Actions and Consequences

Happy New Year to all btw.

In the last few days I’ve been seriously reminded why I’m glad I don’t drink anymore and that I’m able to sustain my recovery in a manner where I feel safe.

Firstly I recently heard someone who had returned to AA after a good number of years out of it.  They had managed well over 10 years of sobriety, much of that outside of AA.  However, in December they decided to drink.  It doesn’t really matter what caused this but it was a collection of things happening that led to them facing a court case and the worry about that. The consequences of that worry were clearly a factor that led them to pick a drink up.  Guess what they found out?  In hours

  • they were buying more
  • back out of control
  • back to exactly where they were when they stop drinking all those years ago.

Luckily they have dusted themselves off, stopped drinking and come back to AA again.

Secondly another person who I’ve seen struggle to maintain any semblance of a long term sobriety for many years has found themselves arrested for drink driving, spent a night in the cells and up before the court in a few weeks.  Also social services are now involved as they had one of their children in the car with them when arrested.  Terrible situation and potential consequences are clearly very worrying for them.  Inevitably when I saw them they were smashed again as the only way they can cope with all that concern and emotional pain is to drink.

The second case shows how when someone who knows they cannot drink safely continue to drink, something goes wrong – badly wrong – and they still can’t stop drinking, if anything they are worse now than at any time I’ve seen them before.  The first who knows the sequence of events that led to their court case isn’t directly due to drink but … they had suffered considerable personal stress through bereavement prior to the events that did.  Then they pick a drink up – because?  They simply can’t cope.

Actions and consequences.

For me today I’m sober and I’m not contemplating drinking and I have a support network of friends in AA.  Why are they important to me?  They are people who understand alcoholism intimately, indeed intrinsically like me as well.  They don’t judge me when I state how I might feel about something, they don’t tell me that I have to do a or b or c they might suggest things or simply tell me how they have approached similar events themselves and their perception of how that approach was successful for them or not.  I’m left then to consider my actions in light of those suggestions and support and in line with the underlying tenants of the AA programmes about honesty, humility and care.

To nail it down – I am sober today and not facing court or in so much emotional pain that drink is the only viable option for me to continue surviving in the world because of a very simple mantra that I heard as soon as I entered AA and that I say to newcomers, returnees and oldtimers alike.


About furtheron

Music and guitar obsessive who is a recovering alcoholic to boot
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11 Responses to Actions and Consequences

  1. sherryd32148 says:

    So sad when so much time goes by and people have lost all their tools so that the only way to cope with the pain is to drink. Then we go 0-60 in a matter of minutes.

    And I love that mantra.


  2. Drinking is a way to not cope. It numbs it all out but leaves the problem there. The relief from drinking is a lie.

  3. If it weren’t for your vivid descriptions I wouldn’t know what it must be like. What a nightmare. Thank the Lord I’ve been spared that brand of agony. I hang on my little cross for a few things but nothing as serious as that. Thanks for the dose of perspective.

  4. daisyfae says:

    i do appreciate the insights into the ‘all or nothing’ aspect of alcoholism. a friend described it as being the need to drink all available alcohol – an open bottle was an empty bottle. Congratulations again on your continued sobriety. It can’t be easy to overcome that demon…

  5. We see this time and time again eh, Graham? We folks think we “got this” and then the whels fall off over and over again. I have yet to see anyone come back and say how good it was and that they had no issues. We always seem to get back to where we left off. Sad to hear about those blokes there. I have been there with the drinking and driving with son in car. Brutal where this illness will take us.

    Thanks for the reminder


  6. loobylooby says:

    It’s very interesting reading this blog. I happily get through a good 70/80 units a week and enjoy doing so.. I get the impression that not drinking, for an alcoholic, is a proof to themselves that they are in control of their lives, which is a first step that they can then use as a springboard from which to make the actual changes in their lives that they might have been hesitant to do. I don’t know — I really understand it all but your personal stories about it and those of others are always an intriguing insight into another side of life.

    • furtheron says:

      funny sometimes hearing others interpretations of recovery… or at least my recovery…
      Actually getting sober only happened when I was prepared to relinquish control. Me wanting to be in control and dictating everything was a major cause of the angst that led me to drink. I drank cos it wouldn’t fit my view of the masterplan ever. When I started to accept that to a large part most of the influences on me from outside I have very little control over that was a turning point (along with many others).
      The changes came for me as a result of that surrender oddly – I worry if I think I’m back in total control that road leds me to disappointment etc.
      You drink to have fun, be merry and enjoy others company etc. I don’t believe you wake in the morning hating the world, yourself, everyone around you, every situation presenting itself to you and have to figure out where you can start to drink in the day just to escape that cycle of fear and anger…

      Here’s a great quote from the book Alcoholics Anonymous that sums this difference up perfectly.

      “Chapter 11
      For most normal folks, drinking means convivi-
      ality, companionship and colorful imagination.
      It means release from care, boredom and worry. It is
      joyous intimacy with friends and a feeling that life is
      good. But not so with us in those last days of heavy
      drinking. The old pleasures were gone. They were
      but memories. Never could we recapture the great
      moments of the past. There was an insistent yearning
      to enjoy life as we once did and a heartbreaking obses-
      sion that some new miracle of control would enable us
      to do it. There was always one more attempt—and
      one more failure.
      The less people tolerated us, the more we withdrew
      from society, from life itself. As we became subjects
      of King Alcohol, shivering denizens of his mad realm,
      the chilling vapor that is loneliness settled down. It
      thickened, ever becoming blacker. Some of us sought
      out sordid places, hoping to find understanding com-
      panionship and approval. Momentarily we did—then
      would come oblivion and the awful awakening to face
      the hideous Four Horsemen—Terror, Bewilderment,
      Frustration, Despair. Unhappy drinkers who read this
      page will understand!”

  7. loobylooby says:

    Edit: “I DON’T really understand it all…”

  8. looby says:

    Well — thank you. I didn’t realise that it was precisely giving up to the feeling that things were not under your control that liberated you from drink. Curioser and curioser! But very glad that yuo’re clearly in a better way than before. Long may it continue.

    • furtheron says:

      One of the best slogans used in AA is “surrender to win”… almost everyone who hears that for the first time is baffled. But for me quickly it made sense. My drinking was this compulsion, this driver both physical and emotional (some would say spiritual) that required me to drink to feel safe in the world. Largely through numbing away all the fear, insecurity and over-sensitivity that I just struggled to deal with. Then once I’d accepted that was what the problem was – i.e. the drink was but a symptom of my inability to accept the world as it is and my place in it and learn to just cope with that bizarrely the problem started to go away and therefore the need to drink lessened. Not over night but over time and the profound change in how I adapt to the circumstances I find myself in in the world rather than trying to forlornly fight against it all meant I was a winner even though initially it felt like I’d capitulated.

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