I not only didn’t know what alcoholism was, I didn’t know it was a double-edged sword that could cut me to ribbons. First I would get an urge to drink that started with a thought, then that thought grew and grew until it became insanity. Insanity? Yes, because this obsession will lead to a drink, that leads to a drug and once I put it in me, I have no choice. I can’t and won’t stop.
It’s called a craving. It’s a physical thing as with heroin, cigarettes or any other addictive behavior or substance. So, the double-edged sword is the craving plus the obsession. If I stop putting it in me the craving will leave my system in about a week. How is this possible? My thinking continuously drags me into the whirlpool! I’ve got to change my thinking, but how?
I remember when the obsession left me. I was in the treatment center with my little counselor, Martha who was 4’5” (and I am 6’4”) standing in front of me with her hands on her hips saying “We don’t need another genius in this treatment center; we need someone to wash the cups.” I was appalled and said, “but I am an artist with very sensitive hands.” She replied, “Yeah, yeah, just get in there and do it!” As I walked into the kitchen and started washing the cups, I actually felt the obsession to escape through alcohol and drugs leave me. It was the first time in thirty years I’d done something for someone else with no strings attached. Not until later did I realize that action–positive affirmative action was the key. I wasn’t thinking about me; I was doing something for someone else and it didn’t even matter that I did not know exactly who. Thank you, Martha for giving me the secret to a spiritual life.
And thank you to the 12 Steps for the list of simple activities to get to a spiritual solution and stay there. When I made my first phone call to Sandy and told her, “I’m going to do this thing, dammit” I had no idea of what I was in for. The joy of helping to remove the claws of the demon of selfishness from another person is the greatest gift there is, nothing can compare with being able to be of real help. I urge everyone to put down your bag of garbage and learn to be the gift. Encourage, praise, congratulate and bless everyone within your reach. Just imagine what might grow if you plant that!