Jomtien, 26th January, 2010 – still sober!

This is Day 5 of my sobriety.

I am still behaving myself. I went to an excellent evening meeting last night, and this morning, in spite of only about four hours seep, I made the morning meeting.

From the advice I have received, along with my own previous experience, I know that immersion in AA meetings for a while will help to keep my mind away from taking that first drink.

Certainly, I am hearing enough “horror stories” in the ‘shares’ over the last day or so to convince me never to go back to alcohol, and that I am truly powerless to drink like a normal person.

Everyone, one way or another, has been down the road I have just been down. Nearly all alcoholics have relapsed at some stage in the sober lives, some several times, and each time it is worse, and each time they are lucky to come out of it with their lives intact.

There are even more who have relapsed and have never come back. These are the dead alcoholics – the ones we read about every day.

The AA “Big Book” says that ‘Alcohol is cunning, baffling and powerful”, and I now have no hesitation in accepting that this is 100% true. All of us have achieved periods of sobriety – some a few months (like me) and others five, ten and even twenty years, but at some point, they started to doubt that this was indeed the case. They started to think that they felt pretty good; so maybe, after all, it is possible to drink in moderation. Certainly that’s what I started to believe, and I have heard so many similar accounts in AA meetings, it is uncanny.

We think we have it cracked. We think we can take a few drinks, have a bit of a buzz,  fool around and ‘shoot the shit’ in a few bars and then call it a night and go home and sleep it off.

That’s exactly what I did for a week or so – each time managing to get home in one piece and even having a fairly decent night’s sleep. Sure I woke in the morning feeling a bit rough, but nothing I couldn’t handle, and by early afternoon I was feeling on top of the world once again. There were a couple of occasions when I did overdo it a bit, like the night I went to Walking Street and drank until dawn and finally made it home at around 8 a.m. – but that was just a minor glitch. It wouldn’t happen again, I had it under control.

Then last Wednesday, for an absolutely ridiculous reason, which had everything to do with my illness and nothing to do with my stated explanation, I started drinking in the afternoon, and was ‘rescued’ some thirty hours later, after drinking nonstop and having little recollection of the last twelve hours of my binge.

Of all the crazy things I have done when I have been drunk, I have never, ever drunk thirty hours straight, and never been utterly incapable and broken down and cried in the way I did when my friend showed up to take me in hand last Thursday night.

So, as I said recently in my blog – I have finally reached my ‘rock bottom’ and I now know I can never drink like normal people. So I will stop – forever, and hopefully this blog will help me and other alcoholics out there to follow the same course.

Here is a telling extract from the Big Book which, for me, now rings so true:

“Whatever our protestations, are not most of us concerned with ourselves, our resentments, or our self-pity?

Selfishness – self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. Driven by a hundred forms of fear, self-delusion, self-seeking, and self-pity, we step on the toes of our fellows and they retaliate. Sometimes they hurt us, seemingly without provocation, but we invariably find that at some time in the past we have made decisions based on self which later placed us in a position to be hurt.

So our troubles, we think, are basically of our own making. They arise out of ourselves and the alcoholic is an extreme example of self-will run riot, though he usually doesn’t think so. Above everything, we alcoholics must be rid of this selfishness. We must, or it kills us!”

Followers of my blog will know that all my troubles have been of my own making, and so often, I manipulate or create situations which will engender resentment, anger, sorrow and hurt within me so that I have an excuse to turn to the bottle for solace.

For me, the main culprit since I returned to Thailand eight years ago is women.

But I am coming to believe that if I remove women from the equation – by staying celibate or simply not becoming involved in any new relationships, it won’t, in itself, solve all my problems. If I do not get to the core of my problem, I will simply replace women with some other ‘tool’ with which to manipulate my emotions.

The core of the problem is an ego run riot and my personal character defects. I have to be ‘rigorously honest’ about these things if I am to remain sober and sustain my recovery.

So for now, it is all hands to the AA pump and start, once again, to work the programme.

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