One of the biggest things I learned early on in my sobriety is that alcohol wasn’t my main problem.
Yeah, that was my first thought too.
You see, I have a 3 part disease. An allergy of the body, an obsession of the mind, and a spiritual malady.
ONE sip of alcohol and my brain becomes obsessed. It actually sends off signals to my body wanting more. All control is lost. This is when my choice is gone. If I tried to stay sober one day, that day consisted of me obsessing over every minute and every hour that i was without it, and contemplating every reason to drink. The obsession always won.
The spiritual malady was explained to me when I started to do some work on myself for the first time in my life. I had never heard such a thing. I had already admitted & accepted that I was an alcoholic and I understood why I shouldn’t drink anymore. But I didn’t believe I could ever be happy. Happiness was rare for me so I was a non believer, and I was about to roll my eyes and tell myself, I knew this was bullshit.
However I read the paragraph on p52 in the AA Big Book that sums up the symptoms of the infamous AA ‘spiritual malady’ said to be at the root of all alcoholism/addiction; the reason why we need to drink/drug/have sex with strangers/eat our weight in sugar/work ’til we drop just to cope with daily life;
‘We were having trouble with personal relationships, we couldn’t control our emotional natures, we were prey to misery and depression, we couldn’t make a living, we had a feeling of uselessness, we were full of fear, we were unhappy…’ it goes on.
I was all ears. Could this really be? Someone else felt the same? This isn’t just me? There is a name for how I have felt my entire life? At 30 years old I had absolutely no ability to cope with anything that caused me unhappiness, stress or anxiety. So of course! It makes sense! You mix a spiritual malady, an obsession of the mind and a physical allergy and no wonder I drank daily for 10 years. To make it worse, I am predisposed to alcoholism because of my family history. This is when my eyes opened and my ears started listening to learn and not just listening to justify going back to drinking.
I can honestly say that my spiritual malady can creep up like a creature in the night. If I’m not self aware, if I don’t pray to my higher power on a daily basis, if I stop expressing myself, helping others, and doing all the things that I have been taught, that malady will stick around. Eventually my old coping mechanism will come back and I will drink. I know this 100%. So today, when those bad days come, I use my tools; or my lifelines as I like to call them. I pray, call a friend, distract myself with a book or writing here, I work on my business, I try to help someone, I go to a meeting, or some times I simply spend time alone in a quiet room.
Allowing myself to feel sucks some days. I hate the sadness, anxiety & stress life brings sometimes. But I like it more than relapsing! This too shall pass- and it does!