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.