(the first post in this series is here: On Being a Social Outcast )
(the previous post in this series is here: Putting It All Together – Part 2 )
Besides dealing with the destructive Introject that was close to killing me, I am also a severe alcoholic. At 25 years old I was drinking a fifth of hard liquor a day, and though I tried with all my might, I could not stop. The very first hint of my process began when I surrendered myself to AA, 34 years ago. It was AA meetings and a ‘mother’ sponsor that actually gave me the ability to stop using the substance alcohol. For me, alcohol was my primary addiction. Although I have had to deal with a lot of other addictions and obsessions, I call alcohol my ‘primary’ because it was what I ran to first for soothing and for helping me feel better.
Though I haven’t drank in 34 years now, this has by no means, been an easy proposition. Removing the alcohol involved a lot of way-down-to-the-soul ~pain~! I’m not sure about this, but I believe that deep pain is an essential part of the permanent healing process when one is trying to overcome a negative Introject. A lot of very deep inner parts of a person have to change in order for the healing to take place. Pain is useful for this. Pain can metaphorically ‘cut a person open’ so that intense surgery to their psyche can be performed. I think it’s an absolute necessity that one is willing to undergo deep pain in order to obtain this miracle of healing.
To cope with the extreme pain of letting the alcohol go, I leaned on every sympathetic person in AA and on several therapists – for all they were worth. For some reason, I could not understand the 12 Steps and how the bulk of the them could be used as a healing agent in my situation. However, I vigorously grasped onto three AA ‘sayings’: ‘Easy Does It’, ‘First Things First’, and especially, ‘Think The First Drink Through’ (to the bitter end). In order to keep the alcohol out of my life, I went to two AA meetings a day for the first seven years of sobriety, I was in that much pain. Even today, I still attend one AA meeting and one Al-Anon meeting a week.
The particular AA and Al-Anon groups I attend today are very loving and accepting of ‘crazy people’. They’re both chock full of ‘old-timers’. I can talk about anything I need to talk about, and I’m still welcomed by these two particular groups. This type of group is rare today. Most groups contain pretty narrow-minded, dominating people who are doing battle with their own negative Introjects. They will tell you things like; “If you’re not ‘working the program’ then you’re not ‘in the program”. If you dare divulge you’re having a bad day, many of them will condescendingly say “What step are you on?” Though I have an understanding mind toward these people, this is what I have to say to that… Bullshit!!
The Third AA Tradition states…
The ONLY requirement for AA membership…
is a Desire to Stop Drinking.
I couldn’t make heads or tails out of most of the Steps,
but I certainly had the desire not to drink… in spades!
* * *
But… I digress. Back to my story.
(the next post in this series is here: Putting It All Together – Part 4 )