I am sober. I am not an alcoholic, but I am sober. Ask me how I know I am not an alcoholic? Because I tested myself over and over. Nope, not an alcoholic. I am, however, addicted to people. I tried really hard to be an alcoholic. I had the full support of my family and friends in attempting to become an alcoholic. Getting drunk was what we did. And the quicker I could get to drunk, the better. I felt the same way about alcohol as I did about cigarettes…it was a means to an end. I hated the taste, but enjoyed the feeling. I just didn’t enjoy it enough, or maybe I enjoyed it just enough. I know I didn’t like the feeling of being out of control. At all.
And so, try as I might, being a raging drunk was just not in the cards for me. I then turned my focus to the real raging drunks in my life (emphasis on raging). Now there I found an addiction I could be comfortable with. A person who needed saving, who was suffering, who I could “help”. And I just knew that once I “helped” them, then they would love me and I would experience the high I was looking for. And just like a drug, after that first attempt at saving another human being, I was hooked.
Oh, I was no Mother Teresa. I wasn’t attempting to save the drunks in my life out of some selfless idea of love or spiritual message from The Almighty. No, I wanted to control and manipulate. Doesn’t sound like love does it? Similar to a drug addict who thinks they can control their use, I thought I could control the addicts in my life. Funny thing about addicts, they were totally willing to enable me in my addiction to them. They hopped right on my bandwagon and played along with my fantasy of control. “Oh yes, you CAN save me. I WILL love you. As long as you do exactly what I tell you to, how and when I tell you to do it. Then you will be safe and loved.” Who was trying to control whom? That is two sick people lying and manipulating to get what they think they need all the while getting nothing that they truly want.
I am not unique. This addiction isn’t something that has just afflicted me. There are millions of us. We have our own special club. There are millions more of us who have no idea what their “issue” really is. They are still believing that if only everyone else in their life would just stop messing up, screwing around, grow up or stop using, then they would be fine. After all, it’s not us, it’s them. I remember so well being unwilling, unable to look at MY part in the insanity. How convenient that I was attached to a drug addict, then I didn’t have to look at myself and the messes I was making. My dysfunction couldn’t hold a candle to a real drug addict!! That left me free to try to control and manipulate behind the scenes and look like the long suffering saint to anyone looking in at us. *Sigh*
I am grateful for the addicts in my life. I am grateful my life became so unbearable that I had to stop, quit cold turkey. Gratitude is now my way of life. I remember my bottom and how damn hard it was. I am grateful that I can remember it. Spiritual awakenings, miracles, higher powers and group conscious have all conspired to transform my perspective. Control is an illusion. Illusions are fun for a minute, but trying to live in an illusion can really send someone over the edge. Humble was a dirty word to me for years. Ego, pride and knowing what was best for others was the way I had lived my life. And all that did was eventually bring me to my knees.
When I was 17, I moved half way across the country with a friend. I met the most incredible group of people. I knew then that I would be taken care of no matter where I went in life. That is a wonderful revelation to have at such a young age. I also learned that letting go is sometimes the most loving thing we can do. And one of the greatest bits of wisdom I ever came across was out of the mouth of my 17 year old friend. She told me that if I kept hanging onto “stuff” and not dealing with it then I would definitely have a nervous breakdown by the time I was 40. I have had a couple of nervous breakdowns and I am still a few years off from 40. But she was right. Breaking down is the only way to deal with running into a brick wall repeatedly.
Today, when another drop of the dramacoster is approaching, all I can do is take the necessary precautions and then stand against the rush with my head held high. I may need to apologize, make amends. I may need to do it differently from here on out. But I do not need to scream, yell, lie, play the victim or try to organize others to do what I say. I can just do the best I can with what I have and be peaceful in that fact. When I know better I do better. I am far from perfect, I don’t even think about perfect anymore. I just try to be human. Messier but at least I have good company!