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- April 7, 2016 at 7:19 am #3729867
Ok, after my last posting of my difficulties with step 2, and after reading the many helpful comments, I took some time to stop, reflect and think about my drinking on a deeper level. Many who responded to my posting stated that I was having step 1 issues. After much consideration I believe that to be true. So I went back and examined how my life had become unmanageable. I also thought about my insane, delusional and alcoholic patterns of thinking. I think where I got hung up on step 2 is that I didn’t completely buy into step 1.
Here is my story……
My drinking began in high school. I was not any different than the other kids I went to school with. We drank beer from kegs at bonfires out in the fields and up in the mountains on the weekends. I would get drunk a few times a month. When I graduated and went on to college I rarely, if ever, drank. I finished 9 years of college, landed a great job as a medical professional and got married. Throughout my 16 years of marriage I could count the times I drank on one hand. Then the nasty and devastating divorce came. I became seriously depressed, suicidal and at times was not able to get out of bed. I went to a friends house on New Years Eve and had a few shots of tequila. Wow!! It took away the pain, the worries and it gave me energy!! From that point on for the next few months I drank a few shots of tequila here and there to keep the depression at bay and go about my daily activities. I did not drink to intoxication and was a closet drinker. After a while this no longer worked and I hit bottom and had a breakdown. My family sent me to a well known psych hospital and treatment center where I was in put in a “Professionals in Crisis” program. There, they kept telling me that I was an alcoholic which after 2 months of drinking, I would not buy!! Eventually, in order to please them and everyone else and to just get out I admitted that I was but did not believe it for one second.
Fast forward…after release from the hospital, I moved back to my home state near my parents. Looked for a medical position. In order to keep my trip to the psych hospital confidential from the medical licensing board, I was offered the opportunity to get into a diversion program. I thought this was a good idea and signed up. Little did I know, this was a 5 year monitoring program for medical professionals who had problems with drugs and alcohol. I decided to continue despite my continued belief that I was not an alcoholic. I was to provide 2 urine drug and alcohol screens per month and attend AA meetings etc. I did so for three years. Because I continued to believe that I was not an alcoholic and after a very stressful year in which I lost my brother, I started to drink again on the weekends despite the drug screens. I rationalized that because I didn’t go to bars, didn’t get drunk, never had a hangover, a blackout or a DUI that I could drink on occasion and that I was not an alcoholic. This worked for about a year as I knew how much I could drink and how long it would take to be out of my system before I had to provide for the drug screen. Then….I got caught!! They changed the test! The new screening tested for ETG, an enzyme that could detect alcohol consumed up to 80 hours. As a form of discipline, the medical board temporarily suspended my license for 4 months. Rather than wait out the 4 months, apologize and get back on track, I ran. I quit working as a medical professional, let my license lapse and started working in medical sales. Then the company I worked for went bankrupt and I was out of a job and had no license to return to medicine. I was up a creek! That was three years ago. For the last 2 years, I have bounced from job to job, barely making ends meet and I continued to drink. I would have a few drinks nightly to help with my anxiety and to get to sleep. In October 2009, I began to realize the insanity of all this and decided to go back before the licensing board and fix all that I ran from. I was told that I needed to sign up with the monitoring program again, attend AA etc for 5 more years. So that is where I am now. It is my fervent goal to obtain my license again and sucessfully finish the 5 years in the monitoring program.
I do see areas of insanity throughout all of this and as my sponsor pointed out…people who aren’t alcoholics usually don’t make alcohol so important as to lose their career and financial security…(ie..I must be an alcoholic.) I continue to rationalize with my sponsor that maybe I just have anti-authority and control issues and tend to do what I am told not to do (yes, I know, more alcoholic behavior) rather than I am an alcoholic. I had to make a list of all the reasons why I thought I was an alcoholic and all the reasons why I thought I wasn’t. The lists were equal, but my sponsor kept pointing out the lengths I went to in order to drink and how this was abnormal. It didn’t matter how much or whether I got drunk or if anyone knew. So, I resigned and said I would do the steps and take this recovery thing as serioulsy as I possibly could.
