Just the other day, I overheard someone noticeably upset as they yelled into their phone about how hungover they were and how they were going to take the day off of work because of it. Man, I truly don’t miss those days whatsoever!
One of the things that Bill Wilson (co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 Steps) once said was how none of his best days drinking were better than any of his worst days sober. Listening to this person in their extreme hungover state was a great reminder of why that still remains true for me when it comes to this disease even after being over 26 years clean and sober from it.
How many times did I used to wake up in the morning over the course of my alcoholic and drug addicted days to excess did I feel awful, cranky, angry, smelly, with headaches, and filled with shame about what I had done the night before are far too many to recollect. I rarely felt good about myself on most mornings back then, most of which came during my college years and just beyond after graduation.
I most certainly remember those days when I skipped my classes because of hangovers, as much as I remember going to my classes and learning nothing as I gripped my throbbing head hoping to stifle the pain somehow, all while drinking copious amount of water to make it go away. And I most certainly remember my first job out after graduation taking days off due to hungover states, telling myself it was ok, when it wasn’t. Because ultimately, both in college and in my life after, there were people who were relying upon me and responsibilities I had that I selfishly never thought about each time I drank or drugged to such excesses, where I had to remove myself from all my obligations the next day because of it.
A sad fact is that alcoholics and drug addicts are selfish to the very core and tend to think nothing of actions such as calling off of work, never once caring about who’s affected by decisions like that, such as their boss who’s already struggling with a limited staff, who has their own challenges in life, and ends up having to force those who do show up to work, to take double duty, causing them far greater strife in the process. In my case, it was the software team I was on, who had to work overtime to cover my slack, not even getting paid for it due to being salaried.
The goal of 12 Step recovery for me has always been and continues to be one that moves away from behaviors like this. Rather, I work hard at being more of a selfless person, one who thinks about each of my actions and the ramifications they might have upon the masses, something I never did during my days of drinking and drugging to excess, where harsh hangovers in the mornings led me to doing the exact opposite.
Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and all 12 Step programs of recovery not only can prevent a person from ever having to be in a hangover state again, where bad decisions like calling off work tend to happen, but also will help an individual learn how to be far more selfless in a world where they once were far more selfish and consumed with self more than not…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson