Keeping 12 Steps Between Myself and the Next Drink
Struggling with alcoholism is nothing new in society. Ever since humankind has inhabited this planet, we have abused substances that remove us from the reality of the world. For some, this dream of an escape from reality turns into a nightmare. Whether it rapidly deteriorates or is a slow, downhill tumble, the results are usually the same. All too often, I’d swear off drinking only to find myself right back on the bottle within a few days. I soon discovered that I suffer from the disease of addiction. I am addicted to alcohol. For me, this is a three-part disease. It affects my mind, body, and spirit.
Overcoming My Mind
The mental aspect of my alcohol addiction was the hardest part for me to overcome. I always fancied myself as an intelligent person, but I could never understand why I could never control myself when it came to alcohol. I’ve come to learn that my brain is wired differently. My mind reacts to alcohol abnormally. For me to overcome the mental addiction, I had first to stop drinking. While stopping is the first step, it took a little more work to ensure that I did not fall back into old thinking. I had to have a complete psychic change. For me, this happened by working a 12-step program. Although I’ve abstained from alcohol for some time now, my mind still likes to play tricks on me. It tries to tell me that I can have just one drink or that I will be able to control it this time. Judging from my past, I know that I could never have just one, or I was never able to control it. I am unable to control it because of an allergy to the body.
Allergic to Alcohol
When I ingest alcohol, my body has an allergic reaction, not hives and swelling, but I have intense cravings for more. Once I start, I am unable to stop until it is all gone or I pass out. The good news is, is as long as I refrain from drinking, I won’t have these cravings. I want to say not drinking is easy for me, but it’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. I turned to alcohol as a way to deal with life. It was my coping mechanism that I would use when things were bad to feel better and that I would use when things were good to feel better. To find new coping skills, I turned to the 12-step program. Here I found someone who would take me through the steps to help ensure that I would not pick up another drink. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but one day I realized that I was no longer craving a drink which was mind-blowing for an alcoholic like myself.
The Hole I Once Filled with Alcohol
I turned to a drink to fill a void that I thought only alcohol could fix. When I drank, I was overcome with a sense of fulfillment. I was definitely self-medicating. It provided me a way to feel like I was someone. I did not know that it was the one thing that was preventing me from becoming who I am. Once I quit drinking, I still had this void, but I no longer used alcohol to fill it. I learned from working in a program that I have to fill that void with spirituality. I needed to find a higher power that I could rely on. This was a big problem for me. Having a science background, I wanted tangible evidence. I wasn’t open to the idea that some higher power could grant me a sense of well-being that I only associated with alcohol. Once I was willing to let go of this idea and have a little bit of willingness, I was amazed at the evidence my high power laid at my feet. For an alcoholic like myself, it is normal for me to be loaded. Slowly but surely, I was getting further away from my last drink, but the bad news is the further I get away from the last drink, the closer I get to the next. That’s why it is imperative I keep 12 steps between myself and the next drink.