Let go and let God—AA Slogan
In recovery, not everyone needs to hit rock bottom. In fact, most don’t need to do this. I never did. I neither lost a job because of my drinking nor a romantic relationship. Nevertheless, there came a point when I knew I had to make some fundamental changes in my life.
For me, this moment came when the woman I was dating confronted me about how much my drinking had escalated, especially in the past several months. At first, I was defensive, but that didn’t last long. It couldn’t. She was right.
The conversation that followed, which was more like a confrontation, was pivotal. It made me think long and hard about my conduct. Taking a focused look at my behavior was my first step in recovery. Instead of being dismissive or denying reality, I began to take an honest look at myself, and I didn’t like what I saw.
For quite a while, I knew I had a problem, but I was never willing to admit it—not out loud. By finally doing so, I also admitted that I needed help. I couldn’t make the necessary changes independently. Having tried to moderate my drinking numerous times, consistently failing, I admitted my weakness, which is something that was very difficult for me to do. It always is for a successful man, which I considered myself to be.
By being honest with myself, however, I made a conscious choice to free myself from the shackles of alcoholism that had enslaved me for years. It felt freeing, but it was also very scary. In some ways, I thought my life had ended. Everything I did socially involved alcohol, and I suspected I would become the most boring person in the world without booze.
This was my fear, but it wasn’t what my future became. My life did change though. I replaced fear with faith. I replaced insecurity about my future with principled conviction. I also discarded being a fun guy—often buffoonish—with being a man of wisdom, integrity, and respect. I’m not nearly as social as I once was, but I am like E.F. Hutton. When I speak, people listen, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything, especially the asinine things I used to do, when I was drinking.
If you want to change; if you want to put your self-defeating, childish behavior behind you; if you want to admit who you are and put your painful past in the rearview mirror, join me in the following prayer.
I’m not the person people think I am.
I’m not nearly as cheerful and happy.
I pretend that things roll off of my back,
But they don’t; they never have.
I want everybody to like me,
But not the real me—just the person
I want others to think I am.
I don’t want them to see how fearful,
Apprehensive, and insecure I really am.
If they did, they wouldn’t like me.
I know they wouldn’t; I’m sure of it.
It’s why I hide my true feelings,
Never allowing others to see the true me.
Father, I can’t go on like this,
Pretending to be someone I’m not,
Drinking more than ever to camouflage
All the pain and hurt in my heart,
But I can’t make the necessary changes to stop—
Not by myself. I need Your active involvement
In every aspect of my life.
Flood me with Your presence.
Fill me with Your Holy Spirit.
Guide me with Your loving hand into a new life—
One filled with good things and not bad.
Teach me once again to depend on You
Like I once did years ago. Thank You, Father,
By loving-kindness and truth iniquity is atoned for,
And by the fear of the Lord one keeps away from evil—Proverbs 16:6