Realizing I was Abusing Alcohol and Deciding to Become Sober
When I realized that alcohol had taken control of my life, I began to do research on the internet. At first I was embarrassed and afraid to seek out the support of my friends and family, so I felt safe on my computer, researching methods and tips to achieving sobriety in the comfort of my home. Looking at all of the health and emotional benefits one gains when cutting alcohol from their life, I relied heavily on scientific facts in the beginning. After several days of solo internet research, I decided to attend a local AA meeting to gain in-person support from people going through the same struggles as I was. The first meeting I attended, although full of support, was overwhelming. I am thankful I was able to take the steps to heart and stick with my decision to live a sober life.
Overcoming my Denial and The Twelve Steps to Recovery
The following are the original twelve steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Alcohol had taken control of my life, and my first step was admitting that I was no longer socially drinking. I was hiding and drinking, bingeing almost nightly, and living my life around the next time I could get drunk. When I first was introduced to the twelve steps they immediately had an impact on me. The first thing that stood out to me about the twelve-step program was how big of a part that God played. Being raised in a non-religious household, the idea was one that I wasn’t sure I would be able to accept. I quickly learned the amount of significance a higher power did have in my life, and was able to use it as a constant support on my journey to sobriety. Without the twelve steps and giving up control of my alcohol addiction with God’s support, I would never get to live healthy life that I wanted.
I am not Powerless against my Alcohol Addiction but Need God’s Support
Being addicted to alcohol made me feel powerless at times. My brain would tell me to stop, but I would find myself making excuses to find the next drink. I would often blow off responsibilities in order to get drunk. I knew it my mind this was not me- I am a responsible adult, who loves my family and works hard to support my child and myself. Instead of taking the first step of admitting to not having power over alcohol, I instead saw God as a support to make me take control of my life. Alcohol once made me feel like I didn’t have a choice, but my relationship with God made me understand that with his support, I can achieve any goal I set for myself- including overcoming my addiction to alcohol.
Making a Searching and Fearless Moral Inventory of Myself: Analyzing the Destructiveness of my Alcohol Dependence
Taking a moral inventory of myself was not an easy thing to do. I have a hard time accepting my flaws, and having an addiction to alcohol was something embarrassing that I did not like admitting. My addiction motivated me to make choices that were against my moral compass. I would sleep in late after an all-night drinking binge, making me late for work and scrambling for excuses to tell my boss. I would decline invitations to family gatherings, then lie and make up reasons for not attending when in reality I was afraid of what I would do in front of loved ones when I had too much to drink. I no longer found pleasure in doing the things I once enjoyed, such as playing the violin and volunteering at the local library. With God’s unwavering support, I was able to look at this moral inventory, accept that alcohol led me to disappointing decisions, and move forward.
Physical and Psychological Dependence and Strained Relationships: Making a List of People I have Harmed
My life as an addict was fixated on when I was going to have my next drink. This put those closest to me second to my relationship with alcohol. It was hard to admit this at first, because I pride myself in being a very loyal and loving person. I sat down with a pen and paper and made an actual list of people who were directly affected by my alcohol addiction. I felt God’s presence as the list grew longer, and although I was saddened, with His support I was able to make an honest list and begin making amends with them, one by one. A few of those on the list of people I have harmed:
- My mother, who’s birthday I missed two years in a row because I became too drunk to drive to her birthday gathering.
- My ex-husband, whom I routinely bickered with when I was under the influence.
- My son, for sleeping off hangovers on weekend mornings instead of taking him to the park.
At the top at that list was myself. In the midst of my addiction, I lost passion, battered my body physically, and lost my relationship with God.
My Spiritual Awakening, Fear of Relapse, and Continued Recovery
With God’s support, I was able to experience a spiritual awakening that I had never before experienced. I feel more in tune with nature, my family, myself, and with God since becoming sober. I would not consider myself a religious person, but God’s presence helped me to achieve the healthy life I always wanted and never knew I could achieve. There are points after a rough day that I find myself craving alcohol, and there is always an underlying fear that I will relapse into the alcohol-focused life I once lived. Accepting that God’s will is for me to live a sober lifestyle gives me strength. Following the 12 steps was vital in breaking free from my alcohol addiction and they continue to serve as a key support system in maintaining my sobriety.
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