I’m wondering if I should stop counting the days. 2 weeks ago I planned to not drink for 2 weeks straight. HA! So much for that plan. Counting the days was supposed to keep an exciting tally of the number of sober days. That sure as hell didn’t happen. Like usual, my plans fell apart. Like usual, I failed. Ask me if I’m surprised! Nope. But, but, but! But what? Ha-ha! These two weeks were not in vain. I’ve learned and realized something very, very important. Something that I realize, now more than ever, is critical, critical to my having any hope of successfully getting free from the bottle. In AA they call it “Hitting Bottom”.
I’ve resisted the concept of “hitting bottom” for many years. When we are truly “addicted” to alcohol, in a nutshell, “hitting bottom” means sinking to your absolute lowest state of being in your alcoholism. For many, that means having all sorts of horrible stuff happen because of the drinking, like losing your job, your family, your home, your health, your money. Some end up on the streets, or living in a rat infested flea bag hotel on skid row. Those are the worse case scenarios, of course. Many hit bottom before any or all of those terrible things happen to them. Every persons “bottom” is different.
“Hitting bottom” is beautifully described by David Schoen in his excellent book, The War of the Gods in Addiction, wherein he states, “it is…the (emotional) recognition of the hopelessness, futility, and misery of continuing on the arrogant, delusional path that one has been on”. And, as Bill Wilson, the co-founder of AA once said, “hitting bottom is the essence of getting hold of AA—really”. Until we realize that there is absolutely nothing that we can do in our own power to free ourselves from our alcoholism, we will continue to stumble along and experience one defeat after another—just as I have been through in the past two weeks! Yet another defeat.
Yup, you see, my “plan” to quit drinking over the last two weeks was still MY plan, another vain ego effort to lick this thing using my “higher-power”. Using my higher-power—not depending upon it absolutely. And that is why I failed. I did it innocently, of course, because I had not yet hit my absolute “bottom”. But, last night when I was back at the pub licking my wounds and feeling terribly sorry for myself, I finally experienced—lived and felt and realized full blast the absolute futility of trying to do this with my own power and clever ego plans.
I finally experienced total ego collapse and defeat. I gave up and let go. It’s taken me FIFTEEN years to reach this critical juncture! Fifteen years. What a waste of my life! But, I know its been a necessary waste. So not a “waste”, really. Its simply been what I have had to go through to get to this point. Such is how insidious and horrible the bloody ALCOHOL has been in my life all these years. Who would have figured!? Not me! And that’s the very nature of the beast. It leads so many innocently and willingly down the road to destruction, misery and death. God willing, I’ve just taken the detour.