The past week has been somewhat stressful, based upon the events of last week. I have stayed in touch with my sponsor, however, since I am technically new in sobriety. Of course, my sponsor is concerned about my sobriety, right now, and it makes perfect sense – so am I! I guess, in some small measure of gratitude, knowing that I am concerned about my sobriety is a good thing. I care. I truly, truly, truly care about remaining sober. It’s been my experience, however, that when I start getting sober, I start standing up for myself and begin setting boundaries – something that has not gone well within my relationship. I am done (in spite of the doubts I have within myself), however, and I just have not figured out how to go about doing it.
This will take time.
Something else, that will take time, apparently, is building my spiritual fitness. When I have relapsed, there have been conversations between my sponsor and I where he reminds me that the best defense against the first drink is to be spiritually fit. Of course, and obviously, the mode for being spiritually fit is by practicing the program of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). This morning, I read chapter three – “More About Alcoholism” – in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and it emphasizes quite a bit that self-knowledge of alcoholism is not enough to keep us (actually, namely me, at the moment) safe against the first drink.
And I will not lie – I have been tempted. Last week during all of the chaotic bullshit, I could feel it welling up inside of me – an excuse. I wanted to use the absolute disdain I felt for my own life to be my reason to run back out and start drinking again. My resentments were screaming in my face and knocking me upside the head…literally, not figuratively. I’d like to say I made the decision, but I really didn’t. Honestly, I didn’t know what to do. My spirits had sunk so low that even moving to leave the house felt impossible, because I didn’t trust myself to not show up at my local Old Chicago and drink as much beer as I could. I don’t know why I didn’t do it. Maybe on some level it was sheer spite that drove me to not do it – the idea that the behavior of drinking was expected out of me.
Either way, I didn’t do it.
But I understood something else during that time: I was not spiritually fit. This is something I knew to my core. I can’t help but think that a spiritually fit person can understand their uncomfortable feelings about their current situations and know that there is a way to handle something that keeps them in clarity, serenity and calm. It reminds of me a certain stoicism, much like my father, that I can’t seem to muster in a way that I am able to be at peace with myself afterwards. I did, however, call my sponsor after the weekend and told him what I had experienced. I felt weakened and asked for help.
hmmm…there is a bit of an epiphany in what I just said: Seeking help from someone else during those stressful moments that reminds me there are things in life I can’t control could be the exact meaning of spiritual fitness, if I were to place the need for help upon a Higher Power. The Gift of Desperation, I suppose, is exactly what can be attributed to a situation like this…
I have a number of stresses in my life right now that have me on edge, and I can’t even word them all, but I can easily recognize that I am not spiritually fit enough to handle them. So, I am trying to stay connected to other alcoholics, my sponsor, reading the Big Book, and follow the suggestions I hear. I’m struggling with prayer, I’m struggling with my connection to God – or whatever Higher Power – and the most I can do is recite the Serenity Prayer, the Third Step prayer and ask to help me stay sober.
That’s all I got right now.
Today is day 50.