(The Fog is clearing. After the weekend, and meetings and working with my sponsor, Monday will be a genuine post, if all are accepting to that?)

At six months’ of sobriety, I hit the wall in big way. Even though I had started to work the Steps, even though I was attending lots of meetings, had a sponsor, and read AA literature daily, I felt more lost and despairing than at any other time in my life. It was not the kind of sickness, demoralization, shame and remorse I had felt after a terrible binge. It was something altogether different, for which I was not prepared. It was a sincere conviction that life would not be worth living sober, a certainty that I could never handle the pain of existence without something to shield me from it. At the worst of this episode, I sat on my bed with a gun in my hand, lifting it up and putting it down, trying to work up the courage. My beloved dog sat in front of me with unmistakable knowing. He looked at me as seriously as an animal could ever look at a human. He told me not to do it, so I put the gun away and cried all night instead. Looking back, I see that moment as the last part of my physical withdrawal from drinking. The body had learned to live without it, but the brain cells had not given up their craving. The malaise hung over me a few more weeks. I told my drunken handyman that I was thinking of quitting AA and having a drink. In his own impaired state, he looked at me and said, “aren’t you supposed to call someone?” I tried every suggestion given to me, even the one “don’t leave before the miracle.” In the end, that was the only one that worked. One day I woke up and the feeling had lifted. I was free. Although I have had very hard days in sobriety since then, I have experienced nothing so staggering as that state of anguish. When I see Newcomers suffering in the throes of early sobriety and its shattering changes of mind, body and spirit, I tell them it will get better. It does get better.

Photo courtesy of MX

Photo courtesy of MX

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