Thursday, July 25, 2013

We have a choice …

On my recent trip North I turned on the radio and was interested to hear Scott Simon, host of NPR’s Weekend Edition, interviewing the author Martha Grimes and her son Ken. They have collaborated on a book called Double Trouble which is a memoir of their two lives as alcoholics.

I listened carefully to their words and found them disturbing. Here is a small part of the dialogue:

“SIMON: And towards the end of this book, you folks raise an almost startling question, which is: Is sobriety worth it?

K. GRIMES: Well, yeah. I mean, if you consider, is being alive worth it? I mean, I'd be dead if I wasn't sober. So that's a pretty simple answer there.

SIMON: So, what's it like for you now every day? …

M. GRIMES: Well, now there is this emptiness that has to be filled, and I haven't found a way to fill it. But I'm not really worried that I'll go back to drinking. And when I think of one drink, I don't stop thinking of one drink. I go to the second drink and the third and the fourth, and I know what's going to happen. That's the only thing that keeps me sober.”

Isn’t that sad? I couldn’t help but compare my sober life with theirs and it made me so glad that I chose to go the AA route. I have to admit, though, that I didn’t feel that way in the beginning. My attitude was one of distrust and arrogance. I couldn’t imagine what this strange group of mismatched people in the AA meetings could possibly teach me. Then I read these words by Herbert Spencer: “There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance …that principle is contempt prior to investigation.”

Those words literally changed my life. I decided to give AA a try and it’s turned out to be one of the best choices I’ve made in my lifetime. Among other things I’ve learned that the way to fill that emptiness that Ms. Grimes spoke of in the interview was to get out of myself and to help others who were struggling. It’s like a magic potion … it always works !



Blogger NCmountainwoman said...

Very insightful post, Ginnie. So sad that so many recovering alcoholics cannot seem to find the thing that will replace the alcohol. Kudos to you and your successful battle against this horrendous disease.

8:37 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

That is the magic potion that will cure most of life's ills, not just addiction. Most of us spend too much time inside ourselves. Enjoyed this post.

4:37 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I think your magic potion is spot on.

9:55 AM  
Blogger possum said...

Bravo, Ginnie. Well said.
Sadly there seem to be some folks who just cannot manage to get to the place of helping others... it is MEMEME or nothing. And that emptiness is sadly often filled with booze or drugs.
We often discuss the difference between being sober and being dry. I believe you have true sobriety. Many folks are just dry.

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wonderful revelation Ginnie. Just this week I was discussing the joys and benefits of AA and Al-anon with several others. I am grateful for David's sobriety every day. Also several other members of my family. Dianne

7:08 AM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Very sad to read Ms. Grimes comment and surprising that a person of her intelligence would feel such hopelessness. Getting out of oneself, as you put it, is sometimes the first and hardest thing to do, Ginnie.

12:27 PM  
Blogger troutbirder said...

Most interesting. My brother in law has been sober for several decades now...

7:44 PM  
Blogger 2hope4 said...

love your blog.

7:56 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

Helping others and doing something productive with our lives is a good thing for any of us, but it seems to be the essence of finding serenity for alcoholics. I too wonder at those who have nothing with which to replace alcohol. How long does that last?

4:58 AM  

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