Found Strength Is Better Than Admitting Powerlessness
In The Bottoming Book by Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy, a guide for submissive or receptive partners in BDSM, I discovered this vivid contrast to AA’s Step One: “The truth is that you are always making choices, whether you admit it or not. Just as no-one can actually magically steal your power, your power is always with you, whether you want it or not.” Rather than practicing powerlessness, I needed to find my inner strength. – Dorothy H.
Mental Claustrophobia Sounds Terrible
Lucia Berlin’s A Manual For Cleaning Women contains a catalogue of the ordinary horrors of addiction. Reading it during a false start of sobriety brought on a kind of mental claustrophobia. I recognized myself. How scary. How disgusting. I drank again. I got sober again. It stuck. Two years later I read Berlin’s stories from more spacious angles. I still recognize myself, but I’m no longer scared or disgusted. I am ordinary, what a joy. – Meredith S.
Danger of Life on the Fence
(Former?) NFL wide receiver Josh Gordon described the spectrum of “moderate to severe” addiction in GQ and the danger of life “on the fence.” I’ve walked that line for almost 20 years, and my brain allows me to think that’s OK. Never no-showed work, but have been two hours late. Never got a DUI or in a wreck, but don’t remember driving home the other night. Josh’s perspective called me out – I hope that’s a good start. – Jason C.
Navigating My Own Fucked Up Family
You’d think my bottom would have been when I was 17 and almost killed my mom in a fight. I stayed fucked up another 6 years. Getting clean and sober didn’t fix us. “Stories I Tell Myself” by Juan Thompson helped me figure out how to live up to my own responsibilities as a son and accept my family for who they are. For me there was healing in acceptance and forgiveness. (Fucking sappy but true. Some people are strong enough to cut toxic people out of their lives forever. I ain’t that strong.) – Greg G.
I can’t remember how I found the Mike Tyson op-ed, but reading it I felt like I had more in common with him than I did with my own friends. I felt like, oh, this is it. We are the same. It’s not about denial, it’s about replacement and leveling up. “In order to kick it,” he wrote, “I had to replace the cravings for drugs or alcohol with a craving to be a better person.” You can be a famous boxer, or an out-of-work internet writer, but it’s the same. You have to rank your hungers. – Edith Z.
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