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Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Why I love AA

Alcoholics Anonymous is something that has changed my life for the better. I hate to think what I would be without it. AA isn't just a program about giving up drinking, it's a program that teaches you how to manage your life and treat others. The main ethos of AA is to simply be a good person; don't be selfish, do the best you can each day, and be kind to yourself.

I am currently a bit over seven months sober, although I've been coming to AA since September 2016. I've had two relapses; not severe, just drunken melodrama. (I haven't smoked weed since February last year, which is great). I won't go into detail about relapsing but I think the main reason I wasn't someone who stopped drinking as soon as they entered AA - which many do - is because I wasn't quite ready to give up the booze yet.

When you're an active alcoholic, you're EXTREMELY attached to alcohol. You feel like you can't live without it, even though its killing you physically and emotionally. I was not a heavy drinker - a bottle of wine could get me pissed - but what I've learned is that it isn't about the amount, it's about the effect. Some people can drink a bottle of wine and be ok; I can drink a bottle of wine and end up in A&E.

Alcohol consumes your life and mindset. Even now at odd moments I'll find my mind flickering to it. On the first date with my current boyfriend we sat down in this restaurant and the first thing I said to him was 'are you going to get wine?' because there was a drinks menu right in front of me. He looked a little bewildered. Most people don't think about alcohol the way an alcoholic does. To them, it's just there, like coke or lemonade. But to me, I notice things. I can be sitting with someone who is sipping their wine and think 'my god, why the fuck are you drinking so slowly, chug it down!' The irony is I'm a pretty slow eater and drinker, when I'm not drinking alcohol. If its alcohol I wolf it down because I'm drinking to get drunk, not to 'taste' it.

But as mentioned above, AA is not just about giving up drinking. There are so many little sayings; 'do the next right and loving thing', 'keep to your side of the street', 'good orderly direction.' For me, if I were to define AA, I would say it's simply a way for us all to be polite to one another. For a long time I struggled with the 'God' element of it, until I realised that 'God' is just a word and as an atheist I can define that which is greater than me as whatever. Simply a higher force that I don't personify or think much about; just a greater sense of being in this universe.

The world does not revolve around me, or you, or anyone. At the same time, you are not useless or worthless and unloved. AA is about getting 'right-sized emotions.' Most people with addictive personalities or whatever brain wiring I have tend to exaggerate a lot and blow things out of proportion. I have a blog post written back in December titled 'will I end up alone'? Cringe; talk about a drama queen!

But it's funny though, because for someone like me, things do tend to be extremely over-the-top. Look at how many blog posts I have about Game of Thrones. My blogging content has severely decreased from what it was last year - that's also because I have another blog as well; a music blog, and have been investing time into other things mainly regarding my music and writing. Also, whereby back in August last year I constantly had topic ideas, those ideas have sort of died down now (hence why there is a lot of overlap within topics on this blog and I have them neatly laid out in different categories on top.)

Yes, it is exhausting having the brain of a super charged addict. But that is why AA is so wonderful; it doesn't take away your creativity, it just allows you to channel it healthily. There's a big difference
between loving something and obsessing over something. When you love a person, you care for them deeply and have a mutual respect for them, but you don't feel a desperate urge to spend every waking moment with them and feel like you'll kill yourself if they disappear. That is infatuation/obsession, and it's very unhealthy. The same can be applied to anything - food, alcohol, TV shows, gambling. Loving and enjoying something is great, but when you over-indulge in it due to a whirlwind of desperation there may be an issue there.

So it is great not having alcohol in my life. I have had a few friends outside AA from time-to-time who ask if I'll ever drink again. I hope not, because it does nothing for me but make me sluggish and miserable and sick long-term. However, AA is all about keeping things in the day, rather than worrying too much in the future. So just for today, I am content and sober. Let tomorrow take care of itself.

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