Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Terminal Uniqueness & Some Promises

Most people who know me, or who have been paying any attention at all over the last few months, already know this, but in case you just joined the party or have been blissfully unaware.....

My name is Lana and I am an alcoholic. And like lots of other alcoholics, I suffer from "terminal uniqueness." That's the notion that no one else in the world is going through the same things I am. No one else in the world has my unique set of circumstances to deal with and that's why I have lots of good reasons why I should be allowed to remain stuck in my self-pity and complacency.

The reality is that EVERYONE - alcoholic or not, sober or not - has that EXACT same thought. When I am sitting in a meeting, there is NOTHING unique about me. I'm just another drunk trying to not be a drunk anymore and hangin' on like HELL to the idea that if I do what is suggested, there really IS a better life.

One of my favorite passages in my Big Book are The Promises. I remember the very first time I heard them, which meeting I was in, and who read them. It was the same meeting that I "came out" of the alcoholic closet. (Thanks Elena. I will never forget you.)

"If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half-way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will instinctively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them."
(Alcoholics Anonymous, p 83-84)

There's a couple of biggies in there for me.

"We will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it." I have a truckload of shit that is regrettable. And I lived for a long time mired down in that regret and sorrow. And when you add those two things together - regret and sorrow - you get self-pity. And that provides countless excuses to stay sick.

"No matter how far down the scale we have gone..." I used to think that my only problem with alcohol was the OTHER PEOPLE in my life who drank. And I was REALLY good at surrounding myself with people who drank way more than I did. That way I could say things like "Well, I don't drink everyday, so I'm not an alcoholic." Or, "I've never got so drunk I've blacked out." Or "I've never been arrested." Or I don't even have ONE D.U.I. let alone ELEVEN." SO I AM NOT AN ALCOHOLIC!!!! I just have lousy taste in spouse type people.

Well. Hmmm. Now I realize that none of those things are required for membership in the drunk club. In fact the ONLY requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. (And I tried to do it myself and found I could not. People were complaining. "Jesus Christ! Have a drink already and calm the FUCK down.") And, incidentally, most of those "milestones" that I was sooooo proud I had not achieved? Yeah, they've all happened over the last couple years. The only one I don't have is the D.U.I. And that is ONLY by the Grace of a God whose power and love I cannot begin to understand. And it's one I can live without! (The D.U.I. I can live without, not the Grace and Love.)

"God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves." And God is definitely working in my life these days. It is a bit unsettling how many names there are that are on both my 4th Step Inventory and my Facebook Friends list. My sponsor - an awesome lady - tells me that's God bringing my "wreckage" back into my consciousness so that I can clear it away.

"If we work for them." And I guess that's the point of the whole Blog exercise. This is me, working for my Promises, telling the world what is was like, what happened, and what it's like now.


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