I have loved ones, friends, relatives, and aquaintences that actively drink. Some are alcoholics, and drink alcoholically. Others drink socially. Still others drink only at gatherings to get blasted.
What I remember now is that, at one time, I was "all of the above". I remember that when I begin to entertain destructive thoughts about a man or woman who is drinking, getting drunk, or "POD" (Pass-Out Drunk), I'm heading in the wrong direction - better reset the GPS!. In other words, when I start to think badly of any kind of drinker because of the way he or she drinks, then I'm pointing one finger at them while my other three fingers are pointing back at me.
I recently spoke with an alcoholic friend who was drinking while I was visiting. She was embarassed, feeling guilty, at times in tears, but she was still drinking. She became aopolgetic. She asked me how I could sit and talk with her while she was actively drinking and could not get sober, with me knowing she relapses so much.
I said her drinking was something that has to be worked out between her and her God. I'm here to be a friend and help you with what you need help with, I'm not here to judge because I really REALLY understand why you drink. Then suddenly, Al-anon thinking kicked in and the light bulb went off in my mind
I realized through the depth of my soul. I was square at step one. I said this to her:
"I'm powerless over alcohol. But today I'm not powerless over my own alcoholic consumption. But since I care about you and I'm a friend, I'm still powerless over alcohol - but its the alcohol you drink".
It hit me like a ton of bricks. I was powerless again! I was powerless over alcohol in my friend's life. I couldn't judge her. I couldn't stop being her friend. I couldn't stop her from drinking. I was soooo powerless!
It wasn't a slippery slope for me. It was my first step once again, except it involved a friend. Her "powerlessness over alcohol" was making "our lives" - the moments in time we share as friends - "our lives had become unmanageable."
Right then and there in front of her, I took the first step again - I made that public admission of powerlessness. What an eerie feeling came over me. As a result of that experience, I suddenly became a member of Al-anon. As a result of all my sober relationships with other alcoholic friends, family and loved ones, and by talking the 1st step, I'm a member of Al-anon too.
I have experience, strength, and hope that I can share with a non-alcoholic friend, relative, or loved one of an alcoholic. Today I understand how it feels being sober, and having a neutral attitude toward alcohol, while someone I love still drinks. There have been times while sober that someone I loved tore my heart apart because of their drinking. These times, it really isn't me - it's no longer my problem of alcoholism, but it's still the same problem of alcoholism and it's destructive in the same ways. Dallas knows exactly what I'm talking about. Many of you know too how it feels to have the shoe on the other foot.
I'm not afraid of alcohol. It would be wrong of me to allow an attitude of intolerance against alcohol to take hold of me. It would cause me harm in helping other alcoholics. It would be wrong for me to think I've "overcome" alcoholism, and that I'm somehow "in a better place" than a drinking alcoholic - or that I should distance myself from people who drink. Then I really would be
on a slippery slope. Because I never
overcame alcohlism. But it wasn't a single person's own will or human power that sobriety happened to any of us. Our only defense against the first drink MUST come from a Power greater than ourselves
. Without such a Power in my life, I woud have no choice when it comes to drinking. I would drink - I couldn't do anything else but drink. I know this to be a proven fact based on the track record that covers the first 40 years of my life.
For this alcohlic, I understand that any attempt at shielding myself from the temptation of picking up a drink would surely fail. I don't get on my knees every morning and ask God to keep me sober. Like Dallas said, it's not God's job to keep me sober - it's my job to keep me sober. That's because I decided
I wanted what you all have, and I was willing
to go to any length to get it. Heck yeah, its my job to keep me sober.
What I get on my knees and ask God for every morning is for His Power to stay sober - for the knowledge of His will for me and the Power to carry that out. That Power is the fuel behind each and every self-sacrifice and unselfish constructive action I make or take. My problem was never not knowing what to do to stay sober, or how to do it. My problem was never a lack of knowledge - it was a lack of power.
I guess what I'm saying, is that when I'm around friends, relatives, and loved ones that drink alcohol, I believe it's my job to remember that I was the same way at one time or another. They say in my home group "Remember well your beginnings. The results will take care of themselves." If I forget where I came from, it won't be long before I forget where I am, and where I'm going.