I am no different than many alcoholics and addicts. I prefer a life as exciting as one lived by a rockstar, famous actress, world traveler, top secret agent, or even venture capitalist….a life filled with fervor, passion, adventure, love, extravagance, travel, and more, more, more, more, just to say the least!
To be honest, I have experienced many aspects of that life. Similar to my experience with prescription pills and alcohol, it is marvelous until it no longer is. The half life is small!! In other words, the gloss of that lifestyle wears off very quickly.
I, similar to most alcoholics and addicts, emerged from the wound searching for that life!
As early as grade school I remember identifying with people, particularly well-known people I would later learn would enter rehab or even die of addiction, people like the heroin addict rockstar Kurt Cobain, singer Billy Holiday, musician Chet Baker, actress Marilyn Monroe, or the actor River Phoenix, all of whom died from addiction.
I remember being a young Catholic school boy, clad in uniform, idolizing Robert Downey Jr or fascinated by Kate Moss and others who struggled with addiction and alcoholism before I ever knew they struggled with addiction. I was drawn to staged interventions and the thought of going to rehab. Who would have ever thought I would someday end experience both?!
When I signed up for the seemingly glossy life that is so often plastered on the pages of colorful fashion magazine pages, gossip blogs, or even television programs, I never realized what was really going on behind the scenes, until I entered recovery that is.
Through my own experiences with active addiction and later from the stories I heard in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, I learned all about the wreckage that a life of spontaneity and passion can cause - ruined family relationships, heartbreak, staged interventions, puking of alcohol, drug overdoses, regret, lost fortunes, countless loss opportunities, incomprehensible demoralization, divorce, infidelity, countless trips to rehabs, relapse, and so forth.
Despite all that, even in sobriety my first instinct is to live passionately and wrecklessly, to take chances, live with abandon, seek out fun, pursue every thought that comes to mind, even if it is at the expense of others.
With that said, that is why I have to consistently, ROUTINELY work my Twelve Step program……The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous as outlined in The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. By attending meetings REGULARLY, working with a sponsor, not to mention sponsees, and maintaining commitments of service, I recognize what is appropriate behavior, as I certainly cannot recognize what is appropriate on my own.
In fact, because I apply the principles of The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous to every area of my life I go to bed at a reasonable time every night, even if I do not want to…sort of like I went to meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous even when I did not want to until it was habitual.
As well, I go to work everyday and I am self-supporting; I go to the gym regularly, and eat healthy; I even budget now! I do all this things habitually because I kept doing them at first, even when I did not want to. Again, I learned about that (character development) in the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Today, I recognize the benefits of balance, of not being so spontaneous…thinking before I act, and pausing before I speak, all from practicing steps six, seven, ten, and eleven on a REGULAR BASIS.
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