Black Balloon Day

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Today, Sunday March 6th is Black Balloon Day.

Black Balloon Day is a day to remember friends family and loved ones who lost their lives from addiction. As addicts we know only too well the fatal nature of our disease. Some of us make it into recovery but many do not.

So please share this in honour of someone you know who has lost their fight with addiction.

#ODRJ #BlackBalloonDay

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Step 1 – The Problem

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Step 1 “We admitted we were powerless over our addictions – that our lives had become unmanageable”. Step 1 is often described as the “100% Step”. That is to say that the first step has to be fully understood before the other 11 can take effect. In The Big Book the first few chapters are devoted to explaining and understanding our alcoholism in more detail. It explains the mental obsession of an alcoholic as well as the phenomenon of craving and how destructive our alcoholism can be not just to ourselves but to our loved ones and colleagues too. The mental obsession forms part of the mental insanity we have as am active alcoholic. No matter how much trouble our drunken escapades have caused in the past, or how often, we find ourselves in the situation where the desire to have ‘just a couple’ often overrides the sure knowledge that we won’t stop at a couple and there is an extremely good chance that we will cause no end of problems while drunk. The analogy of not hitting ourselves over the head more than once because it hurts is used to compare the fact that it must be insane thinking to drink again knowing it causes pain. The physical craving is interesting to us alcoholics to especially the concept that we are ‘allergic’ to alcohol. It’s often misinterpreted to be that alcohol may bring us out in a rash or make our limbs swell but that’s wrong. In alcoholism it means an abnormal reaction means our drinking alcohol creates a craving, a need, for more alcohol which is not present in moderate or heavy drinkers. Our lives become unmanageable in the sense that we aren’t able to function properly in our lives. We bemoan our inability to make a decent living, we find our friends and family relationships become fractured as the consequences of our drinking become apparent. We are also more prone to misery and depression. All this strengthens our maudlin state and returns us to the one thing we shouldn’t be doing; drinking alcohol. We need to look back honestly at our drinking. Did our thoughts of ‘just a couple’ turn out just like that or did we continue on to get drunk? Did our overall drinking continue at drunken levels continue for longer than planned? Did we feel in control during that time? How many of the problems in our life are as a direct result of alcoholic drinking? We often mistakenly believe that our problems fuel our dreaming and while that may be somewhat true often these problems occur or are made worse by our drunkenness.

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Learning To Like Me

At the end of my drinking I hated me. I loathed the drunken homeless bum I had become and felt obligated to remain. The end couldnt have come quick enough yet was torturously slow.

In recovery, working The 12 Steps, I was to highlight and admit to the monster I was and to ask God to remove from me all my defects of character so I might better do his will. Most importantly I asked Him to remove me from the bondage of my wretched Self. It was a shaming time.

Gradually I have come to like who I was as it has made me who I am now and with God as my guide who I want to be. A flawed but better human. Significantly I learnt to like me once again 🙂

My Journey – Part 1

I first tasted alcohol at the age of 15. Up until then I had been irritable, restless and discontent. Alcohol changed all that. It calmed me as well as making me feel alive and a part of life. I had always been looking for something; finally I had found it and alcohol was like a magic elixir of sorts. Everything was better with a drink inside me.
As it turned out alcohol was to destroy my life for the next 25 years but in those first few months an illusion built within my mind that suddenly I was invincible. I could and would achieve anything. But it was a lie as I was later to find out.

A Power Greater Than Myself

As far back as I can remember I believed in something. My primary school was Church Of England so we had regular Bible teachings during assembly. I enjoyed that but at a young age it was just history to me and any relevance slipped past me. I believed though.

As I became an adult a grim reality set in. If God were this ruler of the known, and maybe the unknown Universe, why was there so much war, crime, famine, natural disasters, poverty and other such terrible things in the world. Did it not concern Him or was He too busy? My belief stayed but my faith was shaken.

As I entered the rooms, I became aware that God was involved. Some described He/She/It as their Higher Power and that seemed better to me. I had also cursed Him at times for my alcoholism, bad behaviour and then drunkenly pleaded to be forgiven if I was allowed one more day.

To discover that God could be personal me, as I understood Him, was a revelation, as it was to rediscover my faith in a Power greater than me. Through The Steps and The Big Book, I was to discover that God was the Spiritual Caretaker, a loving, forgiving and benevolent type; at least that was how it seemed to me. I fell to my knees and gave my life and will to God as I understood Him, my only request that He free me from the bondage self and help me better do His will, guiding me in His wisdom.

I still don’t entirely understand God but I do understand that as humans we are flawed and that which I had resented Him for was in fact human made. Today I know my God is a good God.