“Anything forced into manifestation through personal will is always ‘ill got’ and has ‘ever bad success.’ Intuition is a spiritual faculty, it does not explain, but simply points the way.”
Florence Scovall Shinn
I was at the top of a long list of select individuals who continually excelled at making mistakes and poor choices—a certifiable imbecile—oh, yes, I never learned or profited from past experience, much less knowingly acknowledge the insanity of my existence.
I am not an ignorant person, really, but somehow my intelligence disappeared entirely, trying to overcome every obstacle that stood between me and my next drink. I lost the natural instinct of self-preservation—the first principle of sanity—the will to survive. Surely, I was mentally ill…my symptoms began by taking that first drink which always led to another, then another, and still another… This led inevitably to unpredictable behavior, deep-seated resentments, drinking for spite, lack of responsibility, the inability to deal with reality and definitely emotional instability.
I was a prisoner, obsessing and craving alcohol at any cost, it was all powerful. I began to question my sanity, deep down I knew there was a problem. I couldn’t overcome my need to drink by force of will or reason. I had tried many, many times. Why could I not stop consuming alcohol?
I considered myself a ‘problem drinker, because I was loathe to the thought and couldn’t abide the idea that I was an alcoholic. “They are abetted in this blindness by a world which does not understand the difference between sane drinking and alcoholism. ‘Sanity’ is defined as ‘soundness of mind.’ Yet, no alcoholic, soberly analyzing his destructive behavior, whether the destruction fell on the dining room furniture or his own moral fiber, can claim ‘soundness of mind’ for himself… True humility and an open-mind can lead us to faith…” Twelve and Twelve, page 33.
But faith takes practice…
With the realization that I had alienated everyone and anything important in my life, I found myself not only insane, but alone. From that insane and lonely vantage and with true desperation, having nowhere else to turn, this ‘drama queen’ lay down on the floor of her dingy little room and finally and sincerely asked God to help her. The anguish for my failings, the anguish for my losses, the anguish over my attempts to succeed consumed me, fear overwhelmed me, the ‘I’ had been defeated and I surrendered. There was nothing left.
Finally, finally accepting my powerlessness, I stared at the Second Step of this journey. It dawned on me that this step was about possibility, about hope. Dare I hope, dare I risk trying… Coming to believe that God could restore my sanity helped me just enough to open the door that night; and that, perhaps, perhaps, I could be helped. I didn’t believe it would happen back then, just that it could. Restore sanity, generate happiness, repair damaged relationships, make me a useful and purposeful member of society…but I digress! Those things came later, gradually, as a result of the remainder of the steps!
This little ray of hope, the possibility, guided me in the direction of relying on something greater than me. The beginning of a journey which led me to develop a faith and trust in a Power Greater than me, who I believed existed, but did not know. The beginning of a gradual process, an awareness of His presence. No, there was no burst of lightening from the sky, no burning bush, or parting of the sea…imperceptible really, but increasing, broadening, flourishing—a cognizance of a force, a drive, and energy that gave me the means to rebuild and reshape my life…restore me to ‘sanity.’ “God makes that possible… Many of us had moral and philosophical convictions galore, but we could not live up to them even though we would have liked to… We had to have God’s help… More and more we became interested in seeing what we could contribute to life. As we felt new power flow in, as we enjoyed peace of mind, as we discovered we could face life successfully, as we became conscious of his presence, we began to lose our fear of today, tomorrow and the hereafter.” Big Book, pages 62 and 63.
I had an important part in this possibility of recovery, the hope, the healing…I had to make a decision… “We were now at Step Three.”
“Decision is a risk rooted in the courage of being free.”