Woke to an icy brilliant morning in the mountains and the smell of homebaked bread rising in the oven. Una has put out her back, so I don’t know if we will be going for a walk.
Sat up in bed sleepily with my scored and annotated copy of the BB and read carefully through some of the pages in the chapter headed More about Alcoholism. The other night, a new phone and cyber friend RB, made a comment about being ‘ a real alcoholic’ and I found the phrase repugnant, so supposed I must have missed something. It reminded me of the ‘real reborn’ phenomenon, or being so bad you knew it was for real.
The chapter was scary but not as a drunkalogue. The anecdotal analogy given in that slightly quaint 1940s American Mid-West tone is of a character who keeps jaywalking and being hit by fast-moving vehicles. He knows it is crazy and high-risk behaviour but keeps doing it. Keeps promising he won’t . Fully intends to keep his promises. Fractured skull, broken back, hospitals, surgery — but all to no avail. He keeps going out and geting knocked down. One little jay-walk can’t hurt him. The odds on the horrendous consequences just don’t seem to penetrate.
It is such an quaint analogy but behind it lies the simple and uncomfortable reality I need to accept anew every day. Self-knowledge and willpower are no use when it comes to not picking up that first drink.
I’m leading a charmed life right now, surrounded by daily prayer, supportive new AA friends, a loving partner, routines that hold me in place. I’m trying to work the Steps. But one of these days I’ll find myself in an airport wondering if I should have a quick G&T. I’ll be offered a drink when I’m hungry, angry, lonely or tired. I’ll want to drink because I am frustrated with somebody, or in physical pain, or in sudden grief. Or just because it is there, and I am an alcoholic and have found reasons to drink to excess for most of my adult life. If I haven’t fully surrendered to some kind of HP or GOMU (I love that acronym, see a small wrinkled wise woman drying herbs in the Kalahari and peering up at me shrewdly), then my spiritual emptiness and pride will leave me vulnerable to not just one drink but a living hell.