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Reflections on One Year of Sobriety

March 26, 2014 Becky Oberg

On March 25, I celebrated one year of sobriety by the grace of God and the fellowship of Alcoholic's Anonymous (A.A.). (Wondering if you're an alcoholic? Try the CAGE test.) I've been in a somewhat reflective mood and have considered all I've learned over the past year. Three sayings I've taken to heart are: "Fake it 'til you make it," "Anger is the dubious luxury of normal people," and "Keep showing up until the miracle occurs."

Sobriety and "Fake it 'til you make it."

Let me start off by saying this does not mean fake a happy mood in spite of how you feel. Honesty and openness are vital to recovery from borderline personality disorder. You must be honest with yourself about how you feel. What "Fake it 'til you make it." means is to work on your program of recovery even when you feel like it isn't working.

After 1 year of sobriety I've learned many things about addiction and borderline. Read about 3 sayings I've come to take to heart about sobriety and recovery.When I first started A.A., I dreaded making a searching and fearless moral inventory. But I knew my resentments were contributing to my alcoholism. And fear, as we say in A.A., can stand for "Forget Everything And Run," or "Face Everything And Recover." I had to choose between my anger and fear and my sobriety. I chose to keep going to meetings and to keep working with my sponsor, even though I didn't feel like it. When it came time to list my resentments, I did so. I worked the program of recovery even when I wasn't sure it would work--and now, I wholeheartedly believe that it does work. At the end of every meeting we say: "Keep coming back; it works if you work it." And it's true--it does work if you work it, even when you don't feel like working it.

Sobriety and "Anger is the dubious luxury of normal people."

We all know what "normal" means--people without a mental illness or addiction. Such people can get angry and stay healthy, but we can't. For us, anger triggers negative coping skills such as drinking, fighting or self-harm. Anger, even when rightly placed, can be toxic.

Recently, I filed a request with my payee for some money for new shoes. The payee didn't file the request last week and this week lost the request. I was upset and a little angry, but I stopped and asked myself a few questions:

  1. Is this worth my sobriety?
  2. Is there anything I can do about it?

I concluded that no, my sobriety was more important than a pair of new shoes. I also concluded that the situation was out of my hands, and therefore there was no reason to dwell on it. I let my payee know I was upset, then I moved on. It's like the Serenity Prayer says--"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change."

A year ago I couldn't have done this. But healing occurs even when we aren't aware of it. You, like me, have the potential to acknowledge and move on from negative events. All it takes is willingness.

Sobriety and "Keep showing up until the miracle occurs."

Although I attend a Mennonite church and my faith means a great deal to me, I often feel closer to agnosticism. When I first started going to A.A., I was cynical toward any mention of a Higher Power and hostile toward "all this God talk." My spirituality was virtually non-existent. If this is you, I encourage you to read the chapter to the agnostic and come up with a Higher Power of your own understanding--for example, the group could be your Higher Power.

Anyone who knew me during my active addiction will tell you there was no way in all Creation that I could've gotten sober on my own--I tried! All the discipline in the world, all my willpower, all my intellect was no match for the cunning, baffling, powerful alcohol. But I had a mustard seed-sized amount of faith that A.A. would work if I gave it a chance. So I kept showing up for meetings and taking it one day at a time. The next thing I knew, a year had gone by.

What I've learned after One Year of Sobriety

I tell newcomers the first 30 days are the hardest. That's because you're still feeling the effects of withdrawal, you don't have coping skills for the temptation, and you don't have a support system. But if you go through the motions until it becomes real, if you use positive coping skills, and if you keep showing up, the miracle does occur.

