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Day 28 – The Road to Clarity

“The more of me I be,
The clearer I can see.”
– Rachel Archelaus

It was Friday night again and I was bound and determined to change my ways and try something different. I had been drinking and using drugs for a long time and it had changed my life in ways I was not happy with. Throughout my life, I had tried many different tactics to change my relationship with these substances with varying degrees of success, but I always went back.

While I do enjoy some of the benefits of use (how it can reduce social inhibitions, help me relax, and make me feel good or even great), it has also caused much consternation and conflict in my life. I knew I needed some time away from use to revisit my relationship with these substances, get my head clear and change the trajectory of my life.

I had tried Alcoholics Anonymous and didn’t like the premise it is based on which is, I am powerless, I need to rely on a power greater then myself to stop me from using and, worst of all, I would have to quit permanently-albeit one day at a time-in order to have any hope of ever having a happy life. No, not the way for me, I thought as I picked up the phone and dialed the call in number for a group called Inklings, a phone meeting that happens every Friday at 10pm Eastern.

This phone meeting was with Moderation Management (MM), a group that helps people learn about their individual habits and behaviors. Through this self analysis, one can discover an individual plan for habit change. So, with much ambivalence, I dialed the number.

The first thing I observed was that this was a group of people who, like myself, didn’t buy the idea that it was all or nothing with alcohol and that there was no other way. No, perhaps not as well-trodden a path, but, nonetheless, a different trail. I listened. I found out that there were all kinds of resources on the MM website and if I chose–I loved that concept–if I wanted to, I could read all kinds of information that could assist me in my desire to change my relationship with drugs, which seemed to me to be a truly onerous task.

Then I heard someone mention, “a thirty day” He talked about quitting alcohol for just thirty days, then evaluating where he was at with his relationship to alcohol, and then start drinking again with a fresh outlook. Wow, I thought, I couldn’t even remember the last time I had been without substances for a few days let alone a month. But the seed was planted and I began rolling the idea around in my mind.

I began reading. In thirty days, the pattern of habit is broken and the mind has the opportunity to reset itself and begin anew, I read. Also, if I didn’t like being without, after a month of reflection, I could go right back to my old ways if I liked. I could give it a try and just see what it was like to have a clearer thought process, I truly was tired of the behavior drugs and alcohol had allowed me the excuse of engaging in. On the website, I also discovered tools that had been tried by other members that I could use,

So I said, “Why not?”

It was about three weeks later that I put down the pipe and bottle and embarked on my first “thirty day” – the longest time I had been without in years. The first two days were the toughest for me by far. It was a whole new way of life for me. I rationalized with myself that I really didn’t need to do this. But, then, I would counter myself by asking, if it weren’t so hard then what was the big deal? I should forge ahead, Which is exactly what I did, learning all the way. After the first few days, I let go of the fact that it wasn’t even an option to drink and began the task of analyzing both my use and life.

I struggled with ideas like, why did I use anyway? Did I really want to put my body under such abuse and stress over what was supposed to be a “Good Time?” I was making my self sick because I  wanted fun? I enjoyed befuddling my mind just to be what I was calling being happy? Oh, it gets deeper then that. What did I really want outf life anyway, and was I really going to waste this gift of life for drugs? Oh yes, I went deep that first thirty and I haven’t stopped since. I got all the way down to, what is the true meaning of my life and how did I really want to enjoy it?

Well, my first “thirty” was over two years ago. I am still finding my way in my quest to discover myself and my desire for growth, change and self-discovery. I have learned so much about myself, my use, and what I want in my life. I continue my quest for knowledge about my own self-discovery and practice the art of self-control. I still can be found on the Friday night Inklings calls, and, occasionally, on the more recent phone meetings on Tuesday nights at 9 pm EST. These calls have been a supportive environment that has helped me complete many thirty day periods of abstinence.

While I am still working through my own foibles and trials and tribulations, I have made lots of major life decisions that have forever changed the way I see myself and my use. I now have a much clearer perspective on my life and where I want to take things. Life is full of challenges and choices, so deciding to try something new and taking my power into my own hands has been a big step towards my freedom.

Post Submitted By: Libbi, MM Member