Monday, September 10, 2012

Cunning, baffling, and powerful...

Oh this precious little disease we have. You know the one, the one that whispers in our ears at the end of the day, "you need to relax, you're full of anxiety, just one won't hurt, there's nobody here to see you take the drink, no one has to know"....
And so the story goes but someone does know, and someone will be hurt, and that's the alcoholic that convinces themselves that they really don't have a problem. They can manage to have only one drink now. Surely after living months without drinking there's no way it will become unmanagable. Not at least until you buy into the lie...

Saturday morning I chaired the meeting. When I asked if there were any anniversaries my friend A raised his hand. Right away I got a big smile on my face and listened for him to recite "today I have three years", when instead out came, "today I have five months". My smile froze and I hope my eyes didn't give my surprise away. I had no idea that he had relapsed. You see A was there on my first night, a few months more than me sober. He lives in my neighborhood and was always saying to me, "keep coming back". For the past few months I haven't seen him on a regular basis but I would run into him now and then. People get busy, go back to work, change schedules, and then they go to different meetings. I didn't think anything about it. But now I was hearing about his relapse for the first time.

It wasn't pretty he said. He thought he could handle it. Just one tiny drink and then a month later he wound up jobless and back in treatment. His disease had once more outsmarted him. To say that he was humbled is an understatement. He is still having problems looking other people in the eyes. He's disappointed in himself. And yet he came back. He didn't continue to let his disease rule him. Even if humiliation is written all over his face he was back and five months in. After the meeting we hugged and I admitted I was shocked that I didn't know. He said he felt so stupid. But don't we all at some point?

People often think the hardest is when you first stop drinking. Then I've heard people say the first year is the toughest. But I think the further you get away from drinking the more dangerous it gets. Because this little disease keeps maturing, and its just waiting for the second you let your guard down to start whipering little suggesting in your ears. And boy can it be convincing. But it can backfire on the disease itself as well.

Seeing my friend A suffering and full of humiliation reminded me how very quickly I need to keep my senses sharpened. To not get boastful, to not think I'm in control, to not forget that I fight this disease each and every day. One of the things I kept thinking was that it could very well be me sitting in A's shoes. I get lax on going to meetings, lax on my readings and meditations, lax on my relationship with my higher power but thank God A was there to help me the other day. He was helping another alcoholic stay sober, and that alcoholic was me. I've said it before to him but I said it again, "thanks for being a part of my recovery". He gave me a good-bye hug and a smile and we went our seperate ways. Cunning, baffling, and powerful. May we never take those three word for granted......


  1. the more we fool ourselves that we are in control and can handle it the scarier it is...and over time you can def lax out about it....i am glad though your friend shared and others were able to see the reality of it...

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  4. hmm,, that was odd. My commment printed twice, thought I canceled one of them, see I canceled both.

    Let's see, what did I write? uh, just that I love how this progranm works! This guy held his head up and attending the mtg; this particular day , you benefited from his presence, in that you were prompted to abstain; surely you did not want to adopt his troubles. The circle of fellowship just works if we are willing to work it

  5. This is exactly it!! Each time someone returns to the rooms I'm so grateful for them....for the reminder of the stark reality which is our alcoholism....I needed this today when I feel I need it least.

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