By B.H. Bates
A new year; a new beginning; another chance to start over again. Every year on the first day of January, people all around the world swear to their Gods that they will not repeat the mistakes of the previous three hundred and sixty four!
In another 364, some will celebrate an anniversary of success, others will once again swear at their Gods. For most natives, that God is the Great Spirit to whom we turn for guidance and strength.
“Oh, Great Spirit, help me give up the evils of -,” drinking, smoking, snacking, wagering, speeding, lying, pornography, pilfering, profanity . . . or whatever your damn addiction may be!
Some turn to groups like Alcoholics Anonymous for help to stay on the wagon. Others opt for re-habilitation programs and yet others turn to the aforementioned Gods, to help them get through the day. Then, finally, there’s the ‘cold turkey’ approach to sobriety, quite possibly the toughest of all the ways to avoid the red nose express.
I tried for years to beat the demon in the bottle. I first attempted the twelve steps of AA and, for some, that short walk works. But for me, it just wasn’t the path for my moccasins. Standing in front of a bunch of shaking, sweating, sober drunks made me feel uncomfortable. And some of the stories they would ‘share’ were enough to make the devil himself blush – whew! Did you ever hear the one about the hooker and the bottle of puke? Well, I did! And trust me, you don’t want to!
I did however learn a few things from their stories. One of the AA’s said that the best and worst place for the drunk or addict to wind up is the so-called ‘rock bottom’! For some, they hit ‘rock bottom’ as they sit in a cold jail cell, others can ‘hit’ it as they sit in a comfortable chair in the middle of a cozy living room.
He said his rock bottom came in the form of the shame he felt when he realized he couldn’t support his family. “It was a real punch in the gut,” he said as he shook his head. “That was the worst day and it was the last day and today is the best day and tomorrow will be one day better!”
Quite profound, but not surprising. When a person looks deep inside of themselves, they can express feelings we all know exist, yet, some won’t say them aloud, or maybe, they’re unwilling to admit. We sometimes just refuse to accept delivery!
For me, this coming New Year’s day will be “TEN” years without a drink! Ten years without suffering from one single hangover, ten years of remembering what happened the night before, ten years of not turning pay cheques into pocket change, ten years of not having to listen to my wife go on and on about dirty deeds done. And you can take it from me, that last one, in itself, is worth every ‘frigging’ delicious, mind numbing, mood moving, conscience altering, beverage ever made!
And there are other benefits to seeing the light – you can go a bar, have a coke and laugh at others as they perform their shenanigans and reflect, “That was me!”
It’s like live theatre! And the show only gets better as the night unfolds. The pick-up lines become lamer and cornier and they start to work better and faster. And, unlike, in the days of my stupid stupors – women DON’T get better looking!
There are some Bro’s who can handle the bottle and there are some who can’t. I wish I could sit down and share a social drink with friends, but I know I can’t, for me . . . . “One drink is one too many and one thousand wouldn’t be enough!” A man has to know his limitations.
Here’s a bit of advice from a Bro who has walked the walk: A lot of people will tell you to face your addition ‘one day at a time.’ I’ve found that not to be true! You only have to say no to your cravings one moment at a time, then it will pass. If you succeed you’ll feel proud and that much stronger to face the next moment. If you fail, you’ll feel guilty and weaker.
So far I’ve given up drugs, cigarettes, booze and chewing my finger nails. Now if I could only stop myself from thinking about my wife’s goodies I could become the first native Pope!
To put the last ten years in a nut shell: “Life just keeps getting better and better!” Happy? New? Year?