As a child I was full of fear, anxiety and a feeling of being one out. How many times have I heard this scenario expressed at an AA meeting.
These feelings persisted into my teenage years and I covered them up with bluster and bravado and of course lots of booze & dope.
I knew I was in big trouble at the age of 19 and my twenties were spent in desperation – looking for a way out of this emotional and mental torture.
Here are some of the mental and emotional quirks that bedevilled me:
- Constant underlying fear and anxiety
- Feelings of not being good enough (Inferiority)
- Feelings of being better than (Superiority)
- Feelings of being Inferior & Superior at the same time
- Blaming others for the way I felt (parents, siblings-the Government, friends, work mates, etc)
- “MOREISM” – Always wanting more – (love, food, sex, material possessions)
- The feeling that no-one loved me enough to make me feel loved
- Arrogance – refusal to accept help from well meaning people– “what would they know!”
- Feeling that I was different from everybody else in the world….if only they’d understand me
- RESENTMENT…blaming everyone else…RE-FEELING the hurt other people had caused me
- Refusal to admit I was wrong…not owning my part in anything – IT WASN’T ME THAT WAS THE PROBLEM
“Drinking Alcohol does not cause ALCOHOLISM….otherwise everyone who drank would become an Alcoholic. It doesn’t matter how much you drink ….it’s what it does to you.”
I occasionally got so DEPRESSED & DESPERATE that I sought help from psychiatrists, hypnotherapists, social workers, accupunctarists, etc
I got all sorts of tags put on me: SPLIT PERSONALITY (BI POLAR), MANIC DEPRESSIVE, HIGHLY STRUNG, NERVOUS DISPOSITION, etc, etc.
None of these diagnoses helped………none of their medications took away the pain and anxiety and bad behaviour.
I became SUICIDAL, HOMICIDAL and extremely depressed. This went on for years……………then……..
At the age of 27 I made a call to an institution that lead to a member of AA taking me to my first meeting on 3rd January, 1979 at the McKinnon unit in Rozelle.
For the next hour and a half the chairman called speakers who told me about myself by telling me about themselves. WHAT IT WAS LIKE – WHAT HAPPENED – AND WHAT IT’S LIKE NOW.
The feeling of relief was incredible. At last I knew without a shadow of doubt I’d hit the mother lode.
They had a DISEASE or UN – EASE OF MIND, BODY & SPIRIT.
They said it was INCURABLE but you could ARREST it one day at a time and become a well balanced human being…….something I’d never been.
I realised I had a disease called “ALCOHOLISM”.
I have not had a drink for 40 years now and my life continues to get better. And I believe “THE BEST IS YET TO COME”.
I no longer suffer emotional pain, depression, feelings of being alone to anywhere near the degree I once did.
Pre covid-19 I was still going to three AA meetings a week and have made some life long, genuine friends in AA.
These are difficult times but, really, can they be any more difficult than the life of a practising alcoholic.
As a fellowship we’ve survived the Second World War, the Korean War, 911, and, what’s even worse, the madness in our heads so this latest issue has seen us once again rise to the occasion, organise ourselves and continue to carry the message of AA. That is “you’re not alone and there is help if you want it”.
I’ve learnt so much in the rooms of AA including life skills I never had, how to communicate with my fellow human beings and especially how to give….it’s not all about me.
Once an alcoholic……….always an alcoholic. It’s ALCOHOLISM……NOT ALCOHOLWASM.
Another gem I’ve picked up is: Drinking Alcohol does not cause ALCOHOLISM….otherwise everyone who drank would become an Alcoholic.
It doesn’t matter how much you drink ….it’s what it does to you.
Drinking alcohol is an attempt by the alcoholic to treat or take away the emotional & mental pain described above.
For newcomers the program can be stripped down to the following:
- DON’T DRINK ONE DAY AT A TIME NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS
- ATTEND AA MEETINGS ON A REGULAR BASIS
- WORK THE 12 STEPS
- CARRY THE MESSAGE TO OTHER ALCOHOLICS.
Thank you AA and all you AA members for keeping me sober for over 3 decades and making my life as wonderful as it is.
Ettalong Beach NSW