I’ve always been an overthinker,
So, when I first entered sobriety, I dug in and started reading anything and everything I could get my hands on, related to addiction, misuse, overconsumption. Possibly looking for loopholes, but also looking for hope, a light at the end of the tunnel.
One thing that continues to perplex me, is the discussion around whether addiction is an affliction of body or mind.
Most in the AA community, see alcoholism as a ‘moral deficiency’ or a lack of ‘spiritual fitness’. We know that ‘those who do not recover, are not at fault, they seem to have been born that way’. The lack the ability to be completely honest with themselves. Is it really the inability to be honest that keeps an addict from recovery? That is a hard pill for me to swallow. I understand the power in the first step, that the admitting to oneself that there is an issue, is paramount in recovery. And if you can’t admit this, is that because you can’t be honest, or you aren’t ready, I don’t know
Then there is the Medical Perspective… Basically relating to pathways between different parts of the brain that are overstimulated when alcohol is consumed and over time, these disruptions in brain chemistry lead to dependency.
So, where do I fall on this spectrum? Am I a man of shattered morals or simply sick? I don’t know, I can see both sides:
1- There was a time in my using that I was physically dependent on alcohol, I couldn’t do anything without it. My body was ravaged by anxiety and sickness and I knew that the one thing that would calm me down, was alcohol. This reprieve was very short lived, but it was effective, and this cycle perpetuated itself, to varying degrees, for years.
2- I also know that I have moral defects, I am manipulative, selfish, and have been hurtful. Some of these were caused by my desire to use, some of them could very well have been created from my abuse, but never the less, they are there.
I don’t see either of these an excuse, or even an explanation. But I feel that having an understanding of the cause and effect of this ‘disease’ helps me to understand and move forward, work on my character flaws and be aware of triggers.
But in reality, it boils down to this…
I feel better when I am sober, I am thankful to beyond the physical need for alcohol, and for me, right now, staying away from that first drink works for me.