Monday, December 29, 2008

Perfect environment

Someone in my group celebrated 60 days sobriety today. In sharing his experience strength and hope, he put me in mind of a statement that was shared with me last week:

I now know that you need almost a perfect environment to stay sober.

That was part of a long email sent to me by someone who had to live with me during my drinking days. I feel sorry for him that he had to put up with me. Alcoholism is a selfish disease. It is selfish on both sides, during our drinking and working through our sobriety. There is no question that for me my disease is largely genetic given my family history. I know I also have a serious thinking problem that is how I justified my drinking for so long. To that end, my disease is psychological and physiological and has to be addressed on both levels. So far I have been able to arrest it through simple determination brought about by severe consequences due to drinking myself into seriously nefarious places. Included in that determination has been finding a solid support group and working every single day on my sobriety. I am far from a perfect environment, but where I am is in a safe environment, surrounded by a group of people who want to stay sober as much as I want to stay sober. I didn't feel supported at all where I was two years ago through no one's fault but my own. I find myself resenting that sentence, but it is my resentment and my issue to work through. I am clear that my sobriety is a daily reprieve contingent on going to meetings, working the steps and staying in touch with like-minded individuals who can help me. The sole reason they can help is because they have been where I was: drinking and they couldn't stop, wanting so badly to stop, but couldn't, and finally having to completely surrender to the demon that controlled them. I no longer expect anyone who has never suffered from an addiction to understand. The individual quoted above dealt with my selfishness for too long and made his choice that he no longer wanted any part of it. I completely understand that and I hope that things work out for him. Things are working out for me. I am on my path, and I am happy here. It is not perfect, or even almost perfect, but it much healthier than where I was. I like it. And I believe I have a fighting chance every single day that I do what I do to stay sober and save my life. No question in my selfish mind, saving my life is my number one priority in this world.

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