APA Reference
Oberg, B. (2014, March 26). Reflections on One Year of Sobriety, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/borderline/2014/03/reflections-on-one-year-of-sobriety



Author: Becky Oberg

sooza
May, 1 2014 at 8:01 pm

PS, recently one man I know if, got 24 years of sobriety in AA, was a fine upstanding member, and helped loads of young people in AA. one of those people who get a lot of meetings going, and really help. A recoverED alcoholic. Lovely man. At 24 years, he put a plastic bag over his head, tied it with tape he couldn't get off, and room his life. His wife later told everyone what happened. His relationship pain, causes by addictive relationship behaviour, slowly worsened,despite his recovery from alcoholism. And he didn't have a name,and thus couldn't find healing from-what ailed him. (The psychiatric profession would call him a 'personality disorder' for certain, because he had that,had those behaviours. Trouble is, he was the 'real addict' just like the 'real alcoholic' in the Big Book. Understanding, and love of can't, self,knowledge, a devoted wife-all these could not fix him. Even a great recovery from alcoholism could not stop the slowly increasing relationship,based longing / dis-ease inside of him from becoming ultimately unbearable). Hm.. . Chow.

sooza
May, 1 2014 at 7:48 pm

I know many people in AA and NA who had 'trouble with personal relationships'. But I know that some of them have also love addiction (which is a cover-all term for those who are addicted in thier emotional/and or sexual behaviors). And these people have a when other thing going on. Most alcoholics aren't signs in thier relationships behaviour without friends family or lovers. But sex/or love addicts are another whole league. I have seen 3 suicides in people who got sober from drumming, but in whom the love addiction/relationships addiction continued. That's personally. And I personally know a few more who attempted suicide because of the constant pain of it, but who survived and joined Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. Something for all BPDs I reckon worth considering- is that it could be possible to endlessly discuss the greatly varying manifestations of BPD,and control them best one can. And that spermatogenesis method us available to find out if oneself is the equipment if the AA 'heavy drinker', or if one has gotten sucker, and has become -a real addicts. It's good to know that this is a course of investigation that's availably,and to know that there is a book by real addicts that one can ease go see if they identify with the real addicts or not. The reason I believe that it is good that there is a shortcut to find out if one has in fact crossed this line, is this:- beside the 'rwal scenic never regains control', and for them, using self-knowlege about thier drinking, discussing thier childhood/ (wrongly) attributing thier drinking to something outside of themselves (like thus 'triggers' misinformation)/ staying physically away from liquor/using willpower/wishing to be moral or applying philosophies to stop themselves drinking/etc, etc, etc- will FAIL. For they have any internal 'disease of perception' (Big Book), and no human power, including themselves, the 'right' man or partner, counselors, love of familiar friends, knowledge, spiritual reading, or even the punishment of police or terrible suffering from the drinking itself-none of these things will stop them drinking permanently, not cure them lg alcoholism. It is a disease about being spiritually blocked-inside. Nothing intellectual, no love from outside, no goals, ,can fix it. Whereas most if the things I just mentioned that applies often attempt to treat thier alcoholism with, DO work for the heavy drinker. And, in just the same way, the real relationships addicts cannot get free from applying those same things-all the will in the world/srlf-knowledge/loving partners/ counselors/ pulls/etc etc. but the person with some BPD behaviours who has not gone that far, CAN apply human means to change themselves. Thus is why I niece it is important for people to know there's a fellowship and the Big Book and the SLAA handbook around, so they can read Step 1 and 2 in them, and the personal stories in the back of the SLAA handbook, and see if they relate. Many Pepe battle on half-alive for ever, and other commit suicide (and even nursery eventually, from attempting to apply lighter measures to thier BOB behaviours. I do not know which type you are, my friend. I figured that, as you understand you are alcoholic, the knowledge that there are people who've entered the 'realm from where there is no return through human aid' in regards to relationships behaviours, would be interesting to you. I understand it may not spy. Also , you may meet friends in AA who have crossed this line, as you trudge along in AA. There are many there. All the best to you, yours sincerely, Sooza

