I do. I have the choice.
I would say this: AA wants you to believe that you don’t have a choice; I contend that you do. It’s just HARDER to not drink/be sober if you allow yourself that choice, daily. It forces you to confront your reasons (well, rationale) for thinking about drinking; why you “want” to drink; and then, allows you, if you’ve practiced bringing it to the forefront and not burying it under the guise of disease, to once again see for yourself that you don’t really want to drink…
you want to escape.
That’s it. You want to escape in order to feel better. You’re not out for cocktails with the girls, you’re out for blood. (Well, I never really even WANT to drink unless I’m feeling sad, depressed, anxious, or like my existential crises are making my head feel like it’s going to cave in. But, that’s just me, and that’s just me NOW. Back in the day, I remember going out, I just don’t remember drinking beer while out or even caring that I was drinking beer. That’s why they call it a progressive disorder–it progresses, and it changes the way your brain works.)
The problem is, drinking gets you drunk, and then hung over; nothing changes. These days, I keep having to remind myself: the side effect of drinking (too much) is getting drunky drunk–I don’t want that.
I like having the choice to drink. It makes it harder, for sure. I wouldn’t recommend it. But for me, burying the urge–shutting it down, turning it off–is like being a “dry drunk.” Relying on a “higher power” is also externalizing it–someone somewhere will do the mental work for you, is how I see it (for now, anyway). That’s not how it works, at least for me. By allowing myself the choice, it’s like I’m working my “sober mind” muscle out every day, as it really needs to be. I’m present, and while it’s not enjoyable, I come full circle instead of taking the detour. And I’m stronger in the face of tomorrow’s craving. (Unlike some people, I haven’t lost my desire to get buzzed; I don’t have the obsession to drink anymore, though.)
I think that I’m much more apt to call substance abuse a “disorder.” Alcohol use disorder. And, while it might be the case that you “broke” your brain when it comes to booze, disorder implies the ability to rewire; disease implies frayed or short-circuited beyond any further use.
I’m in a “terse” mood tonight, whatever that means! I’ve been working, and walking the dogs, and getting through my runs (with shooting pains all over my legs and a lower back that feels like two hot knives are stuck in it most of the time!), and well, living. Life. My latest editorial project was on quantum physics, and it took me back to my college days, a time that seemed so…fecund. Full of magical unknowns. A time when reading about that kind of stuff could excite me beyond anything I had or even knew I wanted. Now? Well…I’m not sure where wine fits into this tangent, but I remember using wine to put me back in that state of mind–excitement for the magical unknowns out there, waiting for me. I guess, to escape being cynical, knowing too much. I have to work at cultivating this level of excitement almost constantly. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to stop using wine, too: I expect so much, and when I don’t get it, I feel anxious, unnerved, sad, restless. I can’t always be “high on life.” I have to sleep. Some days will be crummy, or boring, or tedious. This, I do not like. I don’t want to accept it! And you know what, I probably NEVER WILL. 😉
Anyway, happy sober days, friends! 16 weeks and counting…