I Couldn’t Afford to Drink
(but I Drank Anyway)
There were many times in my using that I couldn’t afford what my drinking habits had become.
There was a time in the beginning that I could, really I could.
You see – starting out by acting the big shot when going into the bar, always giving over more money to the barkeep in the hope that they remembered me the next time around. Always acting like I had “It” to give away.
Gave me the false sense of security that I seemed to need at that time.
Now don’t get me wrong, there really was a time that I had the means to have “It”.
Thinking what I thought was a good time – not a very long time – but it was there nevertheless.
As my using progressed so did my spending habits.
It seemed at the time if I worked more I’d get more, so I could spend more, so I worked more.
Never seeing the vicious circle my life had become.
But as I drank, the alcohol started to take more of a need to drink.
Becoming what I have found for me and heard in the halls of recovery that it was no mere habit.
I think we all have some sort of story of this behavior.
One of mine in particular stands out and this happened way before I came into recovery.
I headed out one afternoon taking the last five dollar bill off the counter of my home, knowing that that had to last til pay day – which was two days away.
I sat down in my favorite bar chair and had my first drink.
Trying to get my thoughts in order.
You know those priorities that we have.
The ones that stood in front of my drinking.
Telling the barkeep all my woes – how life isn’t fair.
How and get this – how I didn’t have enough money to get the things I needed or better yet, what I thought I deserved in life.
Just to give over the last five dollars to pay for my drinks and heading home.
Pulling into my driveway thinking – what was in the house to drink.
Trying to remember if I had any alcohol that I “placed” for that rainy day.
Getting in the house to hear that question –
“Did you pick up the milk and bread that I asked while you were out?
I saw that the money was gone off the counter top –
You didn’t forget did you?”
It still amazes me how when I was in the thick of “It” – my using
– when I didn’t think I affected anyone but myself, how wrong I was.
Enough time has gone by since then and I can still see the look of disappointment on my partner’s face when I had lied,
– that I had forgot
– I’ll be right back
– looking in vain for some change under the seats of my truck – the floor mats too.
Saying that prayer, “Just enough, please God – please be enough.”
So I could afford the things that I – no – that we really needed.
I think we all have stories like this one.
This is just one of many stories of what alcohol cost me most of the time.
That I Couldn’t Afford to Drink (But I Drank Anyway)…
Every so often, when I sit by myself is the time when my mind can go south.
Falling into those thoughts of, “Not measuring up.”
Not just to the folks around me – but those messed up thoughts of myself.
Being overly sensitive to the things around me.
People, places, and things.
Saying that serenity pray, not just in the morning – but throughout the day.
Even after all this time in a program of self help.
I’ m still hit with the, “What the hell is this all about?”
Not that I think I’m any different.
Oh sure, sometimes in early recovery there was a lot of that.
But I really do try today on changing those ways.
Just how much of turning the other cheek is one supposed to do?
My friends tell me, “A lot!”
But come on, learning to pray when the tuff times hit, is all good and dandy.
But it’s not about that.
When I first took those certain prayers something wondrous happened.
Later as I learned to implement those prayers in my daily life things started to change. Okay, wondrous isn’t the first thing that pops into my head – more like the realizations that with certain prayers, most of the things I go through can be made better with, grace, honor and dignity.
Oh, and throw in some serenity prayers throughout the day really helps a lot too!
For those certain prayers, It’s not so much as the prayer themselves – it’s the belief and faith when we say them that matter.
I was always a pitch hitter when it came to prayers.
“God, help me get that job.”
“God, get me that car.”
“God, why can’t you make them see what a great person I am.”
‘Til I was saying, “God, get me out of this mess.”
Or, “God, I hope they have what I need.”
To, “God, please. I can’t go on.”
It’s not that I didn’t have a relationship with a higher power.
I just never had a relationship with a higher power.
That sounds so weird – but it’s the truth.
When I’m in my head too much, over thinking of a situation.
Either at work or home, with family or friends.
Going over the day thinking, “What did they mean by that?”
“Why isn’t this working?”
To, “What’s wrong with me?”
Having a God of my understanding today is what helps when life gets me down.
Not only the good times where I have to watch out for my pride and take all the credit.
To wallowing in self-pity where I’m not living in the solution.
I’ve talked to many people through the years in and out of recovery about faith.
About what they practice on a daily basis to there ritualistic beliefs.
When it comes to prayers.
There’s are so many different ones.
Ones I’ve come to use, either on a day to day routine or just because of the moment. When I started out praying many years ago in recovery.
I started from the ground floor.
My building of a relationship with God was slow and steady.
My spirituality, as I often say, “Is not the same as yesterday.
Last week. Ten years ago. It’s constantly changing.”
As I rely more on God. My relationship grows.
The more it grows, the more beliefs I have, and as that happens, the more faith comes forth.
But self doubt does come in.
Over confidence raises it ugly head.
Still showing me that there’s still times when I’m growing.
Other than my mother – no one really ever showed me how to pray.
Some through the years have told me how to as they do.
I’ve heard, “Fake it ’til you make it.”
Or, “Pray to something. As long as it isn’t yourself.”
We all can see miracles’ everyday as long as we’re willing to see them.
One in particular was towards the lasts days of my moms life.
She was very spiritual.
She had her foundation on solid ground.
By the time she passed on she had been bed redden for about three months.
As her health slowly slipped away, she ended up having bed scores.
As the nurse, myself, my father, and partner would take turns turning her in bed.
Keeping her clean.
Washing and disinfecting her wounds.
She would be in and out of moments of clarity.
Some moments she was very with it – others well she would mistaken her husband or me for someone else.
Those moments when she would say that she’s on the second step.
We would ask her what she meant. “Being on the second step?”
She would look at us saying, “That God (Jesus), is not ready for her yet.
That she was being healed before she went home.”
I can tell you it was very surreal, very weird, and sometimes even spooky.
My partner and I along with the nurse and dad would talk about how my mother beliefs in God were.
I saw that her faith never wavered.
Even at its worst and here’s the kicker.
One day the nurse and I were washing her up.
As I was cleaning a bed sore on the back of her calf, I said to the nurse,
“Look at this, it looks like it’s okay!”
“Don’t pick it!” The nurse said, “Those are deep wounds.” She added.
“I know, but it looks much better.” I told her.
Taking the wash cloth and slowly cleaning around the edge of her wound, it started to peel away.
Too our amazement the scab fell away and we looked at brand new skin.
“This shouldn’t happen.” She said aloud.
“I’ve been doing this type of work for many years.
That was a deep wound.” She said once again.
My mom then spoke up saying, “That God (Jesus), was healing her for her journey home.”
I prayed a lot through the years, but I can tell ya seeing miracles is one of a kind.
Hearing my mom tell us that she’s on the second step, almost there,
was beautiful and terrifying all at the same time.
By the time she did pass away, there was not one bed sore left.
Her beliefs never wavered,
her faith grew so much stronger and her prayers always grateful – even at its worst.
So when I’m in my own head.
Having those, “Poor me’s.”
Letting people, places, and things run around in my head,
I can fall back on that relationship with God.
Building that foundation with a high power.
Keeping me right size.
There’s a saying that goes like this, “We all go out the same way, shortness’ of breath.”
It’s what I do with those breaths in all those in betweens, as I say my Prayers…