My slightly strange week is finally merging into the weekend and I’m really glad it’s Friday. It’s quite ironic, perhaps even foolish and a little crazy, that whilst I’m in what can only be regarded as early-ish recovery, I’m trying to be the support for someone else. Although, to be fair, this is actually one of the cornerstones of any 12-step program – by helping others we help ourselves. My ex-sponsor Sparks used to say that when she helps others it gets her out of her own head.
Either way, as long as what we do is positive, I think it’s a win whether we do it for us or someone else. And recovery is a bit like childbirth as far as I’m concerned in that there are a million opinions on how to do it. Unsurprisingly, my views on both are fairly similar: do what works for you, the method doesn’t matter in the slightest, whatever gets you there is PERFECT. Some people get sober through God and some women deliver their own babies in a meadow surrounded by deer and butterflies and nothing but a blissful sigh escapes their lips when baby is crowning. Good. And then there are whose who have to relapse a thousand times and find another way and mothers who scream like banshees from the first contraction (ahem) and need all the drugs they can get to squeeze their bundles out. Good also. And they’re all heroes.
It would seem that helping others does do something good for us. Now, in my case at this present time, it’s not a fellow alcoholic I’m trying to support but a depressive. Her predicament shouldn’t actually in any way be a vehicle for my own recovery as this strikes me as really selfish and indulgent, but just over this past week it’s been enormously enlightening for me to actually see for myself how much better I am when I’m sober. It’s like with anything, no? Even if we do it all for someone else entirely, there is just no escaping how it makes us grow as human beings when we’ve done a good deed. It feels good! Just like it fills us with love to see someone we care about unwrap a gift we got for them. Mother Nature’s clever way of signalling see how good that feels! Do more of that! Alcohol goes against all those things that Mother Nature has equipped us with, but even when booze gets us properly ill we still persist. It’s completely bonkers but I am absolutely of the opinion that when it comes to alcohol we are brainwashed from the day we’re born when people celebrate by “wetting the baby’s head”.
Again, my friend’s situation shouldn’t be used to better ME, but it seems to be something of a positive side effect. It happens by default and I may as well recognise it. Learning more about depression and trying to understand what she’s going through is forcing me to really slam on the brakes and go at that weird speed I’ve never been good at: cruising. Not even cruising, it’s at that crawl you get when you take your foot off the brake. 10 miles per hour at most. Then a stand still. Reverse a million miles and be stuck back there again. Then the crawl. It goes against all my instincts and I am quite literally biting my tongue when all my head is doing is sprouting solutions and suggestions and do this, do that, try this thing, have a go at that. Not only does it force me to slow the hell down, it also requires me to listen and it demands that I accept that Kitten has to ride this out her own way. My ONLY job is to be her friend and love her. End of story. Drunk Me wouldn’t even have made it through the opening credits of that one, I can tell you that.
As for my own recovery, fine flying conditions continue and it’s all quite cosy and comfortable on the Pink Cloud. I’m learning more and more about addiction and recovery, and alcohol’s real role in my life. Sometimes it makes my eyes narrow as a thought doesn’t quite fit, other times they’re wide open and my chin is on the floor. It’s definitely a journey – I can totally see why recovery is often referred to in that way.
Today I’m not going to drink.