"Monkey See / Monkey Do" fairly well captures my early recovery. I knew nothing of recovery. The drink was all I knew.
Early in my drinking career, alcohol was the icing on the cake of my social life, something added to make all things somehow better. Down that long road alcohol began replacing things, subtracting, destroying, nullifying.
Surimi, one of the fictional characters in my book, describes how alcohol takes on the villainous role to the exclusion of all else like this: "Gentlemen, we are pack animals, like wolves. Separated from the pack, the chances of survival diminish. Alcoholism is this disease of separation. The alcoholic needs alcohol to the exclusion of all else. Recovery is largely about rejoining the human race. Connecting with self, reconnecting with self. Connecting with others, reconnecting. Overcoming alcoholism, the Great Excluder...."
"This disease of separation" is gut-wrenching to me now. It's easy for me to forget how pathetic I became, how much it hurt, where it took me. In my early sobriety and after several relapses, I finally realized the importance of others. Today, I realize that most of the insights that inspire me to write come from others in recovery meetings, on-line, from many books and in person-to-person contact. Today, the inspirations of others are a real source of joy, but learning that was a stubborn lesson back then.
Addiction was my disconnect and recovery, my re-connection. Here's how I phrased it, almost apologetically, a few short years ago: "The loneliness of an alcoholic death. That's what many of my recollections boil down to.... Reciprocity is keeping me sober. Sharing with another alcoholic. It really is that simple. I used to drown the loneliness caused by alcohol with (what else?) more alcohol. Solitude seemed an impossibility when a bottle of booze sat next to me.... Loneliness, inescapable. Solitude, unattainable. Sobriety, unimaginable."
That was my past life. Recovery has changed all that. I'm leading a fairly normal, happy, sober life now. But I must never forget the loneliness of an alcoholic death, where that first fatal drink might take me.
Don't go back there. There's nothing there. Not even you. There is nothing but emptiness there.
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Recovery in. Addiction out.
Each breath renewable.
"There is no way to recovery. Recovery is the way."
88+ Recovery Posts on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jim-anders-89b1a876/detail/recent-activity/posts/