Life Is Meant To Be Lived – Grapevine Article Sept 1995 by Louise A.

She decided she didn’t want “rocking chair” sobriety

When some of my foggy thinking began to clear in the early days of my sobriety, I realized how often I had drunk to escape the realities of life. As a result, I worked hard at facing my alcoholism head-on, practicing the Steps, and convincing myself that I was, at long last, on a journey of discovery. It was exciting to think I could become a learning, growing, changing person, accepting my limitations, somehow finding the courage to seek a personal honesty for the first time.

I was conscious of the intricate system of intellectual game-playing I had used to avoid the truth about my drinking. I had gone to any lengths to preserve my right to drink and smother the healthy woman within who desperately wanted to be free. I naively assumed the escapist in me would just automatically disappear the moment I joined Alcoholics Anonymous. Now I realize how cunning, baffling, and powerful are the old ways of thinking and behaving.

In fact, I allowed the old escape act to seep into my family life in matters that were most important to me. At home, I refused to take an honest stand on issues or ask the questions that might have led to a deeper understanding of my loved ones, or my own role as wife, mother, or grandmother. (Then I wondered why I struggled with depression so often.)

Very gradually I became a champion people-pleaser, a kind of emotional jellyfish who discovered that the silent martyr role at home was an “easier, softer way.” What honesty I had was confined to the rooms of AA and talks with my sponsor. At work I avoided additional responsibilities and treated myself like a fragile person to be protected from stress at all cost. I even gave some room in my head to the idea that I was now an AA old-timer and didn’t have the energy for very much Twelfth Step work.

I was at a dead halt–spiritually, mentally, and physically. Depression smothered my muffled thinking even more. Serious illness came along, and yet it took me awhile to understand what was happening. Thank God, I never gave up on meetings, so my Higher Power finally got through to me. I realized I’d been playing the great escape act all this time.

I know now I have a lot of work to do. There are more amends to be made, letters to be sent, Twelfth Step work to be done, responsibilities to be assumed, and honest talks to be had with loved ones. Life is meant to be lived by facing the challenges it brings. Otherwise, I’m not living, just existing. God didn’t give me this gift of sobriety to sit in a rocking chair, imagining myself as some wise old woman who has arrived somewhere.

There is no easier, softer way. To bring the great escape act into sobriety is to travel with a companion that led me to despair long ago. The teaching I receive in Alcoholics Anonymous about courage and love helps me to continue to grapple with the challenges of life as they are given to me, one day at a time.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: