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The Bottle is a Symptom

When we first start on our path to sobriety, we’re never sure of our footing.  What do we do with ourselves, with whom do we talk, how do we behave?  As we begin, we may hear things along the lines of “Keep comin’ back.” or “just keep showing up.”  We don’t really know or understand what our actual problem is, only that we don’t know how to act in the world when we’re separated from drugs and alcohol.

At the start, it’s easy to believe that our problem is the drugs or the alcohol however, that’s not the case.  The bottle is a symptom.  Our problem begins long before we take the first drink.  We start hearing the term “mental defective” and maybe that angers us.  Who is anyone to say we are, as we think we’re hearing, not right in the head?  Now, with that said, we have to take a step back and look at the truth of our situation.  We used alcohol and drugs because, in addition to liking the effect they produced, they eased our way in the world; at least we thought they did.   Why did we need an “easing” into the world?  Could it be that we didn’t think in the same way as others?  Could it be that we couldn’t see past the end of our own nose, to take into account what others needed?  Maybe it was that our skin and our souls didn’t feel quite like they fit one another and that trying to edge ourselves into the world while feeling so disconnected & separated from ourselves and others tore at us.  What does that say?  We may want to look at the idea that the problem of the alcoholic centers in his/her mind.
The further proof of that is when alcoholics have “gone back out”, meaning, after being sober for a period of time, they opted to try to drink again.  The thought process may have been along the lines that they could now drink like normal men and women.  Many times, when this happens, there is a strange mental blank spot, and an inability to truly recall the nightmare that ensued after we took the first drink.  The recollection of that incomprehensible degradation from which we suffered at our lowest point is suddenly absent from our consciousness as the glass, the bottle, the pipe, the pill, etc hits our lips.

All of this reinforces the idea that we have a skewed thought process.  Even when we know drinking and/or taking drugs doesn’t *help ease our way* any longer, we keep trying.  We are not in our right minds when we are drinking and we need to learn a new way of thinking, a better way of acting, and a more mindful way to be present and available in the world.  We must shift our actions so that our thoughts can shift and when our thoughts shift, our actions reflect that.  Our ideas keep us beholden to where we are.  Where do our ideas live?  They live in our minds.  If we aren’t thinking correctly how can that be dubbed anything less than being mentally defective?

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