Recently I wrote about being powerless over my alcoholism and schizoaffective disorder. Fortunately, with both ailments, I eventually realized that there was hope for recovery… if I stuck with the A.A. program and listened to my doctor. I had to surrender the idea that I had all the answers. I needed to learn to look up, out, and away from myself and realize that a higher power (God) was in charge.
At some point after realizing that I was an alcoholic, I developed a mental illness (if it wasn’t there all along to begin with). It took a few years and a period of homelessness for me to make the realization that I had schizoaffective disorder. It was then that I truly surrendered to the idea that I was sick and that I needed help.
All of us has self-will. It’s how we make decisions on our day-to-day affairs. Alcoholics have a self will that is described as running riot and out of control. I had to reign my self-will in if I were to survive. No longer could I function as the ‘director’, someone that always had to be in charge of everything that I was associated with. This pattern of behavior exhibited itself particularly during my college years and during my first stint in graduate school. I learned that I needed to turn my will over to my higher power… to not react on instinct, but to give thoughtful consideration to my actions and not give in to my first sick thought.
This sounds easier said then done. I needed to learn balance. I needed to learn what responsibilities to take on, and what to turn away. What organizations to take part in, and how best to categorize my time. The old me did everything and was involved with everything. The new me, in order to survive, had to prioritize. I needed to learn a work/life balance unlike anything that I had ever learned before. I needed to learn how to occupy my time without resorting to drinking.
I needed to learn how to be comfortable with myself. I actually needed to learn how to be bored and be happy. I had self will run riot… that was me for several years as I probably exhibited symptoms of mania. No longer. This day, and for my future, I had to find common ground so that I might know peace.
Almost seven years ago, I truly surrender alcohol. Almost five years ago, I truly surrendered to my doctor with the self-admission that I was mentally ill. It would only be after these two very important admissions that I could start my new life and move forward in a progressive direction to happiness.