Self Sabotage and Determination

There’s a lot of football/soccer on right now! The Euros and the Copa America!  They all are played during normal waking hours here in Texas-so if I wanted, I could veg out on like 4-5 games a day!  Trying not to do that though!  Of course I have to watch England!  I’m an England fan because of my SO. But I’m really a Spain fan!  Of course I like to keep up with France and the Italians are always entertaining.  In the Copa America, for the most part, I go for Argentina, but being in the US,   I can’t help but root for the US team-which have made through to the semis!

While watching the US play last night, I noticed several things that I can relate to drinking and getting sober.  For instance, getting cards-both yellow and red.  For those who don’t know- you can get 2 yellow cards in a game, if you get a second yellow, it becomes a red and the player has to leave the pitch and go down in the tunnel.  Can’t even sit on the bench and watch the rest of the game. They also have to miss the next 2 games.  If a foul is bad enough-say a bad tackle that could break an opponents leg or flying in with their studs up high or even cussing out the ref-the player can be given a straight red card with the same consequences.

Now, all of the players know the rules.  Some players are extremely skilled at committing fouls that don’t exactly look like fouls.  Sergio Ramos is a pro at hand balls.  Fellani uses his elbows as weapons.  Others dive, make bad tackles, etc.  Sometimes one of the officials see the foul and don’t call it-bad ref-and other times they hand out cards like it was confetti. However, I liken these players to drinkers that are really good at covering up the extent of their problem.  Sometimes they get caught, and they sit out a bit, but are back in the game doing the same thing until they get caught out again. Over and over and over.

So, last night there were several cards handed out including 2 reds. They were both stupid offenses by each player and they were deserved. One player from each team. Now their team is a man down and the player is disqualifed from the next couple of games.  In my opinion, they’ve let the team down. My first thought-as it is often when I see these stupid fouls-was self sabotage! The player sabotaged himself. And, it made me think about how when we drink and try to quit over and over and over, we are sabotaging ourselves.  Setting ourselves up to lose.  There are 22 players on the pitch. And, most of the time, not all of them get booked.  They play by the rules.  They don’t sabotage themselves or their team.

When we have a problem with additction and we keep backsliding, we are letting our team down.  Our team can be our families, our friends, OURSELVES.  Continuing to drink when we know it’s a problem only sets us up for more guilt, more health issues, more Day Ones.

For mainly this reason, I truly believe that it is really important to get to the deep psychological issues that are responsible for making us behave this way.  For keeping us in this horrible cycle of self flagellation. If a person drinks too much, too often and finds themselves having to apologize for things, going to jail (jail can be in many forms) losing and or hurting loved ones or themselves-this is all self sabotage. Why???  What is it in us that makes us hate ourselves so much as to continuously set ourselves up for more and more discomfort? More jail time?

The other thing about the game last night, was that the US won. They won by sheer determination.  Ecuador (in my opinion) was much more skillfull on the ball than the US.  They had much more finesse.  But, the US was determined. They won on true grit.  And that grit and determination got them a big win.  And to be honest, it’s possible that that same determination could carry them through to the finals-even though they may be playing Argentina-which if you know anything about soccer, the’ve got the skill sets and the finesse.

The other type of player I would like to mention is the one that takes a really hard knock, or splits their head open, or fractures a jaw or a wrist.  They don’t go off-they get treatment and go back into the game, determined to play. To play to win.  This, to me, is like the person, that in spite of many day ones, continues to keep on trying for sobriety. Who continues to give it another shot. Who keeps trying.  Who, somewhere within, is determined to tackle the addiction.

Sheer determination is what it takes to stop the insanity of alcohol abuse.  I can’t buy into the theory that a person with a drinking problem is powerless over alcohol.  While that theory may work for others, it does not work for me.  All that does is to make me feel weaker than ever.  Hate myself more.  My power lies in having the determination to stop.  To being determined even when life wants me to foul.  Determined to stop with the self sabotage.

Being determined means finding whatever tools are needed to win-therapy, blogging, support groups, detox, new friends, changing teams- whatever it takes. 
Being determined means to dig deep no matter how hard or painful it may be.

Because at the end, there’s a loving cup filled with Joy and Freedom and the Knowledge that you have loved yourself enough to live the fullest life possible…Sober.

A Caged Existence

When I was drinking, my whole life revolved around it. Even the hours or days that I didn’t drink, my life still revolved around my drinking. And my drinking effected every aspect of my life.
I was living in a cage. The kind with invisible walls. Oh, I functioned all right. Did what needed to be done work wise- went on vacations, the gym-worked on the computer, paid my bills-normal stuff. But, now I can see, that EVERYTHING was effected by my drinking- Everything was dull-even the fun stuff was lacking some of the shine.

The thing is, I always had the key to get out. Could step through those walls at anytime.
But it took years and years to see that.
To actually do that.
And it’s not until now, at this point in my newfound sobriety, that I can understand that.
Only now that I can really see how caged in I was.

That’s what addiction does, it puts you in its’ cage.

I had a brief fling with cocaine in my 20’s (being honest here!) And, I loved it! Even though I’m a pretty high energy person-I loved something that was taking me higher.
EXCEPT, after doing some-all I could do was think about if there was going to be more-when would there be more, would there be enough-crazy, hyped up. Then one night, after being turned on to some Coke, I was in the bathroom with a jittery stomach-(great benefit right? and people pay for that!) I started doing that dance in my head-when are we doing some more, etc.
And all of a sudden, I just got this flash that I wasn’t having fun. I was sitting on a toilet in a bar with a nervous stomach, totally obsessing about getting more of what put me there in the first place.
And that was it-never did it again. I realize that I was lucky in that. I didn’t have a full out habit and only did it recreationally. But, for those few hours that I imbibed, I was in a cage.

Unfortunately, the message about alcohol was far easier to ignore. And so, I just let myself become more and more caged in by my drinking. I let my life become more and more enclosed.

If I didn’t think there would be enough alcohol at a party, I didn’t go.
If I was going to have to drive and couldn’t drink, I didn’t go.
Rarely would I meet people for “a drink” after work, because why bother with just one?
If I thought it would be inappropriate to drink my usual amount, I didn’t go.
I’ve missed parts of concerts, parts of movies, parts of plays sneaking off to the “bathroom” in order to go the bar for a drink.
I swapped having a full life for alcohol.  Even if I was “there” I wasn’t. Not totally. I was either on my way to getting tipsy or consumed with thinking about getting that way. I wasn’t allowing myself to have a full experience.
I was living each day with a part of my mind always somewhere else-the destination being a bottle of wine. Or regretting that bottle of wine. Or recuperating from that bottle of wine.

And now? Now I have walked out of that cage. And it feels SO great! I’m not doing anything different in my daily life-I’m just doing it in freedom. It feels so very different than doing it in a cage. I mean the other night I almost commented to my SO how exciting it is to watch TV sober! He would’ve rolled his eyes at me!

There’s a sense of a newfound  freedom in my life. It’s amazing.

So, the message is “Step out of that cage!” I know it can seem scary, but hey, you can always go back in-you’ve got the key!