So over the past few weeks I have been slowly working with my sponsor to work my way through the ’12 steps’ of Alcoholics Anonymous, found and detailed in the Big Book.
I didn’t really realise what sponsorship would truly involve until recently and I am finding it quite fascinating. Each time we meet, I sit down with my sponsor while she literally reads word for word the content of the ‘big book’. Whilst this may sound boring, it totally is not because as we go through interesting content, we will stop, pause and share stories.
Today we made our way through ‘Bills Story’, this is actually a truly fascinating story of one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous, a chronic alcoholic who suffered for years from alcoholism. Finally, he met up with an ‘old drinking friend’ who introduced him to the new program (what would be known as the 12 steps). Through taking this plunge, he was able to embark on the remainder of his life sober, and he and his wife were able to devote their life to helping alcoholics and their families recover.
We then worked our way through the first step, what I found was really interesting here was to differentiate the different levels of alcohol consumption:
Moderate Drinkers – These seems to be the majority of the drinking population. They can have a drink and put it down.
Heavy Drinkers – This is where people drink a lot, but can stop if life events trigger it, such as love, new job, health issues, medical reasons or lifestyle change. They may suffer health issues and have a shorter life, but generally they are not alcoholics.
Real Alcoholics – This is where we start to loose control of alcohol consumption when we drink. When we start, we can’t stop (or don’t want to stop. Often we have control over every other aspect of our lives except alcohol.
One quote that really resonated with me in the Big Book about being an alcoholic is:
An alcoholic often possesses special abilities, skills and aptitudes and has a promising career ahead of them. They use their gifts to build up a bright outlook for their family, then pulls down the structure down around his head by a senseless series of sprees.Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book, Page 21
The reason this paragraph resonates so much with me as that I had and have a bright future, but when I look back at my past I have been so guilty of self sabotaging myself. I have a large ego, but low self esteem. Alcohol has certainly helped me with my self esteem, but it has also helped mask my emotions, cover my insecurities and allow me to hide from who I am.
I think I realised I was an alcoholic when I realised that I couldn’t stop drinking, when I would crawl over broken glass for a drink and when, despite abstaining from drinking for my pregnancies, yet the day I gave birth I had the thirst back instantaneously.
My work with the steps is only very new, I’ve covered step 1 but I know I have a long way to go.