What’s Your Struggle?

How do you feel about being an addict, co-dependent or having cancer?

I’ve been asking this question and my favorite answer so far is below. Even though this dear friend is a cancer survivor, she faced some of the same issues I face as an addict. For one, I will never be cured of alcoholism.

As she faced the obvious fact that she wasn’t in control of her cancer, she responded just like I responded to finding out I’m an addict–full speed ahead!

So I sped into action, and really have never stopped recognizing and confronting the battle within. Living with cancer (even in remission, remission–not cure) is like living with a time bomb inside. I do not think of the condition daily, but it is always with me. ~Trudy

When the women from my first AA meeting shared their stories and I discovered so many common threads to my story, I was flummoxed. I really had thought they would give me a pat on the back and say that I was only overdoing the alcohol and that I should practice moderation. I expected them to tell me how to do that and assure me that I’d be fine. Instead, I left the pizza place knowing that I was an alcoholic. How did that happen to me, someone with the nickname in college of Goody-Two-Shoes? Now I had to face it. I was one of those people who are addicted to alcohol.

Again, my friend says it better than I.

I was never depressed about it, just incredulous, as in the universal “why”. I no longer felt special. I think all people feel special in some way. I now was among the general population, not separate from it. I know this sounds self-serving, but it is kinda like seeing yourself as immortal, somehow you are different, apart, these things just don’t happen to you. How silly! ~ Trudy

What was happening to me, unlike what was happening to Trudy, was that I was drinking myself to death. I was causing my own problems. Nonetheless, I couldn’t stop doing it. I couldn’t just quit. When I left the women and their pizza, I had 5 phone numbers from 5 professional women who were all willing to take a call from me at any hour day or night. That was a lifeline for me. Even more importantly, the numbers were written on a schedule of the 117 District 8 meetings.

This was to be the beginning of many friendships I have formed within the protective walls of AA. I’m grateful now to be an alcoholic. I’m blessed by the people I’ve met both in the rooms and online. My life is better because I admitted I wasn’t special. Right T?

I also ponder the possibility of this being a gift with no ribbons, giving me a value lesson in life and faith. Maybe I needed a little leveling? If this is the case, then I got off pretty easy, and I am again very grateful. ~ Trudy

Gratitude is not something I often observe in people. It’s a common bond among the people around the tables in recovery. We’ve been there and back and we’re thankful. That’s why I work Step 12 through GoodLife.

Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. ~ Alcoholics Anonymous, 2012, p 60.