Step One – Back to the Beginning
What am I doing here on this blog? Working the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. Now that I am operating on that understanding of purpose, it seems appropriate that I return to Step One and formally address it here. It won’t take long, and this won’t be a “drunkalogue.” (Is that how you spell it, or is there no “a”?)
Alcohol had all the power. Yes, I could control my drinking in a literal, technical sense of the word. I could limit the number of drinks I consumed in certain work contexts. I could usually manage not to drink before or during work. I could employ marijuana to minimize the damage, and to end my drinking earlier in the evening than I otherwise would have.
All of which was done for one clear reason – to protect my drinking. Alcohol was the king. I served that master to the best of my ability, and was willing to go to extraordinary lengths to protect it. Was I powerless over alcohol? Yes. Completely. I was the loyal slave to booze. I began referring to myself as an alcoholic years before I quit drinking. My wife and daughter referred to me as an alcoholic. I agreed that it was tragic, but insisted that nothing could be done about it. It was too deeply ingrained. I was too old and settled in my ways to change. My only hope was that I could avoid harming my family and enjoy what time I had left with them.
Did it make my life unmanageable? Of course it did, but I fought this one a bit harder. I had a good job, and a family. I was rotting from the inside out, see, and the external shell that others saw appeared still largely intact. So the constant shame and self-loathing? Well, that was manageable, in my drunken insanity. The suffering of my wife? Manageable. The dry heaves and the blackouts and the hot and cold sweats, the violent shaking, the embarrassments, the drunk driving, the drunk emails, the anger, the remorse, the inability to attend to anything besides work and drinking, the constant anxiety and guilt, the isolation, the separation from my loved ones both spiritually and physically? All manageable, apparently.
Did it make my life unmanageable? Yeah, it did.
Hello, I am Eric. I am an alcoholic. I am powerless over alcohol and my life had become unmanageable. I tried quitting on my own many times, and I always went back, and it always got worse. I tried to control my drinking many times, and it always got away from me in short order.
Step one? No fucking problem. I spent my whole adult life proving step one. You can book it, put it in a cage, lock it, and throw away the key. There is not one ounce of uncertainty in me regarding the first step.
Step one is now officially done.