“What do I want to change?”
I admit I am powerless over drugs and alcohol and that my life in this area is unmanageable. I cannot, on my own, with my present understanding, consistently manage this problem.
“What pain or fear do I associate with change in this area?”
I am scared that changing my relationship with these substances will lead me to become boring, dull and generally insignificant to other people.
“What pleasure am I getting out of not changing?”
Not changing allows me to get by and be social with a rotating cast of players. I enjoy the aesthetic, the thought of having a drink or a smoke. Drinking helps me open out in social situations. It often feels like it brings me closer to myself.
“What will it cost me if this doesn’t change?”
If I don’t change I will amount to nothing but a poor, directionless, dullard.
“What are the benefits I could gain by having this changed?”
If I do change I may see clearly and be able to actualize the self I want to be and have the means to facilitate this becoming.
“How has this problem placed my important relationships in jeopardy?”
This problem has cost me my ability to establish deep relationships with friends, my memory of much of my life and most importantly the abuse of my girlfriend’s love. I lost the relationship as I lost control and love of myself.
“Have I lost respect/reputation due to this problem?”
I have lost respect and reputation outwardly and even as I view myself.
“Has this problem made my home life unhappy?”
My home life consists almost entirely of being drunk, high and unproductive. It’s a life of wanting, void of fulfilment, and thus, miserable.
“Has this problem caused any type of illness?”
It has made me ill in that I am sad and slow and have no memory. I have also, at times, physically hurt myself or my environment.
“Do I turn to the type of person that enables me to practise this behaviour or to companions who enable me?”
I will readily accept the call of any friend to a bar no matter my obligations or financial situation; my strongest semblance of resolve overturned by the offer of an Uber ride there.
“What part of the problem do the people who care about me object to most?”
People see in me a wasted potential and I see it too.
“What type of abuse has happened to me and others due to this problem?”
I have neglected my younger sisters and sold my beautiful girlfriend out for cheap trinkets of adoration from affiliation. I have at times found myself senselessly cruel to the ones that I love and have hurt those trying to help me.
“What have I done in the past to try to fix, control or change this area of my life?”
I’ve tried, in the past, bouts of sobriety framed by restructuring and even attended AA but never so earnestly as I write today. I’ve tried therapy and substitution, goals and idols; chasing something else.
“What are the feelings, emotions and conditions I have tried to alter or control with this problem?”
When I started I felt lonely, anxious, depressed and overall defeated by life. I’ve used it to mask painful memories and to ignore difficult realities. I use drugs and alcohol as a cocoon within which I am safe from the world.
“Right now, if this is such an important area in my life, why haven’t I changed?”
I haven’t changed it for any identifiable good reason, just a lack of will and surrender to help.
“Am I willing to do whatever it takes to have this changed, healed or transformed?”
Yes, I am ready to change.
So here we begin, with an entry first penned into my private diary, now made public. Why do this? Well I can’t imagine the motivation behind the initial inscription is the question. Why do this publicly? I suppose to hold myself accountable. I hope for this blog to function as a conversation between myself and my audience. Even if no one stands in the bleachers, cheering for my success or jeering my failures, it is a cathartic act to put one’s problems in the open – to make my soul accessible in a way I cannot achieve in singularity. If I am to be scrutinized in my honesty I will have choices to make: What do I stand by? What must be admonished? These, to my eye, are the forces of growth and that is wholly the purpose of this exercise. Ideally, I suppose, some other wayward soul may stumble upon my practice and may benefit from being privy to the process. However, I will be quite content just to find better myself. So here, I surrender to you – and myself – my story.
“Do with it what you will. Cry over it. Get angry. Forget it. Just don’t say in the years to come that you would have lived your life differently if only you had heard this story. You’ve heard it now.” – Thomas King The Truth About Stories
**Following the framework presented in Russell Brand’s “Recovery”.