Monday, February 13, 2012

The "oneness" of sobriety,,,,

I've heard it said at meetings that alcoholism is a selfish disease. Selfish when active and selfish in recovery. Even though the program is a "we" the alcoholic stands alone in the fact that only he or she can become sober. No one else can do it for you. No one can wish it, push it, work your program, make the changes, its all up to the individual. You have to stand in front of the mirror and own that person. With all its baggage. You!

Its hard to be a "one" in a sea of so many. Especailly when you cross over the bridge. At one time you were standing on that cliff, but you started out, you began to leave the others, the more you went forward, the farther back they stayed. Before you knew it, you were across the bridge and standing on the other side. No matter how good you felt, you couldn't bring anyone with you. I'm refering to the February 12th. reading in Melody Beattie's "Language of Letting Go". I have read this reading many times. It reminds me from where I came, where I am now, and exactly what I can do.

It used to upset me. "You mean I can't bring everyone over with me?", "but I want everyone to experience the other side!" I was always a saver. I brought home many stray people, whose family was broken, who had an addiction, who just needed someone I was going to save them all. Funny, all I usually did was break my own heart. I always offered this help wether they asked or not. I'm sure most people were not happy with my ignorant intentions. It wasn't until my sponsor taught me a very important lesson. "The only person you are capable of saving is yourself". At one time I wasn't even sure this was possible. But it comes down to one simple thing: choice.

I chose to save myself. I was saddened when I heard of Whitney Houston's passing, but I wasn't surprised. When I graduated in 1987 Whitney was just beginning to hit her peak. I loved her voice, I loved her look. I still sing to "I Want to Dance With Somebody". However when I started parenthood, college, workforce, etc. I only heard bits and pieces of her life. The abuse both physical, and drug and alcohol, the loss of her once beautiful voice. The Whitney I now saw, was not the Whitney I had adored. She was now ruled by a greater force: addiction. No matter what you feel about her passing the truth of reality is that she had a choice. The choice to face her demons or let them destory her. We know what she chose.

This choice can be a lonely one to make. It requires focusing only on what it takes to keep yourself sober. The people that you have hurt, and are waiting for apologies, and living ammends have to sometimes wait, and be patient, while the alcoholic gets their life together. Yes, this is unfair. I had wanted to fix it all in one year, but in many areas of my life, I'm only beginning. It's God's time not mine. My agenda has little to do with it. But I had a choice, you have a choice. No one ever poured a drink down my throat. I did it all myself. Regardless if life seems to big to cope with you still have a choice. I am grateful I chose well. You can cheer others on still left behind, you encourage them to come over the bridge, you can be so happy when they do but you can't carry it for them.

The "oneness" of sobriety seems to be daunting unto itself. But its necessary. You need to know that you can make it. That you have the ability along with your HP to walk across the bridge. You have the ability to make the right choice.....


  1. I love your talk of the bridge and not being able to drag anyone over with you. But you can dance and be happy on the other side and entice people to make their own journey over! I also like that you mentioned a mirror. I think it is very important to be able to look at yourself in the mirror (I've done it with tear stained cheeks on more than one occasion) and say 'You Can Do It'. The 'It' in that sentence could be anything but the point is, you are believing in and supporting YOURSELF. So important. This is lovely. Thanks xxx

  2. Thank you so much for this awesome post. I often feel SO enormously selfish in my recovery, and it certainly is lonely. My sobriety is such a betrayal of my exstended family, with their oodles of active alcoholism and silence about it. My father would just looooove it if I sat down to have a drink with him because it would validate the normalcy (um, so not normal) of his own drinking. For me, meetings have definitely helped with this, and I say this as someone who was super reluctant to go regularly. I've only made a commitment to a regular group in the last five months. Blissful, it is. But so is reading your posts!

  3. Today in a meeting I was on my side of the bridge looking at a man who hasn't made it yet. I long for him to join me, watching his recurring pain over the past 2 years breaks my heart and it's beyond frustrating to know that I can only pray for him.

    In this there is growth for me but I'd give that up for him....

  4. ah i try to be a saver as well...and a humbling pill in not being able to save was very sad about whitney....but as you say not surprising...

  5. I love Melody and I love that passage, a real eye opener for me. We can ask them to come over we can cheer them once they start across, but we cannot carry them. Sometimes I wonder how many have been carried over and managed to stay, only to go back across until it was their time, or maybe never. Grateful today that I walked over on my own, occasionally looking back, but trudging across, and so far have stayed! Thanks for the thought.

  6. :) I'm glad you stayed too! This post is familiar territory in my heart and considerations over the last few days.

  7. I can't save anyone, but I can tell them that I love them and care what happens to them.