So this is day 14. Part of me feels so ashamed of this number (having already had a year and a half at one point), part of me feels so fresh and new and rejuvenated to be starting again.
Some days I’ve been feeling very re-connected to a “higher power,” some kind of wonderful pink cloud spirituality. Other days, like today, not so much. I find myself looking backwards, as resentment begins to grow, mainly toward myself, and I think “what was the point of all that previous work I did? All of it was a total waste. So is there any point in doing this again?” I know objectively that such thinking is useless and untrue, and just pure toxic negative mindset. But it happens.
I know the ways to overcome it. Yes, I do (mainly, step away, step back, be still, relax, apply gratitude, self-care, and replace negative thinking with positive, etc). It just takes effort to do that, rather than simply react (i.e. it’s much harder to do nothing than something, some days), and most of all it takes trust in something good, something greater than ourselves at work. On days when we lose faith, for whatever reason, that’s obviously difficult to accomplish.
Today I when I was out grocery shopping I bought a bottle of non-alcoholic bubbly for $14.99 (Canadian dollars) plus a bottle of non-alcoholic red for $8.99.
Considering that I remember a really decent bottle of (alcoholic) bubbly was €3.59 in France (where I used to live, for those who don’t know), and same with a good red, this does feel a bit unfair somehow.
That said, I’ve noticed that my bottles of non-alcoholic wine last for two weeks each, while the alcoholic ones only lasted two days, so the cost works out the same or better this way. Neat hey? Because kids who taste alcohol for the first time almost invariably say it’s bitter and tastes awful (I know I thought that, as a child), I think that this long-lastingness of the non-alcoholic drinks doesn’t have to do with their relative lack of tastiness, as some wine aficionados argue, but rather for their lack of addictiveness. Alcohol *is* an addictive drug. It tastes like “more.” Sugar or other sweetener (in drinks as well) is also addictive, but not nearly as much so. And anyway for those not addicted physically, it’s the habit that is hardest to break; the positive association that we develop or have developed with a certain activity.
So anyhoo, when someone near me has a glass of wine, the non-alcoholic replacement I pour fulfills this urge I have to “partake.”
Normally I don’t even think much about drinking wine (now that I’ve once again begun daily making up my mind), but on the weekend sometimes I do.
I’ve attended three online face-to-face AA meetings so far. I want to attend more but the timing is still awkward for me and I’m taking three online courses right now as well which besides family life keeps me pretty busy. I wrote about two meetings here already, the third went equally well. The main downside, if any, is I tend to feel like a fraud being there. This is because I don’t have a background story like the most of the folks there, it seems, nor like the ones in the back of the AA book. I have not hidden my drinking from my family, nor lied to them about quantities or anything like that.
What I do though, or have done, is lie to myself. I lie to myself about how awesome I am when I drink, how all-loving, how kind, how fun, how functioning, how wonderful. Sure, if it’s a comparison to others drunker than me… that might all be true (especially with my perception askew ;)). But in comparison to my sober self, or anyone more sober than me, for that matter (which, as chance would have it, was usually the majority of people in a given social situation! hmmm)… I call bullshit.
Sloppy, sweary, drowsy, stumbly, loud. Yes also happy! Or cheerful at least. A bit obnoxiously so. Also a bit scrappy. All in all definitely far from elegant.
Alcohol… it’s the great ego-inflator. We can feel so much more… *more,* when drinking… and yet what we are more of when drunk (besides feeling confident and happy, if/when that happens) is, in reality, all the things we’d actually want to be less of. A couple of slurry selfie talking-head videos taken while under the influence (yikes!!) can prove this beyond a doubt. (Errrm, delete!! Or keep. For private viewing, the next time you ponder imbibing… ;))
Anyway, in spite of having a drinking history that doesn’t quite blend in with the majority of an AA group, I try to focus on the main philosophy of the organization, which, thankfully, is re-stated at the beginning of each meeting. What unites its members: a desire to stop drinking.
I have that. Or as I like to say, I have a desire to remain content without alcohol (and without reliance on other toxins for that matter).
When is something a toxin?
When its costs outweigh the benefits; when its use no longer positively serves us, nor the greater good, in our view. We can actually apply that to any kind of input. Whether physical or otherwise.
So negative thinking, fearful thinking… what does it get me? Not much good. Just a lot of worry.
Obvious really… but a good reminder for me, that obsessing, worrying, trying to control the world (muahahahaha) are just all toxic behaviours that also need tossing.
Awareness, courage, love, acceptance, “taking it easy” and/or “doing the next right thing,” focussing on people and concepts and wisdom and input that rejuvenate us… and keeping a sense of humour, especially about our own shortcomings (egads, I sure need a big sense of humour to deal with mine!!)… these are worth hanging onto.
p.s. I’m thinking of working the 12 steps on this blog… at least, giving it a shot, see where it leads me. Could be fun, right? I started in a diary once before, or maybe twice even, but never quite finished… we’ll see. :))