Moderation isn’t something I ever practiced much. I am finding out that it’s not what I did so much as it is the way in which I did it.
There is a reason I am an alcoholic. I can’t have just one of anything. I never have been able to. If one is good, twenty is GREAT! If one vitamin is good, than four will make me superwoman. Although I am no longer a smoker and have not smoked in years, I was a hard core smoker. It wasn’t that I enjoyed the taste or the smell of smoke, in fact; I didn’t like that part at all. However, I smoked a pack and a half a day for 15 years. I think I just loved having something to do. It was something for me to obsess over. I would think “When can I go out and have my next smoke? How many do I have left? Should I go buy some now so that I don’t have to stop later”? Same thing with drinking. It used to piss me off when someone would whip out one of those tiny wine glasses at a party. Trying not to drink the whole glass at one time was difficult and filling it up all night made me feel like an alcoholic!
Looking back it is a pattern I have had most of my life. I find that I am restless and at odds if I don’t have something to obsess over. It is a form of numbing, a way of diverting my attention. If I am constantly thinking about food, smoking, exercise or alcohol then I am not in my head thinking about life. The obsession allows me to escape. I don’t have to think about anything else. I’m addicted to addiction. If I stay sober long enough I will eventually become addicted to it as well. Just as I am an annoying reformed smoker, a workout Nazi, and a newly crazed yogi, I will try and be the world’s best recovering alcoholic. And this is why I am also a grateful member of al-anon. 🙂
I realize my behavior is not healthy. It is something I am working on. Before, if my kids made their beds I would just come behind and make them again. If my husband cleaned the kitchen I would come out and after a quick inspection, wipe it down once more. At Christmas time when I was making cookies with the kids, I didn’t allow them to do a whole lot more than watch in fear the cookies would be screwed up. I could cite a thousand more examples but you get the point. Um…excuse me bartender! I’ll have anxiety mixed with a splash of obsessive compulsive disorder and a twist of perfectionism on the rocks.
Last night at my Al-anon meeting the speaker was a “double winner”. She said something that made me think.
She said “I practice Al-anon. I never perfect it but I do practice it. Some days I am on and some days I’m not, but every day I wake up and I practice”.
I liked that. I keep looking around these meetings looking for the people that had mastered this stuff. I just want someone to tell me how to fix it. I want to overcome this and move on. I’m not scared of a little hard work. I’ve never backed down from a good fight. So when the people in these rooms tell me just don’t drink today, and keep coming back, it really irritates me. “What do you mean? I’ll never perfect this stuff”? No. I won’t. And although I may never have a perfect batting average, I have decided that every day I will show up ………..and I will practice!