Thursday, 4 January 2018

It's not about the consequences

I can't stay sober based on a Step One based in turn on the consequences of my drinking.

This logic:

  • If I drink, bad things happen,
  • If bad things happen, I feel bad,
  • I don't want to feel bad,
  • I must not drink,
... fails, because as soon as I feel bad sober, the motivation for not drinking vanishes.

My Step One is based on two realisations:
  • If I start drinking I may never stop;
  • Left to my own devices I will start.
The image is this:
  • I'm in a lift going down.
  • It does stop at certain floors, but not at all floors, and I can't choose which floor it stops at.
  • When it stops, the doors open, and on some floors there is a lobby.
  • On the far side of the lobby, there is a lift going up.
  • Sometimes the doors open and I could cross the lobby, enter the up lift, and recover.
  • Sometimes the doors open, and there is no up lift. Just a wall.
  • If I get in the down lift again, it might never stop, or it might stop and there is no up lift.
The horror of this is way beyond the consequences of drinking themselves: it's about throwing one's life away and having to remain conscious to observe it. Nothing I experience sober will ever come close to matching this.

It is only this full understanding of Step One that provides enough fuel to me to continue taking the right action in AA even in periods that are extremely tough.

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