Monday, July 18, 2011

Getting back up

Tonight's meeting was a good one.  A relative newcomer had the topic which was actually a question: How do you get back up when you keep getting knocked down?  There are some days when it is hard to see any sanity amidst the insanity of alcoholism.  The knock downs of the spirit come over and over, we reel in fear and uncertainty,  until a person is eventually sent to their knees.

Getting knocked down over and over will either cause a person to give up or eventually cause so much pain that they stand up and decide that something has to change.  Each person will decide to either live in the problem from now until death or make a decision to seek a solution that leads to a new life.  It is truly our choice.

I think that I was tired of making the effort to pretend any more.  It was very lonely living a lie.  Alcoholism creates a sense of isolation that is pervasive.  There was no one to talk to about what was happening in our home.  The therapists I saw didn't acknowledge the impact the disease had on me. I couldn't talk to colleagues.  The only close friend that I had confided in, decided that he didn't want to be friends anymore.  It was too hard to take that the "perfect" couple weren't perfect. 

Eventually, there are few options left.  For me, the only option was to get away from the stress, drama and emptiness by leaving the relationship.  Just mentioning that was enough to send my wife straight to AA.  And I went to Al-Anon to try to save myself.  I was one of the lucky ones that decided something had to change.  I had no luck at changing the other person, so it was time to focus on me.  Everyday that is what I do: focus on my life, my recovery, my standing up in the face of any number of life's challenges.  

Tonight the newcomer had a simple list of his problems in the relationship with his alcoholic wife.  These were the things that he wrote down while sitting at his desk:

no resepct
no trust
wanting love
wanting to trust
wanting respect
no friends
And opposite these, he wrote: "Oh God, please help me."

It is a rough place to be--to realize that we truly are powerless over what others do.  Acknowledging this means choices have to be made.   So we either stay stuck and beaten down or we do something totally out of character--we begin to change because waiting around for the other person to do that or trying to force those changes doesn't appear to be working.  It is what got me back up on my feet--knowing that I had waited too long for something to happen with the other person.  It was time for me to take action for myself.  And what a difference that has made.


  1. You have an excellent way of explaining the program..that's why the blog is still fresh and relevant after all these years.

    It's amazing to me how many take the other choice to just live with it.

  2. I enjoy it when you speak of the newcomer, Syd. It helps me tremendously.

  3. it is a beautiful thing to see that surrender and realizing we can not fix that list...

  4. When we finally get it that we really do not control what others do, we start working on what we can change, ourselves.

  5. "Oh God please help me!" How many lives have changed forever and for good with that simple plea.

  6. Another good post that I will send to my friend in need of your words. Thanks and I'm so glad you're feeling better.

  7. "It was time for me to take action for myself."

    Syd sorry it took so long for you to see that that time is always right now. No one is of any use to another until the are of use to themselves.

  8. Sober not SomberJuly 19, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    You are an incredible writer. I'm an alcoholic/addict and you give me insight to working with other alcoholics. Your blog reminds me that I am powerless over alcohol; weather it is in me or anybody else.

  9. You cannot know the relevance this post has for me, today. Thanks.

  10. A newcomer I've been talking to about the steps said to me the other day that "willingness is everything." We hear this all the time, right? It's amazing to see the light dawn in somebody's eyes when they take that on board in a deep way...

    "Oh God please help me" reminded me of that old story that has the guy saying, "Oh God, I don't believe... Help my unbelief." What it's all about.

  11. Sadly for some they don't know that there is any other way to live. Those are the people I pray for.

    I love reading your blog. It make me realize how far I have to go but not in a condescending kind of way. That takes a special talent. You are special Syd.

  12. You are constantly inspiring others, Syd. Thank-you. And what a wonderful quote.

  13. You're blog gave me just what I needed to hear today. thank you Syd!

  14. Great post. Loved it. Bless that poor newcomer. Really sums up the heartbreak we see coming to meetings every day. I mentioned your blog to a local new Al Anon lady and she absolutely loves your posts :) so you are helping others really understand what Al Anon asks of people..
    I've heard this in an AA meeting. 'The shortest prayer is 'Help.'

  15. Thank you for this post and for the quote by Eleanor Roosevelt. I'm glad I decided to make Changes in my relationship with my Qualifier even though there have been many times I I've felt knocked down; your post today is most validating to me and I'm grateful.

  16. Excellent experience shared! Helping newcomers is a great learning experience! :)

  17. Again, thank you for writing this. Your words always strike just the right note.


Let me know what you think. I like reading what you have to say.