When my partner and I were down in Columbus hanging out just over a week ago, his phone began blowing up with messages from family asking if we were ok. We soon discovered that a few houses over from us some guy had gotten wasted and high, lost his mind, and been firing shots in the air until he barricaded himself in his house. While his story came to an end a few hours later by getting arrested and taken to jail, it was a strong reminder of why I stopped drinking and drugging. While some may think this is merely an extreme example of what could happen when alcohol gets consumed in large quantities, this sadly can be very normal behavior for the chronic alcoholic, just like I once was.
Thankfully, when I was still active in my own disease of alcoholism and drug addiction just over 25 years ago now, I never got to the point of wielding a gun and firing shots in the air in any of my states of getting wasted or high, nor did I ever get incarcerated. But truly, I know that if I had stayed on the path I was, it was only a matter of time before either happened. The fact is, alcoholism, unchecked, never gets better, it only grows worse and so do the consequences of living in it.
I thank God when I hear stories like this. Stories that remind me why I remain clean and sober in a world where craziness seems to becoming the norm these days. A world that has been drastically altered in a COVID landscape. When COVID first hit our world back in mid-March, one might think after having a quarter century of sobriety from alcohol and drugs, that I’d be relieved when there were no meetings to attend in person anymore, given the tens of thousands of hours of meetings I had attended up to that point in my life. That it was actually a good thing for me because I could take a break from it for a while. Ironically, it had the exact opposite effect on me and I’d even go so far as to say that the effect was similar to that of removing insulin from a diabetic’s life.
What many fail to understand is that 12 Step recovery meetings are critical to the recovering alcoholic and drug addict, because they are the daily medicine we need to be reminded of how crazy it can get out there by just picking up one more time. It’s in the rooms we often hear stories from people doing things like getting massively drunk or high and wielding things like a gun in a temporary state of insanity. It’s where we tend to hear how someone has gone off their rails and gotten arrested or done something else pretty insane. And it’s that insanity that provides each of us a wonderful dose of medicine to stay clean and sober for one more day, even when our egos attempt to tell us in the worst of times or the best of times, or in these crazy COVID times, that maybe a drink or a drug might be exactly what we need for a little comfort.
While I can’t honestly say the exact path I’d take if I picked up another drink or drug again, I’m not willing to take the risk, even for the ease and comfort it might initially provide in doing so. I’m not willing to risk losing my mind and doing something so insane that it harms myself or another and lands me in an even darker place than the one that this COVID world has taken me to at times.
For as sorry as I am to hear about one wasted person’s demise or another person’s relapse in any room of recovery I attend, I’m grateful I remain on the course I do, staying clean and sober and fighting to attend whatever meeting I can, because I know it’s exactly the medicine I’ll need for one more day not to pick up a poison that will most certainly destroy my life in the end…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson