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John Fortenberry
Jan 13, 2022
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John Fortenberry
Dec 25, 2021
In General Discussion
If you really want to hear about my drinking and drug life, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is when I started using alcohol and drugs. And, why I did it and what my lousy life was like while using. You’ll want to know how and when my willpower finally kicked in, and I finally quit. You’ll want to know this because somehow you're thinking it was all in the wanting to, and eventually, I made the choice to quit, and that saved me...right? It is that kind of crap that keeps us from getting recovered. So, I don’t feel like going into all that. Yep, and if you want to know the truth, drunkalogues bore me, and in the second place, those who gave me the solution would have a cow if I were to waste your valuable time boring you with it. In about three sentences I’ll just tell you about this crazed buffoon that I was while using and the crazed buffoon I remained after I was clean. What I mean is without having any mood or mind altering substance in my system for a long time I was still a nut. Alcoholism is a label we have given to an illness. It is like the label Lou Gehrig's Disease or Parkinson's Disease–they are just labels. You don’t have to be a Gehrig to have Lou Gehrig's Disease. You don’t have to drink alcohol to have Alcoholism. I will show you what I’m saying a few paragraphs from now. That may strike you as odd that Alcoholism can affect people whether they drink or not. But, rather than you having to deeply study the book and disease to find that out. I thought it would be a time-saver to just throw that out there so you would know what you’re dealing with. Real addicts and alcoholics all have the same story, only names and places are different, we all have a common problem. First, we can’t stay stopped no matter how badly we want to, and second, when we do use we can’t predict the amount we will use, sometimes a little, most times a lot. While using I got pretty warped, while sober I got pretty warped. I had arrived at a point care to live. At thirteen years sober and clean I faced a deadly dilemma. My choices were horrific, either get drunk, get high or kill myself. Which for me, are all the same, using is just suicide on an installment plan. Where I want to start is the day I distanced myself from groups and got into the book “Alcoholics Anonymous”. On that day it was as if the voice of God spoke to me, and quoted a portion of the book , it said, “half-measures availed us nothing”! The voice went on to say,” You have read the book, have you done what’s in it”? It came to me that the book was a sort of map. It provides the directions, but more importantly, I must put one foot in front of the other to make the journey. I must take action. The groups I had attended were both similar, one was an AA group of so-called wise old-timers that would listen to newcomers dump their day-to-day problems in the meetings, the other was an NA group of about the same description. For the first time, I honestly saw these groups were just dumping grounds for things that pissed people off. I am not saying that sharing problems in meetings is off-limits., but, it was just that very rarely in those meetings was an actual solution discussed. Since 1939 the twelve-step program has been providing miraculous recovery for millions, turning hopeless drunks and addicts into quality, clear-thinking people. When the book was written it was those first people who put their collective experience together. They put in black and white what had worked for them. But, the idea that meetings in and of themselves were the answer was not the object. They would flatly say such an idea is for the birds! Meetings don’t do a damn thing for giving the tools for recovery at least not in a timely fashion. Oh sure we do get good stuff from meetings but it is fragmented and comes in small amounts. Worse yet, some of what is said in meetings is just a load of crap. How could it be anything else? Often there are people in the rooms that don’t even want to be there, yet they speak foolish nonsense that other new people hear. Those other new people leave the meeting with broken information and return to share it with yet more new people. Well, it does not take a genius to see that such an approach creates one helluva confusing mess. That was the whole damned reason the early people wrote the book. Back then, they could see it already happening and did their dead-level best to preserve what worked. You see the book is our point of reference, our bullshit filter. As the observations on page 24 of the book tells us “we are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago.” BB. p. 24. So, think about it, we have about a week or a month to get this deal or the disease kicks back in. It may not be a relapse on alcohol or drugs but the disease manifests in many other ways. Meetings are simply a place for newcomers to meet a person who lives by the book and can act as a guide. Real alcoholics or druggies don’t obtain a quality life or have clear-thinking just by quitting the drink or drug. Oh sure, life starts looking better from outward appearances. How could it not, we no longer have the hangovers and handicaps caused by drug and alcohol use. Not to sound cliché, but looks can be deceiving. The process of becoming truly healed requires sanity, and for us, sanity requires transformation. It is called by many names, such as personality change, religious experience, spiritual awakening, emotional rearrangement, or psychic change, among others. Whatever the hell you wanna call it, it is a difference beyond description in how a person feels and reacts to life. For our purposes we’ll call it a spiritual maturity change and it usually takes place within a few months if one follows the road-map laid out in the book. But to be clear it is not self-discipline it is something much greater. It is a New Power that flows into us and does for us what we could not do for ourselves. It is seen by its fruit, for example, the ideas, attitudes, and emotions that had been the guiding force in a person’s life undergo a dramatic change. In a nutshell, this person gets possessed by a sense of Power and well-being sufficient to allow him or her to be steady and comfortable in the face of life's day-to-day drudgery, calamities, and triumphs.
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