All I have is a daily reprieve. So frightfully easy to forget. Part of my disease of alcoholism is forgetting I am an alcoholic. Crazy but true. Even if I allow myself to forget for a fleeting moment, it very well could start the wheels into motion towards a downhill spiral of false despair and morbid reflection – which in return leads me to feeling thirsty once more.
I do not have the luxury of entertaining such dark and wrongful thoughts. I must not allow negativity to visit because my colorful alcoholic brain can not so easily bounce back from it. I’ve been sober long enough to know how to bring this kind of thinking to a complete stop. Just like I was taught in drivers ed when I was 15, I must remember to not slam on the brakes. I must gently touch the brake pedal so I slow down and don’t send the car into a tail spin. Gently touch the brakes and then let up a bit. When I find myself needing to hit the brakes on my negativity, first, I need to remember to be gentle. Bring myself to a safe and gentle stop. Look both ways, check behind me, and then proceed with caution. Interesting how we all know this, but it is so easy to forget. Call it an old tape. Call it survival instincts. But it is so incredibly easy to slam on the brakes to my old thinking – when really all I need is to give my old thoughts and ideas a gentle tap. My old survival skills and instincts did help me live life for a long time. But as one day at a time without a drink now brings me into a few years without a drink, my life is much more simple now. Drama free. So a gentle slow down is sufficient.
I am honored with the privilege of learning just who I am. I am an alcoholic. Who do I want to be? Myself. My best self. My authentic self. Ok – so I can’t handle my alcohol – big deal. But if I do not keep on striving to be my best self every day – if I do not keep on working to replace my old ideas with new ideas – then yes – it will become a very big deal. My efforts would be lost like a comet through the black evening sky if I forget that all I have is a daily reprieve. I want and deserve much more than just the absence of alcohol in my day-to-day life. While I don’t drink one day at I time, I get to embellish on just who I am and just what my passions are. I get to continue to be a good mom even though my son is now a grown man. I get to continue to be a good daughter. I get to keep on writing my book. When I leave my home, I get to be patient with others who just might be struggling. I get to be happy for others when they have good fortune. And I get to live a life that I can be proud of. One day at a time.
Just like a forest fire can start with a careless spark of a match, drunkenness can start with a careless thought entering my alcoholic mind. I will remember who I am. I will remember that when I am physically weak and ill I can have strong healthy thoughts. I will remember I can make a positive difference in any hour by giving myself a gentle tap on my own brakes.
I remember that I have everything I need for today – and for that I am a grateful alcoholic.