually think your limited thinking is hurting me through the collective consciousness. I am getting over it. In the good way. In the healthy way. Slow healing is good healing.  It’s taken this long because of how completely I gave myself to Adam and to the marriage. The time that it has taken for me to “get over it” actually says something about me that I love. I gave it all because that is the kind of man I am— and that’s the kind of man I want to be. I just make better choices about to whom and what I give myself in the future. Adam taught be about unconditional love because I continued to love him even without  the “condition” of his treating me well (an understatement).

Once again, none of this is Adam’s fault. He is a sick individual. Sick, not bad. He’ll figure it out (or not). The great likelihood is that he will never do right by me. In truth, I don’t even know what that would look like anyway. I definitely don’t want him in my life in any way.

Back to focusing on me and what needs to be changed in my life and the way I chose to live it. My prayer is that The Creative Force behind my existence remove every single defect of character that stands in the way of my being of service to God and my fellows. I surrender my life to that Creative Force without ever needing to understand what exactly that is.

Thanks for reading my blog.

Thanks for the kind messages.

Hell, thanks for “liking” the link on Facebook.

Thanks for not having me committed based on the insanity that sometimes makes it into the blog.

My wish for you is that you will benefit from my journey and that you will feel some sense of accomplishment when the goals I’m working toward start coming true. In a lot of ways they already are. And you have a bigger part in that than you know.

See y’all tomorrow.

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