Can’t think of many things in my life that were “bad”. Have way more “not-so-good” things. So when I delve into myself searching for “bad” I think of where my alcoholism took me. I also think of being afraid of my dad. He was an alcoholic. So I guess alcoholism is the “bad” thing that comes to mind.
Yet today I am a “grateful alcoholic”. When I first heard that term I thought, “For real?” But, yes, today I am a “grateful alcoholic”, thus alcoholism has opened my eyes to the good things I wasn’t paying attention to before! Therefore, I am thankful for alcoholism, mine, not Dad’s because he died of this disease before my ever knowing how it affected him. I was more fortunate…I am here today to write this.
Were I not an alcoholic I probably wouldn’t have paid much attention to what the disease is or what it entails…how it affects millions of people and their loved ones. Were I not an alcoholic I probably would never have done a Fourth Step and found what makes Dee tick, and how fear-based I had lived most of my life. And were I not an alcoholic I probably wouldn’t have realized how many good things I have in my life that I wasn’t paying attention to before, or appreciate them, and cherish them.
At the end of my “active” disease I no longer had a choice of whether or not to have a drink. I don’t even remember it ever being “fun”. I only remember I battled in my head whether or not to drink today, or this morning, or before work, and the answer was always “yes”. At that point life was getting in the way of my drinking. Really sucky way to live. I didn’t care about my husband, my kids, my family and friends. I didn’t care about my home or my job or how blessed I was to be living in Lake Tahoe. Hey, I wasn’t homeless, drinking from a brown paper bag, living in a dumpster, prostituting myself. But I surely didn’t care at all about myself. That is where the active disease took me.
And thinking today about the fear I had of my dad I can see that he scared me, he was not loving, he showed us no care or concern, as he was in his “active” disease and if it were me, I, too, would be feared. I wasn’t nice when I woke up hungover. I wasn’t nice when I needed a drink but knew I shouldn’t. And I definitely was mean. My kids told me so. And I could not show you care or concern or love because I had none.
Today…one day at a time…I no longer have to live that way. Nor does my dad. When I was hitting my bottom my dad pulled me up by the boot strings and guided me to seeking help. Seek help? That wasn’t in my vocabulary. I had self-control and was strong-willed. Why would I need your help? Because I am an alcoholic and to nip this disease in the bud takes others…this is a WE program! And when I relapsed over 13 years later my dad once again nudged me back into recovery which is where I am today and seeing for the first time how good “everything” is around me, and within me, that I wasn’t paying attention to before.
A.A. and the fellowship, and the Big Book and the Steps and Traditions have totally changed me from that “bad” person living that “bad” life to who and what I am today. Today I have a Higher Power in my life. Today I don’t have to be in control or think I am because today I realized that I never was! Today I have a tool box in the Steps and Traditions that show me a better way to live. Today I am surrounded by many who truly love me for who I am and do not judge. Today I have and share love and concern and care as I finally am able to love myself, thus, I am able to love you back. Today I am thankful for the bad things in life.
With that, I truly hope that all of you find a place in your life where you find peace and contentment and happiness. I am here for you. Thank you for being here for me. Until next week, have a mighty fine day! With much aloha…Dee
For those interested in Inspirational Gifts in Recovery or Hawai’i Art, please check out my website at www.DeesignsByHarris.com. Mahalo!