Four Transitional Phases to Sobriety – My Alternative to the Twelve Steps
Phase Three – The Hero’s Saga
Mercifully the ‘rock bottom’ of my alcoholic life is behind me. Thankfully too the thinking, pondering and planning have come to an end. Although truthfully I don’t think this part of the process is ever completely done. The next phase is closer than I thought, the heroic, daily saga of sobriety. This is where the battle is really fought, normal daily life. Here lies the hard yards and where new habits are forged and character is moulded.
I knew eating out at a restaurant with friends triggered a drinking frenzy but I felt I was almost ready for the ordeal. I chose a restaurant I knew well, friends I loved and trusted and of course a partner who deeply understood my trial. Could I get through this without a drink? Without setting myself alight? I set myself up to succeed and expected nothing less. To the casual onlooker it might not look like much, but to me it was a great achievement. Something I could build on.
Lurking in those lazy Sunday lunches lay my struggle. Food and wine go together like, well – love and marriage. The associations are difficult to escape. Sushi and crispy white wine, a rich osso-buco with a classic cabernet. The hero – me, was called upon to do daily battle with the mighty foe – alcohol. Back and forth the fight raged, with no clear winner. Some days there was a small and winnable skirmish, other days a pitched battle with formidable forces.
It was biteable bits and chewable chunks that won through. A little bit each day, no drinking at lunchtime and ginger ale at supper. One day’s action gave way to this week’s habit. Baby steps, always baby steps. As I approached the 100 day mark my consistency and my integrity didn’t go unnoticed and I failed to see the necessity of making direct amends for my drunken actions (step nine). My daily actions and my honour made up for that. Harping on my about my failings was not necessary (step 10)
Prayer and meditation and conscious contact with the deeper and spiritual parts of myself and with the Universe became a habit (step 11). Beyond waking in the morning with a clear head, I was finding mental and spiritual lucidity. I was becoming present to all things in my life. This phase may well be a small saga, but as I celebrated an entire year of sobriety, I knew it was in no small measure something truly heroic.
I am aware too, that I must move on from here to one last phase. The people who get imprisoned at this stage might look like brave Ulysses, but a lifelong struggle is exhausting and it is risky. To the realist, to the protagonist stripped of ideals, I bid you farewell. I have fought well, but for now I now look to my resting place called normal.