this was the subject of an email i just received from venus magazine (1). and my first thought was, “awesome! maybe i should actually open the email and see what it’s about and where it is.” and then immediately i realized … oh, that’s not for me. free wine should be holding no interest for me. this is not my kind of thing … anymore.
the thing that i think a lot of people don’t realize about my recovery is this: i don’t walk around thinking about not drinking or doing drugs. it just becomes a non-issue for me. the big book gets to this point a little later on in the book:
And we have ceased fighting anything or anyone, even alcohol. For by this time sanity will have returned. We will seldom be interested in liquor. If tempted, we recoil from it as from a hot flame. We react sanely and normally, and we will find that this has happened automatically. We will see that our new attitude toward liquor has been given us without any thought or effort on our part. It just comes! That is the miracle of it. We are not fighting it, neither are we avoiding temptation. We feel as though we had been placed in a position of neutrality safe and protected. We have not even sworn off. Instead, the problem has been removed. It does not exist for us. We are neither cocky nor are we afraid. That is how we react so long as we keep in fit spiritual condition.
It is easy to let up on the spiritual program of action and rest on our laurels. We are headed for trouble if we do, for alcohol is a subtle foe. We are not cured of alcoholism. What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.
that’s the deal. i just don’t think about it when i’m in the right frame of mind and spirit. trust me, if i was always walking around thinking about not drinking, white knuckling it, just constantly having to watch myself, i would have been drunk LONG ago. i tried that way of life right after i got out of the psych ward in may of 2001. i was dry for 2 months, but i thought about it all the time … what a good job i was doing, counting every single day, wondering what my friends were doing who were still partaking. i was definitely confused and more than a little ambivalent about my decision. and really, i don’t know that it was a decision more than a knee-jerk reaction out of fear. didn’t want to end up back in the psych ward.
but when i got sober in january of 2002, things were different. at first, i still thought about alcohol quite a bit … i had a six-pack of budweiser in my fridge from some party. i’m no beer drinker, but i remember looking at it and thinking, ‘man. one of those beers would be great right now.’ and that actually helped solidify the fact that i was more than just a social drinker. before then, i wouldn’t have deigned to drink a beer, much less a budweiser. it just wouldn’t have done the job. but now, it looked lovely, and that scared me.
i’d have the stereotypical “drinking dream” where i’d wake up after a dream where i was drinking in it and be panicked. did i drink last night? what did i do? was i hungover? no. i was in my bed, i didn’t drink last night, i was at a meeting. using dreams are still pretty powerful. when i get them now (which is rare), i definitely know my subconscious is trying to tell me *something*.
but the grace of being sober today is that most days, most times, i don’t think about drinking. i don’t think about not drinking. i just sort of do my thing. which is a blessing, because if i had to fight my way through it like that summer, i’d be drunk (just like i eventually was). what’s kind of funny is that i’m so used to doing this deal that sometimes i have to remember that i’m allowed to buy (and drink) alcohol. no one is stopping me. there’s no AA brand on my forehead. i have a driver’s license and i’m fully of age (plus 13 years). what’s great about that is that with some divine help, i just don’t *need* to buy it anymore.
what used to be my normal life is now abnormal. the few times i’ve bought a bottle of wine for someone’s party, i feel weird, odd, sort of creepy. not because buying wine is inherently bad, but because i have wrecked my opportunity to drink right. it’s never coming back. if i drink again, there’s no drinking like a lady. let’s face it, i never DID.
so, here’s to divine grace and a daily reprieve. and to free wine for those who can take it.
(1) whoa. i went to google to find the link for venus magazine, and it turns out there’s something else that calls itself venus magazine. it’s new mission is “to encourage, educate and assist those who desire to leave a life of homosexuality.” huh? one’s a rock mag with cool stuff, and one’s effed up. weird.