Sunday, July 26, 2009

Step One.

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

I've been asked by a sponsee recently, how did I know that my life was unmanageable? What does "unmanageable" mean?

I may define it as: chaotic, disorderly, or turbulent - we each have our own definition, because our lives, coping strategies, and definitions of success and serenity, differ.

I like this reading in Hope for Today, page 10:

"Like many children of alcoholics, I vowed I'd never drink like my father. Nevertheless, I do get drunk, only I get drunk on feelings. If not checked, my hurt, anger and fear can trigger a downward spiral that leaves me feeling completely unmanageable. I'm often unable to function as I allow my bad moods to drag me into a pit of depression. It's as if I'm an emotional drunk. I can't hold my feelings any more than an alcoholic can hold his or her liquor.
I use the First Step to accept that, just for today, i'm powerless by myself to stop these emotional binges once they gain momentum."

I think that's the best description I've ever heard of the way my feelings affect me, if allowed to run unchecked or unquestioned - an emotional binge. Just as the alcoholic does, I have a point at which I am still in control, and able to choose not to go that route. I can work my program to head off a binge. I can read Al-Anon literature, call my sponsor, meditate, and pray.

When I choose differently, and decide to allow myself to have an emotional binge, I do get drunk on my feelings, and I have about as much ability to think clearly as the alcholic does when under the influence. I make impulsive decisions, I cannot see my way to serenity, my thinking is black or white, my entire self is consumed by the heat of my feelings.

I too, have a hangover after an emotional binge. I feel self-disgust, embarassment and shame. I am faced with amends I need to make for my words or my actions while in the maelstrom of my feelings. I have to climb back upon my program, and set off at a slow and shaky pace down the familiar and safe road to serenity.

My life is unmanageable when I stand at the point of choice, and instead of admitting my powerless over my feelings, decide I can allow myself "just one" and then I'll stop. This is equally as ludicrous for me, as is "just one drink" for an alcoholic.

When I admit to my powerlessness - over my feelings, over an alcoholic, or anyone else, I am trusting my Higher Power to deal with it as He sees fit. I am choosing to admit that I have no control over any of it, that an emotional binge won't change anything, and the momentary satisfaction of the feelings will only mean I'll have to start all over again afterwards, from the exact same place in which I am standing now.
It's my choice how I spend my precious time - wallowing, or working my program. I choose serenity.

1 comment:

  1. How true about the emotional binge. I don't like to feel those feelings that come after. They take me down in a bad way.