Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Drinking in the New Year

I hope that you had a good beginning to 2016.  It seems that a lot of people are struggling with the aftermath of the holiday season. The rooms have been fairly packed with people who have found that living with alcoholism is a struggle. Just about every meeting is filled.  People come in and are lost from a holiday season filled with drinking and out of control behavior.  They feel lost, angry and are struggling in their relationships with problem drinkers.  Sadly, this happens every year.  Some of the newcomers stick around for the miracle of recovery while others decide that they can control the drinking of another.  The merry-go-round continues.

I received an email from someone who was saying that it was difficult to live with active alcoholism.  And how hard it is when our culture seems to think that drinking to excess is okay and socially acceptable.

First off, living with active alcoholism was a nightmare for me.  And I know that even with Al-Anon, it would be impossible for me to stay in a relationship with active alcoholic drinking.  My struggle to rescue and enable is still very real. And that does more harm to the alcoholic in many ways.  I can feel the anxiety as I type this, thinking about what it used to be like.  If I were to have any peace, I would not again live with an alcoholic who is not serious about recovery.

As far as our society glamorizing alcohol, I see it a lot in social groups, although most of us now have realized that drinking every day is not only unhealthy but not sustainable. That being said, the young people I am around seem to revel in partying and drinking.  This is a college town so there are plenty who get sick from alcohol toxicity.  And I think to myself that there will be a place for them in the rooms of AA someday if they don't stop.  Sadly, because alcoholism is a progressive disease, they may not be able to stop.  Those who can't will keep it up until they are real alcoholics.

I remember what my wife's sponsor said: "If what you hear at a meeting drives you out, alcohol will drive you back in." I believe that is true for both programs of AA and Al-Anon.  I am glad that I stayed and have continued.  It isn't a solution for everyone, but it was one that I could embrace and where I found peace of mind.

Sending good thoughts to you.


11 comments:

  1. AA and Al-Anon have worked many miracles for those who work it. I am so glad that you and your wife are two of those.

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  2. Syd good to hear you calm, reassuring voice. Your life sounds serene.

    I'm blogging again, feeling the need to write. Ill see where it takes me.
    https://runawaykarma.wordpress.com/

    Lou

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  3. Syd...Happy New Year to you and your wife ! (I should know her name but can't recall)Sometimes I think your service to others is the key to a happy life.

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  4. Holidays are always tough. I've grown to dread the Silly Season. Ever since childhood with my dad, and somehow my grown-up life followed suit in being decidedly nasty. But I'm happy to say that this year is the first year it's been smooth. Can pinpoint why, but the 3 of us made it work, progress.... Happy New Year to you Syd and to your wife. May it treat you well.

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  5. The amount of alcohol on TV and movies really bothers me. With things like running jokes about gargantuan wine glasses and not a single get together that doesn't involve copious drinking.

    I think here might be a lot of misunderstandings about alcoholism as a progressive disease. Young people think that just because they aren't craving alcohol at all times that they do not have a problem. It's like they think of it as being possessed or something and have an illusion of being in control (heck, I held some of that illusion myself even when I subconsciously knew I had a problem). The thing is, alcohol "works" until it starts taking things away. It captures you in its glamor and then it wrecks you.

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  6. I'm not invited to some family events because, I don't drink and therefore I am not "fun" to have around. Growing up life revolved around alcohol, every family function always had alcohol. I've seen a lot, I drank a lot and you know what, it was never fun. One day I just decided it wasn't for me anymore. I get angry and sad at how much it's made to believe that it is a normal every day part of life. The commercials make you believe you can't have fun or not as much fun if you don't have alcohol. Ellen DeGeneres talks about it in her show all the time and they drink on the show sometimes. The Today show has it as part of there show with Hoda and Kathy Lee. Why!!?? I'm glad you and C have something that works for you two. I am sure she is grateful for your love and support. The best to you both in the New Year!

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  7. Thank you, for your wisdom. In December I graduated from a six month training process. It ended with a formal party. And there it was.

    Alcohol.

    I had not been in an alcohol-tinged environment for more than ten years. I wrote about it at my place. If it wasn't for Al-Anon Family Group recovery, I would have been mad, resentful and depressed. All at the same time.

    People I respect and grown close to, over six months---those I got trained with---transformed, not for the better, because of liquor. I had mixed feelings. I was back, emotionally, to when I was nine year old. I was powerless over others in the grip of alcohol's power. At the same time, I also was encouraged by the recovery I had by applying the principles of Al-Anon Family Groups.

    I responded while at the party. I did not react. The anxiety I felt, like when I was a child---in an alcoholic environment---was tempered by breathing. I stayed present. I focused on my strengths. I was mindful of the truths of who I am.

    I am a loved and innocent man.

    I was compassionate. Not judgmental. I know I have plenty of areas in my life needing improvement. I kept the focus on me. Al-Anon reminds me it was not my job cleaning the side of the street of those who went wild at the event. Step One reminded me I am powerless over the pronouns in my life: people, places and things. This also meant those at the party.

    I exercised boundaries. I prayed for those there. I used recovery. I did this by taking care of me. I left. The further I drove from the party, the better I felt. It was a 95 mile trip.

    Days later, I talked out my frustrations with trusted, emotionally healthy friends. I was embraced and supported by a community of others who love me, including my home group.

    Because of recovery, I hung on to my serenity and peace of mind.

    Wishing you and your wife a fantastic 2016!

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  8. This post reminds me where I never have to be again. In the desperation. I can feel it just from what you've written and it scares me. Just thinking going back there is enough to drive me straight into a meeting. Thank God that after so many years of recovery I still want to be here. I still need to be here.

    And I am glad you are still here, Syd. :) Happy 2016, one day at a time.

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  9. Good post, Syd. I am so happy that Alanon is there for those who need it. For what it's worth I can't imagine a life with alcohol in it now.

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  10. Happy Birthday Syd! Wishing you many, many joyful more.

    ML B

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  11. Happy belated birthday. Beautifully written.

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