<i>Every time I take a sober breath, I’m like a fish out of water.</i>
All else being equal, I would drink! My natural inclinations are to drink, avoid responsibility, treat people badly, lie, cheat and steal. I naturally live a life that looks like an advertisement for the seven deadly sins.
So, the contented life I live today is in stark contrast to my natural behaviors and attitudes.
How is that possible? It is only possible for me to live a productive life by focusing on a few simple principles. The degree to which I follow these rules is directly proportional to my happiness, serenity and peace.
Alcohol Addiction Recovery and Faith
“Oh no,” you say, “he’s going to start talking about God!” Don’t worry, I’m not going to preach to you or tell you what to believe. Heck, I don’t care what you believe…or if you believe anything at all.
As an alcoholic, it took me a long time to admit that I couldn’t beat alcohol. The evidence was clear…I drank when I didn’t want to, I tried to quit and couldn’t, drinking affected my job and family life, and I behaved in contrast to my core principles. The day I finally accepted defeat by alcohol was the day I started getting better.
I cursed the God of my youth saying “If you want me to know something, just come down here and tell me to my face!” That seemed like a perfectly reasonable argument. But that’s not how it works.
God is powerful and I am weak…that’s rule number 1 of this game.
If I believe without knowing, then I am demonstrating faith. This gives me great power to face the unknown of tomorrow.
Share My Junk With Someone Else
Like everyone else, I have had my fair share of bone-headed escapades. My ego prevents me from telling anyone so that I seem perfect in the eyes of those around me.
I found someone who had traveled a path like mine and shared with them all my regrets, transgressions and sins. This was not (NOT) an easy task, but the relief I found was cathartic, to say the least.
Getting my secrets out in the open took away their power to hold me back.
Atone for Past Mistakes
My mother taught me a few magic words when I was a boy. The most powerful of them were “please” and “I’m sorry”. Please is that ounce of honey that catches all the flies. Apologizing to someone for wronging them has an amazing power to destroy emotional walls and bring people together.
I systematically apologized to everyone I had ever wronged, to the best of my ability. When possible, I made the situation right.
Living with a clean conscience sets the stage for many happy tomorrows.
Take Responsibility for My Behavior Going Forward
The best way to not have to apologize is to not act like an ass. So, I try really hard to interact with everyone in my life in a positive manner. I try not to yell at my kids. I exercise as much patience as I can muster with my wife. I let rude drivers and apathetic store clerks have their space without exploding.
I pay attention to how I act and react. I have no influence on how others act, but I have total control over how I react to them. If someone wants to be a jerk…I let them. My power is in not acting in kind.
Acting and thinking differently is tough some days. My natural instincts take over and I have to dig deep to not lash out. True alcohol addiction recovery means being mature and taking the high road, especially when doing so is tough.
A fish may not be able to learn to breath out of water, but I can learn to act like a grown-up with some practice. For me, this has been the key to alcohol addiction recovery.