21 November 2007

Recovery meme

I'm not entirely pleased about being tagged with this. In general, these things remind me of those stupid chain e-mails I get all the time. Or the sickeningly smarmy religious, spiritual, joke or greeting card e-mails I get from people I otherwise think of as friends. Of course, in general, I can be a really self-righteous intellectual asshole concerning just about anything.

If part of the rules said I'd get seven years of bad luck or other bad things would happen to me if I don't comply, I absolutely would not. But they don't, so I'm gonna do it. If for no other reason than because of the tremendous respect I have for the Junky's Wife, who, after all, says she loves me and wants to be my BFF.

Here are the rules:
  1. Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
  2. Post these rules on your blog.
  3. List seven things you're grateful to have learned in recovery.
  4. Tag seven people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
  5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.
Note that I'm doing this without having read what anyone else has written in reponse to this. That will help me ensure that these are really mine.

Seven things I'm grateful to have learned in recovery

I see it's specifically about the things I've learned in recovery. Well, that narrows it a little bit. The first two are things that I often refer to in telling my story or just sharing in meetings.

  1. I'm grateful to have learned that my Higher Power didn't hold all those awful things I did against me, and therefore I don't have to either. The way I usually say this is that the first great gift I got from A.A. was the ability to look myself in the mirror every morning, and feel good about who I saw looking back. Over the 26 years I drank, the load of guilt, shame and remorse became so heavy that I thought I'd never feel this way again.
  2. I'm grateful to have learned that I'm nothing more than a garden-variety drunk. I'm essentially no different in that respect from anyone else who has ever come in the rooms, or who will eventually come in the rooms, or who is qualified to come in the rooms but will die, be institutionalized or be jailed before they make it. This is a lesson that took four years to learn well enough to pretty much stop having the thought that I'm somehow different.
  3. I'm grateful to have at last learned how to truly serve and worship the God I've always acknowledged in my life: by working the 12 Steps of A.A. in my affairs.
  4. I'm grateful to finally have discovered a grand and real purpose to my life: that of helping still-suffering alcoholics recover from alcoholism.
  5. I'm grateful to have learned that I want to be like so many of the people around me in this Fellowship and particularly in service to this Fellowship. It's like have a second, but much larger and more widespread family. This is truly ironic in that it's these very people I used to scorn and to scoff at when I was sitting on my barstool.
  6. I'm grateful to have learned that I'm not always right, that it's not even important that I be right. I still quite often forget this, but usually—I think—eventually remember it. Even if I don't tell anyone.
  7. I'm grateful to have learned that time is not all that important. What's most important is today's sobriety. The only worthwhile thing about time is the way I may have used it (i.e., to form good habits, to identify who's got what I want (so I can mold my habits around what they do), to make myself ready to have God remove my defects, to make amends and, above all, serve others—this list could be extended ad infinitum).

This last item is particularly poignant to me right now. I've come across an astonishing number of people lately who had lots of time, went out and, now that they're back, are obsessed with the time they had. They say things like, "No one can take away the 20 years I had before I picked up." Saturday morning a small group of friends and I confronted another friend who was in denial about having gone out earlier in the week. She was saying things like this. It was crystal clear to me—heart-breakingly so—that we were arguing with the demon Alcohol, not with the person I love.

OK, I did it. What's still left is to tag some folks. I'm gonna take the seven pretty loosely. One comes immediately to mind: Daily Piglet, you've been tagged. I'll find some more later and post an addendum.

(BTW, I have one final complaint: is this really a meme? Or did someone just pick the word because it sounds all hip and technologically cool?)

Addendum, posted 23 Nov 2007:

I'm also tagging my fellow bloggers at Down from the Mountain; Geisha, Interrupted; Letting go; Recovery Archive; the smussyolay; Stay-at-Home-Mayhem; This can't be it and Thorn In My Flesh (née Stay-At-Home Motherdom). I was also gonna tag Vicarious Rising but Scout beat me to it. Yeah, I know that's nine; I can count. So what?


Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Memes feel a bit like chain mail to me too -- but for some reason, I have fun playing anyway. I'm totally cheating because I've read everyone's answers. I'd steal #6, but I am always right. ;)

Namenlosen Trinker said...

Mary, you have the consistent ability to make me laugh. Thanks!

Johnnyboy said...

I like the gratitude list. It makes me see that you are on the right path, and that I am there with you. I may sometimes balk and stamp my little foot, but I always end up back on the beam.
The 'years' thing is odd...I mean they have been there, accumulated time, and so forth...But they were the ones who took their time away, not some random accident. That's why I don't like the word 'slip'...It implies being acted upon, when we all know who took the first drink.

Piglet said...

well i can see you are going to be a pain in the ass, i guess it takes one to know one :)


sharonsjourney said...

I got tagged too, but wasn't told the rules, so I didn't list 7, or tag anyone else. I identify the things you listed, good ones! We are so blessed. Another thing I learned is that there is no graduation, you don't arrive. In other words we get to keep learning, growing & changing, what a gift!

Recovering Wino said...

I need to participate...I think I've been tagged a couple times now..I usually feel like you about memes but I should take some time to reflect on gratitude.

thejunkyswife said...

I like the memes because they make me write. It has nothing to do with being codependent and eager to please the person who tagged me...nothing whatsoever. Nope. Not me.

Namenlosen Trinker said...

JW, you and your crony MPJ both make me laugh out loud. Thanks!

Mel said...


Makes me sad to hear the disease talkin'--but she's right. No one can take away those twenty years...makes me sad that she handed them over....

I needed to read what you wrote--
Thank you.