Today is day 9 of being sober. This is the longest I have been sober for a long time. It feels great. It feels like a fog has lifted and I can breathe freely once again. In fact the very air around me smells different. The world around me seems different, a better place. Every day I notice things that I have not noticed in a long time. The first few days were difficult and my struggle is far from over, but now I know I can do it. There is hope.
A major factor in my sobriety has been an email list I stumbled upon a few days ago – the LifeRing Safe List or LSRSafe. It’s an email list with very nice people who really care without being judgemental or condescending. After struggling for so long with alcoholism I have finally realised that I cannot do this alone. I need to reach out to other people, people like me, people who have gone through what I have gone though, people who understand. The people on this list welcomed me into the group and listened to me. Thier replies proved that they really care and understand my pain. I am lucky to have found them. They are my support group. My LifeRing.
What I like best about LifeRing is that, it’s secular. There is no Big Book thumping, 12 steps, higher power and God. I have nothing against the AA, and in fact for the last couple days I have been attending AA meetings. Attending the AA meetings reinforced something that I already knew, that the AA program is not for me. The people I met in the AA meetings were nice but there is too much insistence on God and higher power. I just don’t agree with the AA philosophy that we are totally powerless and we cannot be sober unless we surrender ourselves completely to God.
Having made the decision to be sober and come through the hell of the first few days alone, I just can’t accept the fact that I am powerless. Someone in the LifeRing email list posted in one of his emails: “I can say I’m powerless over alcohol once I take the first drink, but I have the power not to do that, provided I participate with others and stay continually reminded of the misery that awaits me should I do so.” These words say it better than I can say it myself.
Being sober for 9 days does not make me an authority on sobriety but I have been trying to be sober for several months now and I think this has taught me a bit about failure and relapse. I think alcoholics relapse because they do not have a support structure. They do not have a group of people rooting for them. Having a support group makes me accountable. It is not just me alone. There are people counting on me. I do not want to drink that first drink because I do not want to let them down.
One of the many things I liked about the LifeRing email group is that they encourage you to post as often as you need to. I have been on email groups before (not alcohol recovery groups, but other ones) and frequent posting is usually discouraged. On this group, they encourage people to post frequently. They understand that the first days, weeks and even months of sobriety are difficult and recovering alcoholics need to reach out and share thier problems. Another thing I like about this group is that conflict of any sort is discouraged. Recovering alcoholics are fragile and conflict can be disastrous. The list is lightly moderated but flame wars and negative comments are not tolerated.
I probably won’t go to the AA meetings anymore. I have found something better for me. AA doesn’t work for me.