“Miracles are nothing more than a shift in perspective.”
About a week after I quit drinking, I was listening to a life coaching podcast I really love. And I always agree with the host. So it was a real shocker when she said something that made my ears turn red with anger.
Since then I’ve been trying to reconcile what she said about a topic that’s taking up a butt-load of space in my life right now; sobriety.
I hope you laughed when I said butt-load because shit’s about to get depressing.
She basically said, “if you want to be a non-drinker, you need to think like a non-drinker. Non-drinkers don’t think about drinking. They don’t care if they drink, or don’t. They literally don’t think about it. Start having the same thoughts that non-drinkers have, and believe them.”
I went from defensive to thoughtful consideration to wanting to punch somebody.
Maybe this works for some people, but asking me to stop caring about alcohol is hilarious.
Can I stop obsessing over how cute my cat is? No! Because I care about her.
Same with alcohol.
I obsessed about alcohol when I was drinking it and I obsess about it now. I care about it, and that’s my reality.
As a fairly disciplined person, I like to think that I have control over all my choices. If I don’t want to work out, I remind myself that it’s good for me and I do the workout. If I think that maybe a two-thousand calorie dirty chai latte with extra sugar sounds like a yummy idea every morning, I remind myself of how that will harm my body and I skip it.
I have power over lattes and being a couch potato. I understand that going overboard in the sugar or laziness department will cause me harm, and I make choices in alignment with that knowledge.
But knowing that alcohol causes me harm never stopped me from drinking way too much of it.
What’s really crazy is that I’d drink the very same thing that made me feel like death to make myself feel better. A couple glasses of wine to help with the hangover was the best “solution” I could come up with. Oh brother…
It’s completely insane behavior and thank God I can now see it for what it is.
The first step of the twelve steps of alcoholics anonymous begins with admitting we’re powerless over alcohol, and I had a problem with that. I really wanted to believe that I had full control over my choice to drink.
That it was entirely up to me. Just like working out is up to me.
Except when it came to drinking I was failing miserably. It was wrecking my life and blocking me from amazing things, and I kept doing it anyway. I’d think, if I’m in control of this, then I must be messed up, weak, and incapable because I definitely feel out of control. I feel powerless.
I felt like such a failure. Why couldn’t I get this part of my life right? What’s wrong with me?
And when I finally did quit, I thought “I’m totally crushing this control thing!”
Finally making the right decision. Finally doing a good job. Finally being strong.
I’m totally showing alcohol who’s boss.
Powerless over alcohol? Pfft. Not me. And I’ve got 109 days sober to prove it.
Then on day 110 I learned something.
A very smart straight-talking woman said, “if something causes you harm, yet you continue to keep it as a part of your life, it means you’re powerless over it.”
And I felt a huge sense of relief because that’s exactly what I’d been doing.
Admitting I’m powerless over alcohol doesn’t mean I’m not responsible for my drinking. And it has nothing to do with my strength, discipline, or mindset. It just means that when it comes to a solution, I’m insufficient.
I don’t need to think like someone who doesn’t care about drinking. Because that’s not me.
I need God’s help, and I’m good with that solution.
And I think God’s cool with it too.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
-2 Corinthians 12:9