Thursday, June 4, 2009
(part 163) TRYING TO STAY SOBER
In 1974 I was twenty nine years old, and surrounded, for the most part, by people much older than I, who said things like, "I spilled more booze than you drank," which was nonsense. This condescending attitude was rampant in AA in back then.
I felt at times as though some people were doing their best to get me to leave the program rather than stay, insinuating that I had not hit bottom, because I was too young, in their opinion.
The old school drunks were not about to throw open the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous to a whole new swarm of addict-alcoholics without a fight, regarding the multiple addictions of people like me.
They were purists! They did not want to hear about drugs, or the sexual problems of those who came out of the 60's, where sexual behavior had been forever changed on the social scale, by my generation.
In their minds they were drunks only, alcoholics in the purest sense of the word. If they had sex, they, in most cases, were married, or got married, as a direct result of such an act.
The 60's generation had not, and did not, follow that old-style set of rules, and had started to rattle the fundamental restrictions of sexual behavior as soon as they began to frequent the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Sooner or later AA would have to come to grips with this phenomenon, as well as other new facts, no matter how reluctant they were in doing so.
The sheer numbers of new and different kinds of members would see to that. As well, the new view of sexual behavior was going to force the old "Bleeding Deacons" to open the gates even wider to encompass the gay and lesbian movement.
It became apparent to me that the old timers didn't want to hear about drugs, because many of those drugs were being prescribed by doctors to older alcoholics for medical needs, such as trouble sleeping, over eating, and anxiety.
People taking these drugs prescribed by their doctors, were in no mood to be lectured by the likes of me, that these were the exact drugs I got high on.
Diet pills and valium, along with various sleeping remedies, were off limits conversationally, according to many old school members. These were things that were prescribed and used with their doctor's blessing to help with everyday problems of daily living, according to them.
Their pills were not seen as a violation of sobriety by those who had not had a drink in a number of years. Their drugs were not considered drugs. They were thought of, with the help of denial, as medicine.
It was the 60's generation that eventually busted this myth wide open. I knew, from personal experience, as did others, that doctors, in fact, were the worst dope pushers on earth, and that the best drugs of all had always been pharmaceutical, the things you got from the drugstore by way of a prescription.
Valium, for instance, was probably the most abused drug on the planet, but was considered at that time to be a harmless medication for tension.
This incredible fable, which still persists today, is exemplified by those who refuse to admit they have a problem with physician prescribed medications.
Many of those people have fallen victim to the insidiousness of long-term drug abuse, which was and is, systematically denied as a problem, simply because it is obtained from a doctor.
For what it's worth, I was clear as a bell on this topic, and knew quite well that I had a dual, or multiple, addiction problem. I was addicted to multiple substances, and prone to become addicted to anything that served my purpose, whether it was drinking, snorting, dropping, injected, or shoved up my ass. It was not in question; I was clear on this.
All in all, I found too many reasons not to stay with the program along the way, during my first initiation into this new world of recovery. As I said, I probably wanted to get the world off my back more than I wanted to get clean and sober and stay clean and sober.
I doggedly remained, and reluctantly participated as best I could at the time, but began wavering in my commitment to do so. Because I was completely new, and had no experience with the basic fundamentals of how the program worked, I accepted at face value much of what was told to me at the time, which proved to be a mistake.
The confusing part was that everybody I talked to had an opinion of what I should do, but most of those opinions were at odds with each other. I became lost in the confusion of not having a clear idea of how to apply the principles of the program into my own life on a daily basis.
I was afraid to voice any opinion of my own, and was continuously warned that getting angry would be lethal, and would end up getting me drunk if I should succumb to it.
I walked around in a straight jacket of sorts, trying to fathom how someone like me could fit into such an organized place of suppression and repression of volatile emotions, the likes of which I carried around by the ton inside my battered mind and body.
The clever slogans like "Let go and let God," although well meaning, could not forever keep the explosive nature of my personality at bay.
Sooner rather than later, the person known as Bobby Jameson, would come out of seclusion and assert himself once more in this new world of reality, and the old will to challenge that world would take over.