I am thinking today about what those who do not suffer from alcoholism and drug addiction see when they look at people like me.
It has to be confusing to them. We seem to love being in trouble - we love 'the sin' in their eyes. We choose drugs and alcohol over family, friends, work, school. It has to be confusing.
It has to be confusing. People like me promise over and over again to stop and to get our acts together. We mean it too. We mean it when we say it and we mean it when we are trying so hard to not take that first drink or make that call to the guy who has the magic powder. Yet, over and over again, we take that first drink or we make that call. It has to be confusing.
Today I read a very intelligent woman's comment about people like me loving the sin more than we love the Lord and I cannot speak to other alkies or addicts but I can tell you without reservation that was not true for me. I was horribly miserable the last two to five years of my drinking. I wanted more than anything to be a woman of grace and dignity. I wanted to go back to The Church. I wanted to be someones wife, someones mother. All I could seem to do was drink and smoke cocaine and I remember sitting in a closet, weeping because of the horror I had become and the absolute fear I had that this was it. I would never be anything but what I was - a loser, a complete total loser. A gutter drunk. A woman who had killed her own children rather than stop. A woman who had walked so far from God and His Church that I knew those people there would never welcome me back. I was hopeless. I was the worst thing on the earth.
It has to be confusing.
Something that most Normies (those who do not have the abnormal reaction to alcohol I have) never consider is that people like me are stone cold sober each time we drink.
I can only speak for myself.
Being sober, for me, is a painful experience when it is just me, just Leslie, trying to traverse the world. I never understand what you people are doing, thinking or saying. You all seem so together, so smart and happy. I try so hard to fit in, to be a small part of a greater whole, and quite frankly I just cannot do it. You all scare me. You are smarter than me, and you are dumber than me and you think your better and you think I am worthless and I am better and I am worthless and you seem to have the answers and I cannot even formulate the questions.
It is all very, very confusing.
And when I drink?
All that goes away....and I am just fine.
Why would I not continue to do that?
I never meant to get drunk, I just wanted to feel normal. What I did not know is that when I put alcohol into my system, it flips a switch and I cannot stop drinking.
And when I am sober - and it is just me, just Leslie - I feel scared, out of place, confused,weary and so very, very alone.
So what happened to change things for me?
I heard someone else say almost the exact same thing - and I suddenly realized that what he was describing was what I was experiencing and what he was describing was alcoholism.
I know it is confusing...I get it. I understand.
For some reason, hearing someone else describe what I was feeling gave me hope. See, this man had been sober for a long, long time and he claimed he had done it through the appropriate 12 step program...and that is where I found my sobriety.
Because of my sobriety, I found my way home to Holy Mother Church.
Because of being home, I found my way to The Order of Preachers.
Today I have over 22 years of continuous sobriety. I go to three meetings a week, sponsor 14 people and I am in service. I also am in service in my Parish - as a Catechist, a Lector and a member of Parish Council.
Sometimes, when I am sitting in a meeting or at Mass, I think to myself, "WOW - how did this happen?".
And I know....it is because I am no longer sober just me, just Leslie...today I am sober through the grace of God.
Today - for me - it is no longer confusing. And when I see intelligent people being confused, I can understand.
Please pray for those of us who cannot find their way home. They don't mean to hurt you . They do not love what they are doing more than you.
They just cannot stand to be sober.