A Decade of Not Dying
I was 13 when I got my first drunk on. I was 14 when I started drinking liquor. I was 15 when I went to ER for alcohol poisoning that had my parents scared to the point they signed me into a place they thought was rehab, but really turned out to be a cult that practiced torturing kids. I was 16 when I exchanged the facility invoked PTSD symptoms of self-mutilation, anorexia, and self-hating codependent relationships with drinking alcohol again. I was a collegiate 21 when I was getting my stomach pumped and charcoal routed up my nose due to another drunken suicide attempt. This was my life and I knew I'd die an alcoholic death as sure as I know I am typing this out. And I didn't care.
"I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying." ~ Andy, Shawshank Redemption
Life was something to be endured and I could not do mine sober. If I wasn't getting my drink on, I was either thinking about drinking or trying to not drink. This was the backdrop I operated from as I went through high school and college and after.
January 04, 2013 was 10 years since I picked up a white token at an AA meeting. I have a new life paradigm I operate from and it's BECAUSE I start and end with sober that I've gotten clarity. I have not had a drink since January 03, 2003 and I don't do "pot maintenance" or "pill replacement therapy." I DO do coffee; Lots of coffee.
"Andy crawled to freedom through five-hundred yards of shit smelling foulness I can't even imagine, or maybe I just don't want to." ~ Red, Shawshank Redemption
I didn't have to do it alone; This is the biggest message I would like to offer anyone reading this who might be struggling with any sense of seemingly irresistible bondage. Whether it's a drug, a personality, alcohol, eating disorder, or any self-defeating behaviors.
There's only one thing I had to do daily in the beginning: Make the choice to murder the desire to drink with alcohol itself, or make the choice to dissolve the desire with any other solution. I chose 'any other solution' and that meant - for ME - walking through the shit of my mind and subconscious to find my Guiding Light. And with the help of friends on similar paths, and those who came before me, that's what I did.
I am fortunate in that I have been able to pass the same message on to friends who arrive at the same bridge. Often I have thought that sharing this message really has inspired me deeper into my own freedom. I am reminded of the fear I faced at this crossroads; The times I was so overcome with fear at this new life I was in and wholly uncertain I could do it. But every time, I was reminded that I am not doing it alone and as long as I make the choice, I do not have to. As I share my story with the one currently on the precipice of scary unknown freedom with the comfortably and familiarly known imprisonment just a couple feet behind, I am always reminded there was someone there for me, extending their hand and welcoming me forward; To keep going.
Red: [narrating] There is a harsh truth to face. No way I'm gonna make it on the outside. All I do anymore is think of ways to break my parole. Terrible thing, to live in fear. Brooks Hatlen knew it. Knew it all too well. All I want is to be back where things make sense. Where I won't have to be afraid all the time. Only one thing stops me. A promise I made to Andy.
After noticing my 2008 article, "How to Help an Alcoholic Stop Drinking" still receiving views and comments I decided to update it which got me to reminiscing 'where I was' when I wrote that. I re-read my friends' comments and re-felt the love and joy of the Alcoholics Anonymous fellowship camaraderie.
Thank you to my Newsvine friends for reminding me that the fellowship is way deeper than one A.A. group. Thank you for reaching out and supporting me. Thank you for being sober. Thank you for carrying the message of alcoholic recovery and supporting others who do. Thank you for being here and sharing your own stories. Thank you, especially, to the ones who'd gone before me and had given me hope.
Andy shares a message of freedom with other prisoners in Shawshank. ("Duettino - Sull'aria"from The Marriage of Figaro.) Watch The Shawshank Redemption Online.
Andy: [in letter to Red] Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
Red: [narrating] I find I'm so excited, I can barely sit still or hold a thought in my head. I think it's the excitement only a free man can feel, a free man at the start of a long journey whose conclusion is uncertain. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope to see my friend, and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is as blue as it has been in my dreams. I hope.
10 years of Redemption
"Easiest time I ever did."
© January 16 2013, Digits. In gratitude, love, and devotion to Freedom.
I enjoyed The Shawshank Redemption while my body & mind were still in lock up, I cannot help but think how even it could have played even a part in my finally getting sober: Hope, Friendship and Freedom; A universal theme of Redemption and this is why it's in the top 5 of my most favorite movies. [ Redemption: "The action of saving or being saved from sin, error, or evil." ]