A lot has happened in the last week. Nothing stays the same, as the old saying goes. Circumstances change, people change, things you thought you could count on to *never, ever* change, change. So when I saw the above Dr. Seuss page scanned on Tumblr the other day, I was reminded to just breathe and enjoy the ride instead of wishing things would stay the same. Because the way they were wasn’t all that great, at least not for me. Things are only getting better, and for that I’m grateful. I’m also “happening,” hopefully.
I met with my sponsor for the first time on Tuesday afternoon and though I’m sure I’m not supposed to talk about it on a public forum, this is my personal blog and I’m at liberty to talk about whatever’s on my mind. He’s a great guy and, though I understand the concept of wanting to help a fellow alcoholic work the 12 Steps, I’m not sure at what point I would have the patience to sit down with someone for two hours once a week and do that with them. But I digress; we had a productive session in the cafeteria atrium of the hospital where our AA meetings are held, and by the time our session was over, two other AA members and their sponsors were meeting there as well. I started crying at one point and was sure everyone was looking at me; no one cared or noticed. I cried during my session yesterday with my psychologist/addiction specialist. He pointed out how much progress I’ve made in the nine months since I last saw him (for the first time, and what I swore was the last time then). He
stated the obvious and told me I still have a lot of growing up to do, and that his main concern for me is that I have to learn to quit caring what other people think about how I live my life. And it’s the truth; I know I have to do what’s best for me, and as much as I’ve gone on and on about that the last couple of years, actions speak louder than words. I still so rabidly crave approval, almost as much as I crave bottom shelf vodka. So I have to get over that and grow up a bit. Again, easier said than done, but it felt good to hear that I’m not the same person I was nine months ago. Oh–funny story–I had to agree that if I start drinking again and refuse to sober up he’ll fire me as a patient. Maybe that’s not funny to anyone else, but it was funny to me. He’s been doing this 40+ years and said very sternly that that’s no idle threat, so I respect him for it.
Finally, I wanted to share this page from the ‘AA Big Book’ which I went over with my sponsor on Tuesday. I’d read it before and actually made a note of much of what was on the page. Besides which, it’s page XXX, which isn’t easily forgotten. Anyway, here’s the page:
So my sponsor was having me read this entire chapter out loud, which was fine with me since I’d already done so at home since my attention span is null and void these days. Essentially, as one can read, there are five examples of alcoholics described here: the psychopath, the “brand/location-changer,” the type who ceases to drink and then thinks he can drink because he’s cured himself, the manic-depressive, and the so-called “normal ones.” My sponsor explained that we as alcoholics can be one or all of these; which of them did I think I was? I assumed it was a rhetorical question and just stared down at the book. He repeated the question and I got the hint that I should answer. I knew from when I read the ‘Big Book’ all the way through last fall that I was definitely the psychopath, as much as the name stings. I’m also the manic-depressive. Perhaps this last time around I was a bit of the one who thought he’d cured himself since I tried to play the card of being a “social drinker,” though I always knew that was a lie and I was drinking much more behind closed doors than the couple of drinks I’d have out with friends from time to time. Then my sponsor asked me if I was one of the “normal ones.” I just laughed. He asked me why I laughed and I suddenly teared up and said, “I’m by no means normal.” He read the description to me out loud and I told him that didn’t fit me, except for the part about being intelligent. He told me he disagreed. We left it at that.
On that note, I’m going to leave it at that this week. I’m actually okay with not being normal and would have it no other way at this point. I was telling one of my favourite people in my AA group after the meeting the other night that the older I get–in fact, even in the last year or so–the less I care about what others think of me. I’m odd and I don’t fit in anywhere and I know it, but I simply don’t care. I’ve never fit in for as long as I can remember; it’s not my style. Perhaps that’s why I’ve always sought approval so much, but oh the irony of that! With that, thanks for reading. For anyone else fighting the good fight on the sobriety front, best wishes to you. You can make it, as Tammy Faye Bakker used to sing. (YouTube it…it’s a neat song.)