Step One

Defeat. I had to admit that I was defeated. And by what, you may ask?

Alcohol.

Alcohol had kicked my ass and I hoped I was done with it. I had what is called in A.A. terms, a ‘spiritual awakening’. I stopped drinking, after months of wanting to quit but not being able to. My ‘spiritual awakening’ occurred, while I still had housing, was employed, and a career. I was fairly lucky. Some people need to go homeless, get a DUI, or worse to come to a realization that alcohol had beaten them.

The funny part would come later, as schizoaffective disorder would do to me what alcohol couldn’t… make me homeless, jobless, and losing my career. Despite those circumstances, I did not drink throughout them. At least that part of A.A. stuck in my head, despite going crazy and not being able to function properly in society.

Eventually, I would have to admit defeat a second time. Alcohol had whipped my ass the first go around… this second time I had to develop rigorous honesty and admit that I had a mental illness. That realization would take time (a few years). Before I had my second ‘spiritual awakening’, I would eventually go off my medication. The symptoms of my mental illness came back, and I got scared. I admitted defeat once again. I admitted that I could not manage myself without outside help. In a way, I admitted defeat again.

I made the call to my doctor, and went back on my psychiatric medication. Others with this mental illness have not been so lucky. Maybe, fortunately for me, I was homeless a few years prior and the absolute pain that I went through during that time stuck in my mind. Homelessness was something that I wanted to avoid again at all costs.

I wizened up. I went back on the meds. Eventually, I got better. I admitted to myself, and eventually others, that I had schizoaffective disorder. Things progressively got better. I reestablished my scientific career. Not drinking alcohol most certainly has helped. I wouldn’t be able to maintain my sanity if I were drinking again. I -would- end up homeless again.

So, here’s to not drinking. Here’s to a better tomorrow because of it.

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