July 16, 2014

How Comparing-Out Kept Me From Getting Sober

For years before I finally stopped drinking, I was in a huge amount of denial about my alcoholism. I sort of felt that something was not quite right and maybe I drank a bit too much, but really I wasn't that bad! I started attending some AA 12-step meetings to see if I could convince myself that I definitely was not an alcoholic - funny right!? So, I was constantly comparing-out when I heard others sharing their stories. Even though I had a pretty low bottom, that included few stays in detox, rehab and jail, I always found someone else that was way worse off than me. 

"Well, I didn't do that! My life was not in complete shambles like theirs, and I didn't drink as much as they did!"

But strangely enough, or maybe, quite expectantly, my drinking was getting out of control and life was becoming unmanageable! Yes, I still could not identify that the alcohol was the cause of all my problems, HECK NO! It was always the shifty job, the crazy boyfriend, or just plain bad luck!

Through this entire time, for some reason, I kept going to meetings. I think I felt safe there. People were so kind and caring, they seemed to know what I was thinking and how I was feeling. How did they know? - I wondered, they barely know me!

Then, one day after a meeting, I talked to a really nice young lady, I told her how I just don't fit in here, and I can't relate to the stories, and I don't think that my life was that bad either! She said that I needed to listen to how people felt, and interrelated to their feelings as related to alcohol. We all maybe from different backgrounds, different ages, different life styles and we may have had different levels of drinking bottoms, but we all have felt alone, out of control, lost, and sad. These feeling we all have in common!

And there it was, it finally dawned on me that it wasn't so much about the things that happened to me because of my drinking, but it was the same, exact feelings that drinking brought up in me. I felt alone, worthless and empty. I had nothing to live for and I was stuck in the viscous cycle of alcoholism. When I started to identify with how others were feeling, I realized that I often felt the exact same way! Then it all started to make sense, and I was able to see how my drinking had made my life unmanageable.

Those same feelings I heard described then, and still do now, have become our common bond, even though we don't know each other and we live miles and miles away from each other. And here in the blog world we all struggle with the same issues and feelings, and yes, we are all so very different! But sharing our stories helps us to know that we are not alone in our journeys. We can always find others who are going through the same feelings, and we can learn from each other how to get through the thought times.  

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