Get Addiction Help (888) 804-0917

Breakdown Lane | A Personal Journey of Recovery | Part 15 – Walking the Back Roads

One of the best parts of getting sober can also feel like one the worst parts of getting sober. As we each move forward; admitting we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable, coming to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity, making a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood him, and eventually have to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves, it can be both liberating and debilitating at the same time.
          Although we did talk about the 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous in the detox part of the recovery treatment center, we never delved deeply into them. It was through other support groups I learned more about these. Of course through my work at that rehab treatment center and living around my alcoholic parent I knew about them somewhat already.
          When I got to the first step, which for me was quite easy. I was powerless over alcohol, but I had trouble with the unmanageable part of it. For me, and this is just how I was seeing it at the time, I couldn’t see how my ‘life’ had fallen apart. Sure, I’d come close but again, I wasn’t like the people from the Somerville Detox and Rehab. I still had a great house, job, my health, and yes even my partner was still a part of my life, although that relationship was tenuous at best. He had his own demons and needed to deal with them. I’d support him the best I could, and hope he would do the same for me. 
         So, had my ‘life’ become unmanageable? No, I believed it hadn’t. Looking back, that was my first misstep of walking the back roads of my history. I hadn’t taken the time to read through this oh so important step. I was so incredibly focused on getting through this step that I gleaned over it quickly. My strong desire for this step, this sobriety, for this life ahead of me to be easy that I’d overstepped the actual purpose of it by not taking my time.
          It would have been incredibly helpful if I had the courage to ask for help with this, if I’d taken the time to find a permanent sponsor at Alcoholics Anonymous. A caring friend of mine, the nurse with the prescription writing problem, had asked someone for me actually. He felt at least a temporary sponsor might be helpful. So, I embarked on a superficial journey with this new A.A guru.
         On the first phone call, John showed me what the steps were, showed me where to find meetings, and asked me to continue calling him daily. As the good little soldier that I am, I did. John never came to the meetings he said he would, never called me back, and after a time I began to feel a bit of an annoyance. When he finally did appear at a meeting, one he never said he’d be at, he avoided me and exited before the meeting was finished. 
         What had I done to warrant this behavior? What had I done to be ostracized? I didn’t get it because I’d done exactly as he’d asked. It felt like the time in fourth grade when I’d missed the day the teacher handed out a list of words for the upcoming spelling bee contest. Not knowing the list existed I was suddenly thrust in front of the class. After a few rounds I was eliminated; failing miserably four times in a row. Feelings of stupidity surged forward. By chance, and this was just me being in the right place at the right time, I saw a list of words on the desk of the spelling champ, Sharon. When she explained what it was and how the teacher handed it out, I asked the teacher for the list, and studied like mad. I won the next two rounds but it was too late. Sharon had beaten me four to two. She was later knocked out in the first round so I felt more than justified, not that I’d wished it on her of course.
          So, as it goes, I guess, I didn’t understand the sponsorship role. I envisioned him standing there in his house as the phone was ringing, checking his caller id, rolling his eyes, and letting the machine pick it up. Needless to say, I quickly became resentful toward him. 
         Knowing how to ask for help, or even stumbling through requests for help was something I hadn’t done before, not even in my relationship. As I stated way back in this blog, I come from a family of independent overachievers; asking for help just isn’t done.
         What I soon discovered, through a book, Living Sober, was the following: 
         “…if a sober A.A. member would agree to “sponsor” the sick man or woman. The sponsor took the patient to the hospital, visited him or her regularly, was present when the patient was discharged, and took the patient home and then to the AA meeting. At the meeting, the sponsor introduced the newcomer to other happily non drinking alcoholics. All through the early months of recovery, the sponsor stood by, ready to answer questions, or to listen whenever needed.”
          Even as a temporary sponsor, he fell flat. I was so incredibly disappointed that he hadn’t done what was laid out for him; being a friend, teacher, tutor, experienced guide, or an as older brother that I just gave up within a couple weeks. Somehow, I’d turned it on me and decided that I couldn’t lean on anyone for anything. If I wanted to get this 12-step thing done, well, I just needed to do it myself.
          After having graduated the detox part with thirty-two days under my belt, I began the first week in the rehab treatment center. I was excited because, for the most part, it would be some new individuals, and I could hide for a bit and not share what was going on, or actually not going on with my ‘temporary sponsor.’ It would be easy to let it slide, and when it came time to talk about what was ‘happening with me’ well, I’d be well over my resentment. 
          That’s not exactly how it goes. I don’t always get what I want.

To the next part in the series — A Personal Journey of Recovery | Part 16 – Tread Marks — Click Here