I am coming up on twenty-six year of recovery from alcoholism and want to write a few posts that review my journey and offer a few thoughts as I do. Here is the first entry.
When I stopped drinking I was 29 years old and in college but teetering on the edge of screwing the whole thing up. The college was Berea College, a tuition-free private coeducational school in Kentucky. I was on two types of probation after my first year and both were directly related to my drinking.
The first was “Labor Probation” i.e. not showing up for the 10 hour a week job that helped pay for my tuition. I didn’t show up when I had a hangover which was often enough to get me on probation. The other probation was about my failure to attend enough “Convocations,” that is assemblies that took place either in the afternoon or in the evening. It was the evening ones that I had trouble with. I didn’t want to show up intoxicated or smelling of alcohol but I couldn’t put off drinking past 5 pm without feeling anxious and shaky.
I knew that if I got put on a third (academic) probation I would be kicked out and the fear of that caused me to stop drinking on August 20th, three days before school started up in the fall.
It is clear to me now that I stopped because I wanted to stay in college, not because my drinking or life was at its worst. I didn’t “hit bottom” at the bottom but rather when I was going to lose something I cared deeply about. This has been an important distinction for me in my work as a Recovery Coach.
My Recovery Coaching clients are more motivated to pursue or maintain recovery when they are in touch with what they want. I wanted to stay in college. One of my clients wanted to move out of her parent’s house. That was enough to motivate her to slow down with alcohol and pot. She moved out and got a job but didn’t choose abstinence from until she wanted to go to massage school and knew she couldn’t do it while using.
What do you want? What makes recovery worthwhile? Or what would make it worth it? Can you have what you want and continue in your addiction? Or is it your addiction going to get in the way? Could you use the support of a Recovery Coach?