Anniversary of Sorts

Posted by Censor Librorum on Oct 11, 2007 | Categories: Lesbian in a Catholic Sort of Way

An anniversary came and passed for me without much fanfare earlier this month, October 3, I think. The anniversary is 26 years off drinking. I am an alcoholic, and don’t refer to myself as a “recovering alcoholic.” I have never recovered and never will. That much, I have accepted.

What I am is a non-drinking alcoholic. My addiction is a frozen moment in time. I’m as much of an alcoholic as I was at 29, the day I gave it up.

I went through such physical and emotional agony in my first six months off that I promised myself to put my shotgun in my mouth if I ever had another drink. That kept me off – it was quit or stop living. I wanted to live more than I wanted to drink. I have very high pain tolerance, but I don’t know if I could ever face that level of pain again.

I never went to AA. Althought I’ve thought about it, I really have no interest in participating. I didn’t want a sponsor or support group. I didn’t want to hang around with a bunch of people where alcohol and drinking is so present in their life. I wanted alcohol to stop being important; I wanted it out of my consciousness on a daily basis.

This meant sweating it out on my own, because the person standing between me and a drink is me–no one else. I was not interested in “turning it over to a higher power” or pretending to do so for the sake of some group. I don’t want to adhere to someone else’s design for living–I’m too independent. I have a tough kernel at my core and I’m a survivor. I discovered my true nature and strength in the Alaskan wilderness, and that knowledge got me through.

I still miss it. I miss a cold beer in summer. I miss wine with dinner, especially my favorite, a ruby Chateauneuf-du-Pape. I miss sipping a brandy by the fire. Sometimes, I miss getting high. I had a lot of good times drinking, and I don’t regret them.

However, in the last several years I have become aware that this iron self-control has calcified my spiritual life, and in order to grow I need to change. As a starter, I signed up for a course on the book, “Abandonment to Divine Providence.” It was written by a Jesuit priest, Jean-Pierre de Caussade, sometime around 1710. Although the language is stilted his ideas are quite clear. The book focuses on the necessity of personal surrender – something I think would be impossible for me ever to do.

Can I grow in faith by acceptance of all that happens to me; discernment of God’s will for my life, and, most importantly, understanding the meaning of “the sacrament of the present moment.”

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One Response to “Anniversary of Sorts”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Thanks for sharing your story–A.C.

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