Gift of Desperation

As an alcoholic, I have always struggled with this phrase “Gift of Desperation” (FYI: the acronym spells out God), because I don’t know what desperation should feel like. But often times, attending Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, you hear this phrase mentioned a lot when an alcoholic is struggling finding their individual bottom.  I’m not sure what desperation is supposed to feel like, I believe, because I have not experienced many of “the yets” that a lot of alcoholics experience when they do reach bottom and find the need to change their lives in dramatic ways. What I do know, however, is that this phrase is directly related to my ego (or, as alcoholics have come to believe – Edging God Out).

I have such a problem surrendering to being powerless, because it is in direct defiance of the values that have been instilled in me all of my life. My parents, my teachers, my mentors and anyone I have ever admired have done a phenomenal job of helping me realize the power of personal responsibility and accountability. It’s a premise of mine that I am responsible for my own decisions and my own actions. I even struggle with calling alcoholism a disease, because it feels like an excuse. Even when I’m at AA meetings and I hear people say things like “I wouldn’t have done this, if it weren’t for this disease”, it smells like crap to me. If I did something stupid while drunk, it’s my own damned fault. So, I struggle with that concept. I feel like being accountable to oneself and owning your own decisions is a cornerstone to decent human living. So, the idea of desperation feels like someone is giving up – or abdicating their responsibility.

Even when I’m feeling desperate for a change or feeling like my life is complete shit, I am able to recognize that it is imperative that I take charge and responsibility for the situation. Although, I feel there are times that my efforts feel meaningless, I can still understand that it is me that has to do something. But then I think that this might be my ego talking to me. This might be what it means to edge God out. But it also causes me to question my own alcoholism – what if I’m not? What if I’m just acting like a complete pussy and avoiding what I know I is reality – the idea that I need to face the challenges in my life.

But it’s a lie, isn’t it?

What if I’m not capable of doing everything I got to do? What if my ego is so over-inflated that I can’t see the folly of my own actions? Sometimes, I think the “Just do it” attitude lacks the necessary insight required to see the possible outcomes. Or, maybe it’s understanding the possible outcomes, and the fear those possibilities create, are what is immobilizing. I don’t know. But I do know one thing for sure.

The one thing I know is that it is completely fucking insane to keep having these debates with myself on whether or not I am an alcoholic. It’s completely fucking insane trying to figure out if it’s even safe for me to drink. At a bare minimum, it’s not the healthiest choice in the world and I know I have a desire to correct the downward trend I have had on my health. That’s the very minimum. That’s desperation enough, isn’t it?  Do I need more? Do I have to lose a job? Lose my freedom? Lose someone’s life? Fight? Lose a relationship? Generally fuck up my life to get to that requisite gift of desperation that I have the bias that only low-bottom drunks should experience? Or can I even call myself an alcoholic?

Or is it just another stupid fucking label, like bisexual, that I have obsessed over too much?

Maybe, I just need to recognize that I’m desperate enough to change my fucking behavior.

Maybe that is my dropping off point.

Maybe I’m lucky, because I can choose to do what’s right for me.

Day 2

9 thoughts on “Gift of Desperation

  1. It’s a trip. Sometimes it saves, sometimes it kills. Thankfully I found mine in a jail cell but saw my brother die trying to desperately withdraw on his own. What I now can appreciate about desperation is that the bottom isn’t the same, despair looks different for us all. Some lost all but not all must. Thank you for this post.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You never met my father… or his parents… or his two sisters. Functional alcoholics, every last one of them and, I think, that whole side of my family was like that. You think your shit is fucked up because of alcohol… and I’ve seen fucked up and in some very bad ways. My father lost his family because of it, which had some negative effects on my brother, who turn to a life of crime and wound up getting killed. When I went to tell him his son was dead, the first thing he said was, “If I hadn’t been so strung out of liquor, maybe he’d be alive right now.”

    When his father died and I asked about the COD, my cousin said, “Pick something… anything. They said his liver was so bad they were surprised it had worked at all.” My grandmother developed diabetes because of her drinking, wound up losing a leg, died a couple of years after that. My favorite aunt died due to alcohol-related illnesses.

    And these people drank to the extent that whatever you’re doing ain’t shit – you don’t drink at all compared to these late members of my family. What it taught me was that I had to be strong enough and determined enough that when shit got me down, not to reach for a bottle, that if I was gonna drink, know my limits and work even harder not to make it a habit. I saw what it did to my father and that wasn’t gonna happen to me.

    You gotta own up to yourself and the things you do as an adult. No one gets it right all of the time; sometimes we fail at the things we’re supposed to do; we get stressed over this, that, and the other and, yep, cracking open a cold one just seems like the right thing to do. I get it – we all get it. You know this fucks with you; you know that it’s maybe messing with what you need to do; you know you need to find the guts to stop doing it, if not completely, then the way you’re doing it. You know, just like every alcoholic knows, that getting drunk solves nothing – your problems will be waiting for you to sober up and ya might even be hung over on top of it.

    I get what AA says; lean on God, and that’s fine… but you still gotta do the work to get this monkey off your back. Tough love time: Stop making excuses and do what you need to do about this. Don’t blame AA; don’t blame God or get to badmouthing Him; get off your ass – and get your head out of your ass – and stop this from being a problem. Are you an alcoholic? Maybe… but I still know people who make you look like you don’t drink at all.

    And know this: You think you got it bad? There’s someone, somewhere, who has it a lot worse than you could ever imagine. So believe in yourself because at the end of the day, you’re the only person you can really count on.

    Liked by 1 person

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