Thursday, 19 March 2015

My Name Is Jeremy And I Am What I Am

It took me a long time to admit that I was an alcoholic. The theory behind it was pretty sound. I drank too much, I made an asshole out of myself, burned a few bridges, passed out, woke up and started the whole sick cycle carousel all over again. This isn't anything strange if you have seen it and you aren't so codependent that you could justify it. No the “long time” aspect of the disease in general was due to the fact that I never had really finished myself off properly, and had to keep destroying my life, to finally get to where I needed to be.

Unfortunately where I need to be was 19 years old, living in a strange city and starting a new job that was beneath me or anyone else that wasn't at rock bottom. The hopelessness had to sink in and then I had to accept that I needed to fix me for nobody other than me. That sounds easy enough to most people, but there is where the problem of alcoholism lies, because we tend to not be most people, so the solutions to our problems as simple as they would appear to someone else is pretty damn difficult to us.

When you finally do get in tune with whatever form of self improvement you are working on, then you have to deal with your social inadequacies, or just add them to the list of excuses that you use to stay damaged. In my case I had to come to grips with the fact that everyone has feelings and emotions and just because I was an alcoholic didn't mean I cornered the market on them. I also had to realize that the way I dealt with feelings and emotions was completely and utterly self destructive. This made for a much greater set of problems that it took me many years to come to grips with. I liked to believe that I was the last person in line, while at the same time understanding that I thought I was the center of the universe.

This is where the humility came into it all for me. That “power greater than myself” whether I chose to call it God or anything else, wasn't just something to pull out of your bag of tricks when you needed someone or something to blame for why I was so screwed up. I was so screwed up because I used my free will to do things that were stupid. Pretty simple when you think about it, but to someone who considers themselves the center of the universe and placed no value on anything greater than them, it was a complicated issue, that required the humility to accept that I ain't all that.

This was where I finally had the chance to make something out of myself. Actually it was my first and perhaps last opportunity to make anything out of myself aside from a falling down, stinking, filthy drunk. In theory I was already pretty good at that, and again I hadn't even made it to a legal drinking age yet. Beyond the obvious my biggest issue was that there was never going to be enough alcohol to fix what I wanted to fix inside myself, and I was never going to stop trying to get there anyway. This was where I had to turn to God, because on the off chance that there isn't a God (which to me really isn't up for a debate) I did in the end realize that God helped me to stop drinking, and start on a path to a better life.

How could I come to this conclusion, in all of the haze that was the first few years of freedom from alcohol? The answer is pretty simple. God was the only entity that I asked for help, and actually did help me. In that aspect I don’t have to know that there is a God, or there isn't a God. The faith that I was able to be a better person, and grow both mentally and spiritually has very little to do with all of the “life” crap that has happened between now and then. I can have a bad day or a good day. I can wake up angry, sad, happy, confused, disheartened, furious, joyous or one of over a million ways, and that is only the beginning of the new day. It rarely ever ends the same way it started and I would have it no other way. Of course I wouldn't know any other way at this point, and for that I truly thank God.


Cathy McElhaney said...

Great post Jeremy! I think that what people don't understand is that addiction is a disease of the brain and left untreated, it can have devastating effects, as you have seen, felt and lived. Having grown up with a sister that was addicted to things I never knew you could be addicted to, I kind of got that, but it wasn't until my other Jeremy became an addict that I did research on it and found that the first drink/puff/snort/needle might be a choice, but at that point it's like a switch is flipped in the brain and the choice is no longer yours. RECOVERY is a choice you can and must make. ADDICTION is not. I am not making excuses for my addicts, just stating facts. Once an addict/alcoholic gets treatment for the addiction, healing can take place. I have noticed many who think that once through the withdrawals and being clean for a few days/weeks/months, their loved ones should be clear thinking and 'healed' and any relapse is because they choose to do it. I like to explain it like this: If you add temperatures below freezing to water, it becomes ice. Once you remove the source (cold temps) the ice starts to melt. It doesn't turn back to water immediately because the chemical changes take time to chemically change!
Congratulations on choosing recovery!

Unknown said...

Thanks for sharing, Jeremy!
May I ask which "God" you believe in?

sapphoq said...

Thanks so much for this one Jeremy. I keep on telling people what I've learned the hard way-- being in recovery ought not be an excuse for not participating in life. Anything worth having is worth working for.

I celebrate you for being you and you sound on the up and up.