At this point, I thought it appropriate for a little narcissistic retrospection.
One of the most annoying and important questions I've been asked of late is, "Why???". People important to me and new acquaintances alike want to know how someone who seemingly led such a charmed life in recovery for over 5 years could possibly throw it all away by relapsing. One of the most poignant examples of this was a letter I received while incarcerated in 2004 from a dear niece of mine.
In it she stated that she understood the disease concept and all, but that she wasn't letting me off the hook that easy. She wanted to know "why?"...she also let me know that I was the reason that she would never allow a drug into her body. This is someone I have known since her birth and shared a fondness for beyond words. It hit home hard and clearly illustrated how hard it is to love someone struggling with addiction.
As time goes on and I become spiritually stronger (I use that phrase with no little amount of pause), I am becoming more comfortable in the admission of my small amount of sober time (112 days abstinent at this writing) and with the retelling of how I fell from Grace. Certainly that tale is still taking shape as I grow in understanding, but I believe I have a decent grasp of it now.
For those uninitiated a relapse usually begins far before the physical act of drinking, drugging (insert your particular brand of beast here) actually happens.
In my case, I can offer no excuses...after all, 5 years of active recovery cannot leave one ignorant of the facts. What I can extract from the horror show that I initiated once again last spring is a clear pattern of imagined self-sufficiency, self-obsession, and defiance that perhaps only an addict and their loved ones can know.
It didn't happen overnight...my "slide " may be traced as far as 18 months or so prior to my 1st drink. Without getting too personal, let me just say that I was fully to blame for all of the decisions I made over that course of time. Those decisions eventually led me to a place of loneliness and shame that; when the chips were finally down led me to believe only a drink could extinguish them...I had placed myself beyond human aid.
My largest failure as I see it today was not availing myself to the power and love of my Creator when I needed Him the most. The Big Book of AA talks about "strange mental blank spots" experienced by the alcoholic, which prevent him/her from recalling the acute pain beset upon them by the last drink of even a few weeks or months (in my case years) ago.
It's actually a form of insanity (no, I'm not trying the insanity plea here)... The notion that one can "repeat the same mistakes over and over again and expect different results" as many define it. But alas, I digress.
Bottom line...I drank to quell the pain with absolutely no thought to the consequences to myself or anyone else and I was lucky indeed to have survived.
For those that care about an addicted person in their lives there can be perhaps no greater mystery to this cycle and few events can more traumatize or hurt them than witnessing it.
The long nights wondering if the loved one is dead or alive and in some cases sadly changing the locks for fear of what that person might do out of desperation are but a few examples of the trauma inflicted upon the family and caring friends of the addicted person.
So, it is with the sobering (pardon the pun) notion of taking personal responsibility; whilst giving the disease its due that I make a humble beginning on the journey to a contented and well amended life (please God).
It's humbling indeed to know deep in one's heart that it will take a lifetime to even begin the amending of one bad decision, but lucky are they that get to begin that work...lucky indeed am I.