This weeks “Here’s To Your Health” is another personal story and it’s from a fellow living in Bucharest Romania:
I never thought I’d be making address labels to send someone mail in jail. But today, I put my computer skills to work and made labels for my brother. I write him a few times a week, and it is to the point where it’s easier to make labels so I don’t have to keep writing the address over and over again. ‑Of course, there are many things I told myself I’d never do, but one by one I did them all. I told myself I’d never: be as bad as my dad the black-out drinker, or smoke cigarettes, drink before dark, drink in the afternoon, drink in the morning, drink on a school night, miss school because of a hangover, miss school because I was too drunk, let my grades suffer because of alcohol, drink the night before a morning shift, drink until the morning shift started, miss work because of a hangover, miss work because I was too drunk, miss work because I was still drunk, break up with a girl because she thought I drank too much, have sex before marriage, have sex with someone I didn’t love, have sex with someone I didn’t like, have sex with someone I didn’t know, cheat on a girlfriend, have sex with someone else’s girlfriend, have unsafe sex, drunk sex with a prostitute, have medical problems from drinking cheap wine, drink and drive, get pulled over while drinking, get caught drinking by my parents, smoke pot or not let my parents know if I did, use anything else but pot (mushrooms didn’t count), smoke pot and drink at the same time, drink with people who were lower than me. ‑Who was I fooling? People on the social scale lower than me? I was living in a crummy apartment with holes in the carpet, holes in my jeans, and rusty holes in my car. I was always scraping the bottom. ‑I just thank God that I finally hit bottom, I really am a wimp, I discussed this with my alcoholic Dad a while back, but he kept going like the Energizer bunny. Dad said, “I don’t want to quit!” ‑‑
So what caused me to hit bottom? ‑My Higher Power changed my heart. But on another level, I knew that if I kept drinking, it was going to get worse. Things never got better. Things would never change. Despair gripped my soul and it scared the crap out of me. ‑Some of the things that bothered me the most happened when I was sober. I just exercised bad judgment. I did not identify with the ‘chap that was normal in every aspect except in his inability to control his drinking.’ I never did anything normal. I never did anything like everybody else. And somehow deep inside, I knew I’d never be like everybody else. Somehow, I felt that I was different and therefore nobody liked me. People just tolerated me.
Alcoholics are plagued with low self-esteem. But at the same time, our egos run wild and we think everything is about us. “They’re all looking at me.” Self-centeredness. That we think is the root of our troubles. When I read that in The Book I thought, “Wow, these people figured out their problem. That’s great. I wonder what my problem is.” ‑‑I genuinely thought that the people in the Big Book were nice enough people, and if I read it from cover to cover that first night I’d find out what my problem was. But this selfishness just didn’t fit me. I mean, I devoted my life to helping others. I didn’t realize until years later that I only acted if there was a sure reward in it for good old moi! My dial was stuck on WIIFM – What’s In It For Me? Sure, I’ll help you out, but only if I think of something I’m going to ask you for really soon. I’d use my self-sacrificing manner to put you on a guilt trip later. ‑No wonder I didn’t have any friends. I hated my job. My car was broke down. I was bouncing checks. I hated my roommate. I hated my neighbor, who thought my music was too loud. I was flunking out of school. My girlfriend left me because she said I drank too much and I was only interested in sex. I had a panic attack halfway through a class and had to leave, telling the professor that it was “an emergency.” I turned in a blank test paper because my mind was too foggy to concentrate. And yet, I couldn’t see anything wrong with any of that. And it was certainly not related to my drinking. ‑Then one day it struck me. If I don’t stop drinking, it’s always going to be like this. That’s when I got on my knees and said those words that changed my life forever, “God, help me!” ‑No conditions, no bargaining. Just help me. I haven’t taken a drink since then, I didn’t take a drink today, and God willing, I won’t tomorrow if I can remember to do a few simple things. ‑
God bless and good night.