Enjoying Life On Life’s Terms
I have worked the 12 steps with my sponsor and seen the promises come true. As I celebrate how far I’ve come, I can’t help but remember what it was like I’m reminded of the section from the chapter “A Vision For You” from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous:
For most normal folks, drinking means conviviality, companionship and colorful imagination. It means release from care, boredom and worry. It is joyous intimacy with friends and a feeling that life is good. But not so with us in those last days of heavy drinking. The old pleasures were gone. They were but memories. Never could we recapture the great moments of the past. There was an insistent yearning to enjoy life as we once did and a heartbreaking obsession that some new miracle of control would enable us to do it. There was always one more attempt and one more failure.
Alcoholics Anonymous, page 151
The night of my last drunk, I was on a chartered sail boat on Lake Michigan. The sun was shining and life was good. I was there for work. There were 12 of us, drinking wine and champagne and enjoying the day. Or I should say that’s what everyone else was doing. I was drinking and drinking and drinking some more. I couldn’t get enough.
After we got off the sailboat, some people were going home and others were going to go for Mexican food and margaritas. I had told myself I was going to go home. I had a husband and a nine month old at home. I should have gone home. But in my mind, it was like I would be missing out if I didn’t go for Mexican. I chose chips and salsa and, more importantly, margaritas. I was drinking so fast. I couldn’t stop. I had horrible heartburn, and I kept drinking. Then it hit me, I was an hour from home and wasted.
I got up and said “I gotta go.” I knew that if I didn’t go, I would black out and not make it home. I was scared. So I walked out to the street to hail a cab. We were in Lincoln Park, a neighborhood on the northside of Chicago, and I couldn’t find a cab. So I sat down on the curb to wait for one. I passed out and woke up to an EMT throwing me on a stretcher. I panicked. I called him some names, and he threw me on and belted me down. Took me to the ER where I was in and out of consciousness. I slept it off for a bit and when I woke up, the nurse had me call my husband. I could barely speak. It was like my mouth was full of cement. My husband was screaming and crying. I just handed the phone over to the nurse.
My husband had to wake my daughter up and drive to get us. We live in the southwest suburbs. Before I could leave, the doctor wanted to talk to me to see if I needed to be admitted for psychiatric evaluation. I admitted to her what I had known for a long time. I was an alcoholic and my life was out of control. I worked full time, was the “bread winner,” had a nine month old . Life was unmanageable. She smiled. She told me she was relieved that I knew what I needed to do. Four hours later, I was in my first AA meeting.
I would see people drink and have fun. They didn’t seem to isolate like I did. They didn’t seem to feel the guilt, shame and remorse the next day that I did. They didn’t seem tormented. They weren’t consumed by the desire and the obsession to drink.
I failed at drinking. But since coming to these rooms, I have learned how to succeed at living life. I came to the rooms in hopes to learn how to live life WITHOUT drinking. What I have learned is so much more useful. I have learned how to live life on life’s terms. I have learned about patience, tolerance, love, and compassion not only for myself, but for all the other people out there in the world.
For today’s topic, I’m hoping you can share on how you have learned how to enjoy life on life’s terms.