I’ve been resenting my inability to drink like a gentleman. There’s never going to be a time when I can consume alcohol safely. The residual emotions are lingering and I feel like they’re seeping out of the cracks. Weakened fault lines causing subconscious quakes, shuddering my sense of confidence, self worth and identity. Hemingway said the light gets in through the cracks, but I feel like I’m hemorrhaging spiritual energy too rapidly for it to be replaced by the light. Erupting currents of emotional magma unyielding and overwhelming, cool in the external to form a barrier that cannot protect me from the internal conflict that rages.

My problem isn’t alcohol anymore. It feels strange saying it, however in reality the obsession has left me and provided I don’t take the first drink, the phenomenon of cravings won’t happen. Under these conditions I have experienced a range of emotions. We are told that resentment is the number one offender. I massively resented those whom could consume alcoholic beverages sensibly. I realise now, that for me specifically, alcohol is nicely packaged poison. Prior to this realisation oh how I envied the occupants of bars and anybody mentioning a night out they were looking forward to or a social event where they would be drinking their favourite tipple. Why me? Why did I have to have the defective gene or the predilection to drink into oblivion? The truth is, why not me? The potential to pursue this disease into the depths of despair, insanity and ultimately death was very real. I am now responsible for the disease of alcoholism as opposed to drinking in ignorance like a maniac.

Responsibility frightens me and alcoholism is a fear based illness, so being faced with the responsibility of managing my alcoholism is overwhelming at times. Overwhelming in the sense that I no longer have the option to self destruct, to seek oblivion and self implode. Alcoholism is cunning, baffling and powerful. I would gain confidence and assertiveness from knowing I would be drinking that evening. When I purchased alcohol my withdrawal symptoms would miraculously disappear. My priority and total allegiance was to King Alcohol and my reward was stagnant wretchedness steeped in perpetual addiction. This is how it was until I found alternative ways of embracing abstinence based recovery.

Controlled drinking i.e. having a certain amount of drinks and stopping didn’t work for me. I would go as far to say it was like playing Russian roulette. Even when I was successful I wasn’t really, as I would eventually succumb to having a catastrophic binging episode. I was never offered medication to stop the effects of alcohol and if I was I think I would’ve considered it as futile. My mind, body and soul wanted to feel different therefore preventing my body from feeling the affects wouldn’t have given peace to my well being either mentally, emotionally or spiritually. I must conclude that abstinence is the only method of recovery that enables me to grow, progress and contribute to the world I inhabit.

Sobriety does induce fear of life on life’s terms. However it pales in comparison to the absolute terror I felt when opening my eyes after waking from a blackout or coming up empty handed after rummaging for a bottle I was convinced had been squirreled away in a moment of drunken prudence. The daily reprieve from the disease of alcoholism I receive is miraculous. My recovery has toppled King Alcohol and is now my number one priority. Whereas resentment remains the number one offender, gratitude channels my thinking towards thankfulness for what I still have and what I didn’t lose. The ‘yets’ that would’ve inevitably fueled my alcoholism further towards insanity and death. I feel the fear and do it anyway, I’m hopeful for a future I want to explore and I don’t feel alone in my suffering anymore. I belong to a fellowship, I have a concept of a higher power that I’m willing to believe in and communicate with to sustain my abstinence. I can overcome the challenges of life just as long as I can surpass any threat to my sobriety and encompassing recovery.


Published by From Wretched to Recovery

Writing about my experience of alcoholism and recovery from addiction. The aftermath, the lessons learnt, the wisdom acquired, healing through gratitude, compassion and forgiveness.

2 thoughts on “Abstinence

    1. Hello, thank you for your kind words. I hope my experience can be related to so people realise they’re not on their own going through addiction. There’s hope, we do recover and there’s support out there. I wish you well and thanks again for the feedback.

      Liked by 1 person

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