One of the great opportunities of living the program of Alcoholics Anonymous is our ability to become “God-Conscious.” Because our alcoholism is a brain disease, our brains reset themselves every night in our sleep to “alcoholic”. I find that I need to set my brain back every morning to “sober”.
At age 19, I had all the evidence I needed that I was an alcoholic. On one terribly cold, windy, January day, I was kicked out of college. That event made me homeless. I was standing in front of the dormitory that used to be my home, almost broke. I had sixty-nine cents in total assets, all in coins in my pocket. I had nowhere to go. I was drunk, even though it was still morning. I was so drunk that I couldn’t stop peeing my pants, and the frozen pee was sticking to my legs.
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous makes promises on pages 83 and 84. At the New Year, let’s see how these promises are coming true. We can all take inventory of these promises.
At The Retreat, I am talking with a lot of alcoholics who also are addicted to Adderall. They have had the impression that Adderall is either not addictive, or harmless, and are surprised to be having problems with it. Adderall is a mixture of two types of amphetamine and two types of dextroamphetamine, and so it is basically an amphetamine. It is an addictive drug. It is classified as a controlled dangerous substance on schedule II.
My first attempt at college didn’t go so well. It started off fun, then become fun with some consequences, then by my 7th year of school it was just all consequence. I had been to detoxes, I was failing courses, going to classes I wasn’t even registered for, and drinking myself into oblivion. Life was getting bad and drinking was my only solution. I don’t mean to gloss over my first few treatment experiences but I want the focus of this to be on the importance of staying plugged in to my program.
This weekend, I will be an A.A. Speaker at the “Rogue Roundup” in Grant’s Pass, Oregon. Although I have spoken at a number of A.A. roundups, this will be the first one on the west coast. I’m the last of nine speakers, most from California, and I follow the famous Clancy I. One difference between the Los Angeles speakers and myself is that I don’t have a dramatic drinking story. I drank quietly, and I never got arrested. Because I don’t have a “war story” to present, I’m going with four important things I’ve learned in A.A. so far.
I deployed to Tallil, Iraq in January of 2007. When my transport plane landed, I got worried. Would I hold up under combat conditions? Would I remember my training or, would I wither in the face of fire? I deplaned and stood on the tarmac to get my bearings and there a few hundred meters from my location I saw a church steeple. I thought to myself “before I do anything else, I’m going to go into that church and just say a quick prayer of gratitude to God for getting me safely to Iraq.”
We all know that addiction, whether to alcohol or other drugs, is brutal. Not everyone is sure that, in recovery, we get better. I believe that we can all get better in recovery. Life gets better for the alcoholic and addict who embraces Twelve Step recovery. Life also gets better for those who leave behind the alcoholic and addict who chooses not to recover, and seeks their own recovery.