There are no shortcuts here – either I put ALL my faith in something I’m told works, or I tell myself I know better and we all know how that turned out any time I’ve “known better” in the past. So there is just one simple and to the point question, really: do I want to hurtle towards my untimely demise and destroy those who love me in the process or do I want to be the best I can possibly be and as a result allow that to make ripples that’ll reach my loved ones and in turn make their lives better too? You have to be a drunk to understand why that’s even worth thinking over, just trust me on that one.
Because I promised I’d be honest on this blog except for using real names or any other irrelevant details (because those details ARE irrelevant – this blog wouldn’t be more authentic if I put real names, my date of birth or address on here) that could lead to someone getting hurt or upset, I’ll stay true to that promise and tell you that I’m not at all sure I can do this. In fact, I don’t actually believe I’ll never drink again. What I do believe though, is that I’m willing to go to any length to achieve sobriety and that includes putting my faith in a Higher Power. Oh I know, I know, here we go again with the God speak! And do you know what, I can’t define my Higher Power – partly because I’m on the fence with the whole God and religion thing – but at this moment in time I am willing to do anything it takes to stay sober and so if that means kneeling on the floor just now and pray for a sober day then you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll fucking do it. Frankly, I would have felt less silly if I’d run around the house naked as a sacrifice to the gods but there we are – ready and willing.
Perhaps it makes perfect sense given I’m a drunkard but I don’t do things by half measures, and I saw no reason why sobriety should be any different. Maybe it’s the first time it’ll be glorious to plunge in head first, to throw my excessive, fast and furious nature and everything I am in such a positive direction? Seems a damn sight more productive than drinking wine like I’m trying to break some kind of world record. So, in what I suppose was a moment of impulse I texted a lady in the fellowship (who’d raised her hand in a meeting to show she was willing to be a sponsor – v. v. handy to know who to collar when you’re ready) and asked if she’d be my sponsor. We grabbed a coffee after last night’s meeting so she could talk me through it as I don’t have a fucking clue what I’m doing except that I’m up for anything that’ll help me to not pick up that drink.
A sponsor isn’t a teacher or the drink police, it’s a fellow alcoholic who is giving you the gift they themselves were given – I’m learning that this is a, if not THE, cornerstone of AA, to pay it forward. A sponsor will guide and be on hand, give of their time with nothing in return, to help you do the 12 steps. Something like that. What a sponsor isn’t, is responsible for your recovery or your actions. So she – let’s call her Sparks because that sort of suits her – is now, it would seem, my sponsor. Despite diving in so quickly and wanting to so much, my Drunky Drunkyson brain is filling me with doubt and I’m doing my best to fight back with all my might. And if that means feeling like a fucking twat and kneeling on the floor AT WORK (I forgot this morning that this was what I was meant to do so instead of in my bedroom it had to be the office) and pray, then watch me go damn it. Part of me thought “fuckinell if anyone sees me I’ll die of embarrassment” but then I thought “fuck it, at least they’ll have something to talk about“. To be fair, if this is something that’ll mean I’ll have a full and rich life as opposed to destroying myself with booze then I don’t give a flying fuck if someone raises an eyebrow.
So, my little alkie brain, you can just shut the fuck up because call me crazy but I don’t much fancy the idea of drinking myself to death any more than I fancy the idea of the life I’d have leading up to it – a life of shame, guilt, embarrassment, non-achieving, disappointment, unfulfilled dreams and broken promises. Thanks but no thanks.
With the praying, I don’t think it’s that Sparks is trying to get me all hallelujah, I guess it’s more to solidify that this is something bigger than we are and to symbolise it by kneeling to pray to a Higher Power. How I then choose to define or think of that Higher Power is up to me. At this point, even though I do believe in SOMETHING (I just don’t know what!), I think my Higher Power as of now is finding my way in to the rooms and experiencing the kindness and love that fill them. That’s plenty, no?
Sparks, I suspect, will be a tough task master, but at this point I am ever so small and I will trust in her and in this. I’ve proven plenty of times I am powerless so if Sparks can stand there and tell me she’s been sober (and happily so) for years and can show me how to do the same, do you know what – yes, please. If I have to pray, no problem. If I have to share in meetings, no problem. If I have to pull a moonie on national television, sure thing, plus I have a nice arse so that’s OK. Bottom (hahr, hahr) line though, is that I’m ready. I’m not feeling super confident and I don’t trust in my ability quite yet, but when Sparks tells me here is a way, I listen. Martin Luther King said something about not having to see the whole stairs but focus on and believe you can take the first step. So I will just place my trust in this Higher Power – whatever it is – because I want to be free. I have bought the notebook and inside the cover I’ve sellotaped the little list of suggestions from Sparks of things to do every day. I don’t like all of those suggestions, partly because there’s one in particular I don’t much like the idea of doing, but I know this to be true: this program works if you work it.
So that’s what I’ll do. I’ll pray even if I feel stupid. I’ll make a phone call even if I feel fucking daft and have nothing to say. I’ll share even if I’m so terrified I can’t get the words out. Stupid, daft and terrified still seems miles better than a liver transplant.
What I also feel I should point out in case I’m coming off all glib and blasé about this, like I’m just going through the motions to tick the boxes in order for Sparks to be pleased with me and give me a gold star. Not the case. Yes, I felt like a right twat praying but I put my all into feeling the words (because as stupid as I felt, I mean those words) and even though I didn’t need to kneel or clasp my hands in order to want a sober day, it reinforces what I am doing and so therefore it’s useful.