By the time I entered New Life House, I had become afflicted by full-blown alcoholic insanity. In short, this is the stage of use when the consequences of my drinking and using were not a matter of if, but when.
Despite the fact that I had dropped out of college twice, ended up in multiple mental institutions and furiously ran through a worsening cast of lower companions, I found that I still could not admit, to my inner most self, that I was powerless over alcohol (and drugs) and that my life had become unmanageable. The insanity of it all was that even though time and time again I proved to myself that I could not drink without suffering costly repercussions, I still had this twisted hope that “this time would be different.”
Through repeatedly having my faults exposed to me over a short and intense period of time, I gained the humility necessary to take an honest appraisal of who I really was. In doing so, I was finally able to take the first step towards recovery by surrendering to the fact that, without a shadow of a doubt, I am an alcoholic.
While I considered this to be a triumph and a relief, I still had not been introduced to the solution to my alcoholism. All the measures I had taken before to alleviate my alcoholism had failed and thus I felt immensely afraid that I would fall back into the alcoholic insanity that I had suffered from for years before finally admitting to myself that I needed help. The next ingredient I needed was to gain the ability to approach this problem with an open mind. This, in essence, was what the second step looked like for me, which introduced me to the solution: a belief that a higher power could relieve me of my alcoholic insanity.
It was a leap of faith, but I took it and started to get into the steps. I began to see that I was to blame, in some way shape or form, for all of my problems. I learned that I struggled with a specific set of “character defects” that led me to fall into the same cycle of insanity, not only in terms of my drinking and using, but in my relationships with others, and my general outlook on life. From there I was able to properly make amends to those I had harmed because I had the self-knowledge to understand what mistakes I was owning. With a clear mind and a clean conscience I began to devote more time to strengthening and investigating my spiritual connection with the higher power that had initially given me the spark of hope that propelled me into right action. My experience had given birth to some wisdom and intuition that I began to want to pass on to others. I began to feel a part of something greater than myself as I saw the light in my peers’ eyes flicker on, as they had for me when I had taken that fateful first step out of insanity and into recovery.