In my active addiction I thought I knew everything. I had all the right answers, I knew what everyone was thinking, I knew how everyone was feeling and most importantly I knew best. I would never take anyone’s advice or heed any warning signs that my life was unmanageable. Any outsider looking in at my life would definitely say “you have a problem,” but I just couldn’t see it, I had everything under control. Nothing could shake my massive ego, which is pretty funny because I never thought I had an ego. To me, ego was bragging about material things you owned, but my ego was based on I’m smart and I know what I’m doing. Walking into a new job and saying to the worker who has been there 10 years, “Here, let me show you how to do this.” All of my failures and poor decision making finally landed me in treatment.
I went into treatment not for myself, but just to get my family off my back so they would not be mad at me anymore. I knew nothing about treatment or a 12-step program, but I knew I could do 30 days anywhere, so I went. During the first 30 days in treatment, I flew under the radar, counting the days til my release. My mentality was “I will play this game, but this program is not for me, I’m not an addict, nor am I an alcoholic, I have just had some bad luck.” I never thought I was powerless, and I definitely didn’t think my life was unmanageable.
Toward the end of 30 days, it was recommended that I stay for another 30 days and I absolutely did not want to do that, but reluctantly I did agree. That was my first action of willingness. On the 30th night in treatment I was arrested and taken to jail as a consequence of my past actions. I never thought my life was unmanageable but seeing that I had just been arrested in treatment, I’d say that’s pretty unmanageable.
While in jail, stewing in my anger over how things had played out in my life, I had my first spiritual awakening. I thought, “maybe it’s me, maybe I need to change. Maybe I need to stop being bitter, cynical and jaded towards everyone and everything, and maybe, just maybe, I really don’t know everything.” After my time in jail, I went back to treatment and truly surrendered. I went back in with an attitude of “I don’t know what to do or how to live my life, please help me.” I became willing. I started reading the big book, started giving feedback and started really putting effort into my assignments. I will admit taking suggestions at first was difficult, because my head was fighting me the whole time, it was me still thinking I know best or that I can fix all these problems myself. I was holding on to my old thinking and old ideas that never worked for me. The thing that really motivated me were going out to meetings and seeing other people who went through my same situation who were happy, legitimately happy, and I was drawn to them, and I sought out their guidance. I wanted to know what they did because they had something I wanted: Peace and serenity. These things were foreign to me, but I knew if I just listened to what they had to say I could someday be where they are and know peace. That day has come for me, and it all started with the acceptance that i don’t know everything and that I am powerless over alcohol and my life was unmanageable.