So…long story I know…but it leads to where I am now and sheds light on my dilemma and my difficulties with working the steps. I see now why I got hung up on step 2…. I hadn’t completed step 1!! I wouldn’t have gone back for a deeper understanding and reexamination if it weren’t for the feedback I received here. I think I have not completely accepted that I am an alcoholic. This scares me because if I am one and am in this much in denial I am bound to fail. My only course of action is at this point is to not drink!! Hopefully in time and with God’s help and this wonderful site, I will begin to see myself and my issues more clearly and be able to work the steps as they should be worked.
I value the wisdom, advice and experience on this site and read other’s postings often. I find more value here than in most other places. Thank you everyone for being here, putting up with me and if you are still reading this, for hanging in there to the end. I guess I just needed to purge with total honesty and hope that this is a baby step in the right direction.
Thanks again for letting me post!! :tyouApril 7, 2016 at 10:11 am #4649013
My sponsor pointed out to me the step 1 has 2 parts: “powerless” and “unmanageable”.
After a certain period of sobriety, working steadily, taking care of your obligations, etc., the manageability aspect of your life will appear to have been restored. However this does not mean we have regained power over alcohol!
We are still powerless over alcohol, no matter how much manageability we regain or no matter how long it has been since our last drink. The BB promises us we will regain a level of manageability in our lives, but no place does it say “and then we re-gained power over alcohol”.
This really helped me early on.April 7, 2016 at 12:28 pm #4649014
Thanx for the “real story”
I am in a monitoring program, much like that which you describe. My path into that program was a bit different than yours, a path which left a lot less to question than yours, in terms of drug/alcohol abuse/dependence/addiction…. While my bottom was a bit deeper than yours…. however, from all outward signs, I too have been accused of having a shallow bottom.
Like you, however, my entry into the program was not preceded by the “aha” moment of “I am an alcoholic” nor was it preceded by multiple attempts and failures to try and drink less and stop all the pills for good and all…. It was an opening of a door by the powers that be to save my career…. which I walked through, like you, willingly.
This left me with a job to do with Step One. Like you, but I believe like many others, I kinda had a problem with someone saying to me… “You are an alcoholic…. Do this if you want to save your career” …. Well, how the ef do you know I am an alcoholic?? I never even tried to quit drinking!! I stopped the pills on my own!! And now you want me to **** in cups 4 times a month down to twice a month for FIVE eF-in’ YEARS… at my expense, no less?!?!
No one likes to admit they are alcoholic. I cannot quote lines out of the big book off the top of my head, but there’s something about alcoholics chasing the delusion that they can drink like normal people to the gates of insanity and or death….
I work step one everyday, and have for over 18 months. I have a picture in my head of how, why, when and where I drank… no one would say it was normal drinking….. But neither can one say to me that I am powerless… Only I can come to that realization, for myself… And it was tough, yah know, in the beginning… How can I know in my heart that I am powerless, when I never even tried to see if that was true? No going out to the bar and stopping after only having one or two…
But I never did, only have one or two that is…. maybe what my wife saw was one or two… but there were always drinks before and after….
Humility… not such a bad thing…. Just about understanding who I am, who I am not, where I am at in the universe and with those I love….
I have very frequently wondered about these programs… How it can be a struggle, that step one thing, that authority thing… There is a fellow traveller in this program I see at my Sunday meetings… He rarely speaks, rarely…. I was very fortunate to hear him lead a meeting at my Thursday home group. I wish you could have heard him….
He is a happy and peaceful individual who was able to work the program of AA with the question of step one partially unresolved…. A DUI had brought him into the professional monitoring program… Though he had many of the same questions you do, that I did, he found serenity and meaning in his journey… In other words, he was able to reconcile a partially unresolved Step one with a really freakin’ strong Step Two and Three… He doesn’t really, for sure, to himself, know, absolutely that he is truly powerless, but God put him where he is, he tries to align his will with God’s every day. And he lives the program of AA in all of his affairs. He always has a true and warm smile for me, like it’s coming straight from the heart, and a strong and hearty handshake. He is a happy man.
IMHO… it is not necessary for you to fully resolve Step One, for you, in your situation, right now. What is necessary, IMHO, is that you get a good Step Two and Three… your career depends on it. You serenity does too.
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