Recovery From Alcoholism Is A Superheroic Effort!
Most alcoholics never make it into recovery. They die prematurely – in car accidents, from liver and heart diseases, or from a variety of other related causes. Of those who find the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous or similar institutions of recovery, a large percentage “falls off the wagon” and many of them will never achieve sobriety again.
This article is dedicated to those who’ve mustered the willpower to turn over what little ego-based will and power they had left to a higher guidance (higher power). Thus they could bear witness to millions who came after them (myself included) of a working solution to a seemingly hopeless problem.
Quick! A Little Bit Of My Alcoholic Background Story…
Let’s call it what it is: a drunkalog.
At home, there was always alcohol available. We lived good – and we celebrated a lot. Beer is the “iced tea” of Bavaria. And schnapps is like medicine for a stomach upset from huge portions of pig knuckles. Most folks can drink some times, and they can leave it alone at other times. Not me. I drink until I pass out. And then I start over, right away. I’m an alcoholic.
My drinking started to get out of control when I was in my early twenties. My success as musician and record company executive provided me with money and plenty of occasions for socially acceptable excesses.
I drank heavily for about 20 years, until I “hit my bottom” in 1987 and walked through the doors of AA. I “fell off the wagon” in 1993, and I finally sobered up for good in 1997.
The picture above was taken last year, when I was a few months into my second decade of sobriety. However, it shall symbolize the countless situations when this alcoholic could be found dancing on tables, wearing something funny – and not much else.
My Superhero – My AA Sponsor Buddy T.
Did he save my behind? You bet!
Shortly after my return to AA, in January of 1997, I asked Buddy T. to be my sponsor. He agreed and we embarked on a 7-year friendship that ended when Buddy left for the “big meeting in the skies”. My superhero died in 2004.
A sponsor in AA is someone who enjoys a solid sobriety, works the 12-step program successfully in his own life, and then shares this experience with a newcomer.
Buddy T. is my superhero because he pointed out things to me that I could not see. One set of questions, in particular, stayed with me to this very day. Whenever I complained to Buddy about my financial worries (at least once or twice a week!), he asked me:
“Do you have food in your fridge?” (Yes)
“Did you pay your rent for this month?” (Yes)
“Do you have gas in your car so you can drive to work?” (Yes)
“Are all your bills paid for today?” (Yes)
“Then what are you worried about? Tomorrow is a whole new day and anything can happen between now and then.”
From the moment I started working with Buddy, to this day, 11 1/2 years later, something always happened to rescue me from any financial difficulties. Usually, extra business from unexpected sources would materialize at the right time.
But sometimes it was almost eerie – like when my German music royalty company made a mistake and credited my account with $4,000 for a song I had not written. They subsequently let me “pay it off” by withholding my earnings for the next few years, which constituted an “interest-free loan” for the right amount, at exactly the right time.
Another time I had a car collision with minor body damage. With a high deductible, I couldn’t afford the repair costs and delayed filing the claim. 18 months later my car was stolen and recovered with further damage. Naturally, I was extremely upset over my “bad luck”. Buddy reminded me to watch out for “something good” coming from this situation. One month later, the insurance company declared it as “totaled” and offered to pay me the value dating back to the earlier collision incident. I received the insurance check over $4,200, and I sold the car “as is” for $1,000. What a deal, considering that I had bought it 5 years earlier for $6,900!
One might call these stories “coincidences”. I don’t think so. Experiences like these are being shared in AA meetings on a daily basis. They are the results of a “Higher Power” working in our lives. Before I met Buddy, my circumstances were almost of an opposite pattern – everything that could go wrong, went wrong. I contribute my better life only to Buddy’s guidance towards a more spiritually-oriented life style.