Article written for SHARE magazine (UK)

 

It’s true what they say about us, at many meetings I look around and see that we are indeed like a “Titanic Survivor’s support group.” We completely understand the horror of the voyage. Some of us sharing of our dramatic death plunge into the “propeller,” or being “sucked under” and narrowly escaping an icy, salt water grave. But miraculously we made to the lifeboats and then to shore. Here we sit today, warm and dry, given the gift of yet another day.

Although nothing was funny AT ALL about our fateful journey, when we share with those that “get it,” camaraderie, joy and even hilarious identification can be found with our common bond.

At an early meeting, a very kind gentleman came up to me, smiled and said, “It’s gonna be okay.” I scoffed to myself, “Preposterous! How could that possibly be?!!! Maybe for YOU, but I’ve crashed and burned and my whole world is destroyed, this is really, REALLY bad!” I was crushed and devastated, confused, frightened and horrified. I had lost everything. I was facing court dates for 2 felonies and a DUI, worst of all I had lost custody of my only child, my beautiful three year old Son! I was basically homeless and had descended in the last final weeks into living in motels, smoking crack with people who had threatened to kill me and me wishing they would. It was a nightmarish descent into madness. WHAT HAPPENED??? Deep inside I knew I was a kind, good and relatively “normal” person. Starting young, I launched headfirst into a career in communications: Singing Telegrams, a bit of Stand-up comedy, Tour Guiding at Universal Studios and Hearst Castle then on to a broadcasting career in Radio and Television. “Sex, drugs and Rock ‘n’ Roll” soon spiraled deep into a hellish insanity, but today I sit writing to you from a life restored far beyond any Earthly imagination.

Addiction reared its head early on, first with anorexia/bulimia. I found I had mastered some kind of control and positive reinforcement and attention. If I lost a little weight, then I got approval from others; thus the scale then became my “god.” At all costs, keep losing weight because if some validation feels good, then a whole bunch should feel really great.

I was always the one who drank too much or went too far. Thrust deep into black out when others went home giggly and tipsy. I kept looking for the perfect balance; that elusive place where alcohol takes you, but only for a moment. I had always hoped to find this mysterious “pause” button. I longed for a brief reprieve from my feelings and thoughts, an escape that would gently and safely wrap and keep me in numbness and bliss, without betrayal and thrusting open the trap door; plunging me into terror and endless torment. That button does not exist.

For the sake of maximum article length alone I am sparing you the details of my textbook drunkologue, one that proved without a doubt that what lies at the bottom of the bottle: Anguish, pain, heartbreak, and horror for ALL involved; along with three sections/72 hour holds, two felonies, and one DUI. I shudder as it could have been much worse, death was a guarantee had I continued. I am forever grateful that in this insanity I did not physically injure or kill anyone. I also thankfully did not succeed at suicide, for I would not have known who I was killing. The woman I am today has evolved from the ashes and cataclysm of my past.

 

I remember the first time I heard, “We get to live two lifestyles in one lifetime.” I have happily discovered that this is so very true, many of us are living proof of this miracle. Today, with 10 and a half years sober, the felonies have long since been expunged and dismissed. With humility and gratitude, I returned to the broadcasting jobs I had lost and moved upward from there. I am now happily married, have a loving and harmonious relationship with my precious Son, made a trans-Atlantic move from California to the English Countryside. I continue to host a radio show for the United States from the United Kingdom via the internet, am a public speaker and have begun to write and blog.

Our Serenity Prayer teaches us an ancient truth; that all suffering stems from wanting things to be different than the way they are at the moment. For us to think that life should be a continuous series of upswings, feeling blissful and full of good things is unrealistic and will only lead to disappointment and resentment. Accept and be grateful for ALL that is, all that has led up to the now, knowing life is eternally in flux and will always vacillate from one vibration to another. This is a very, VERY powerful action on our part, as our Acceptance paves the road for happiness in spite.

Alcohol and drugs are not our problem; Coping with and within life is the problem. The tools that Alcoholics Anonymous have given me have helped me take responsibility, tap into the solution and joyfully watch my life flourish and grow. Today I am free from the clutches and tyranny of alcohol, who endlessly lied and deceived, hissing promises of what only sobriety could deliver.

Re: the God thing, remember that this is a general statement to identify WHATEVER you relate to as something beyond yourself, a natural Source of unconditional Love, compassion, forgiveness and Truth. I often use the “Star Wars” analogy of “The Force”. “May the Force be with you” was never perceived as offensive. No one was burned at the stake for disobeying this Force, it seemed palatable yet all powerful and miraculous. I had had enough of its “dark side”. To those just beginning this journey, just “Be willing.” Trust and allow this Universal Love Source (known by countless names) to handle the details, because it surely will.

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