sooza
May, 1 2014 at 7:14 pm

As you know, not all heavy drinkers need AA. Only those who have permanently list the power of chive in drink-bed it. The same with the personality disorder behaviours. Some people haven't crossed that line for some reason. These people can discuss thier issues, I.nderstand them, and use self-knowledge and New information. And then they can use thier willpower to apply New healthy behaviours to thier lives. These people do not have the disease of addiction. Hey can 'take responsibility for thier actions. And pull thier socks up. just like heavy drinkers, who can, once they understand thier situation, stop or moderate. But like Bill Wilson says, in the chapter of the Big Book called Bills Story: ..."Surely this was the answer, self-knowledge! But it was not, for the day came when I frank again!". In the same way, a person can find out if they seethe equivalent to this,but in relationships. They can do so by the following : making a decision to forever behave differently-(in AA , to 'quit entirely'), they can learn all about themselves,get insight, learn about thier so-called 'triggers', discuss thier childhood and etc etc, they can avoid certain people. Etc. Etc. And if these things work, they will find they not (to paraphrase and borrow from the Big Book again), that they have not ..'become relationship addicts, crushed by a self-imposed crisis...'. But if self-knkwledge, ideas, trying to be moral and thus Tamil.g responsibility for thier bad BPD behaviour to self and others-FAILS over a period of time-well, these people may find they have become real addicts, and have 'lost the power to choose' whether they will act out or not. They have a progressive illness. And they find, upon investigation, that the latest troubling relationships they've been in pain over, are only the latest, in a long line of such experiences- they have been acting out a pattern for years. Just like a drinker who has been on a bad drinking binge as is now suffering, is not necessarily of course, any alcoholics! Of course not. Alcohol-addicts (alcoholics) are people in whom the current drinking dramas are only the most recent dramas in series of past ones. It's been going on a long time

sooza
May, 1 2014 at 6:54 pm

Oops-pressed send too early. Writing on a phone is tricky. Anyway, there's a way to simplify all the complex musings on BPD -(or any other personality disorder for that matter- in fact, they don't even go into iall that, in exactly the same way AA doesn't really go on about whether a person liked beer, or whiskey, etc- not important. What IS important in AA, as you will know- is any the inanity to control or stop using alcohol. Sex and Love addicts know one over-riding important thing-that they had used other people as drugs, and could not CONTROL or QUITE thier behaviour. In other words they had, to quote the AA Big Book: '..lost the power to choose' whether they would partake if thier own version of destructive relationship behaviour(s). As you know, (from the Big Book)- there is a difference between the 'heavy drinker' and the 'real alcoholic'. The 'power to choose to stop or moderate' is what differentiates heavy drinker. The real alcoholic has lost that power-, ie, is powerless. The drama and war stories, or what kind of alcohol they liked isn't the bid deal- not does it prove alcoholism. Yoga know this no doubt. Well, some people have the 'behaviors' described as 'BPD' behaviours. Interestingly, -and just as with the alcoholic- there are people who have the 'habit bad enough' (big book), but who, can stop or moderate if 'her warning of a doctor or loved int'l is out on them. However, there are others, that no matter the consequences, cannot stop thier borderline (or other) behaviours. They have somehow crossed the invisible, but very real, line-and have become real addicts- just like the real alcoholic, who has now: 'placed himself beyond human aid'. No human power- that of course as you know means thier own will- -can relieve them from thier addiction. There hope must therefore, by default, 'come from a higher power' (big boom again). Those in that fellowship use the 'Sex and Love Addicts' handbook of the 12 steps, and the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, as thier guides. And they work the 12 steps in exactly the same way. It is hard but simple. One identifies thier own,addictive behaviours (and we all have our own special versions)- abstains from them, them,works the rest of the 12 steps to bring into thier being the spiritual awakening that means,the life force will be flowing into them from within, and therefore they will not crave to sick it out of other people.

sooza
May, 1 2014 at 6:30 pm

Hi Becky. Did you know of Sex And Love Addicts Anonymous? They're handbook applies the AA program to 'love' addiction. To either addictive dependency on people or inanity to be in relationship (which is termed 'anorexia'- just like you have food addicts who eat themselves to death, and food anorexics who starve themselves to death- both types are still food addicts. Two sides of the same coo of food addiction. Well, they use the term 'anorexic' describing the uncontrollable pulling-away from/avoiding intimacy. 'Anorexia' is the other side if- integral part- of 'love' addiction.

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