Near the end of that bleak November, I sat drinking in my kitchen. With a certain satisfaction I reflected there was enough gin concealed about the house to carry me through that night and the next day.My wife was at work. I wondered whether I dared hide a full bottle of gin near the head of our bed. I would need it before daylight.
My musing was interrupted by the telephone. The cheery voice of an old school friend asked if he might come over. He was sober. It was years since I could remember his coming to New York in that condition. I was amazed. Rumor had it that he had been committed for alcoholic insanity. I wondered how he had escaped. Of course he would have dinner, and then I could drink openly with him. Unmindful of his welfare, I thought only of recapturing the spirit of other days. There was that time we had chartered an airplane to complete a jag! His coming was an oasis in this dreary desert of futility. The very thing—an oasis! Drinkers are like that.
The door opened and he stood there, fresh-skinned and glowing. There was something about his eyes. He was inexplicably different. What had happened? I pushed a drink across the table. He refused it. Disappointed but curious, I wondered what had got into the fellow. He wasn’t himself.
“Come, what’s all this about?’’ I queried. He looked straight at me. Simply, but smilingly, he said, “I’ve got religion.’’
I was aghast. So that was it—last summer an alcoholic crackpot; now, I suspected, a little cracked about religion. He had that starry-eyed look. Yes, the old boy was on fire all right. But bless his heart, let him rant! Besides, my gin would last longer than his preaching.
But he did no ranting. In a matter of fact way he told how two men had appeared in court, persuading the judge to suspend his commitment. They had told of a simple religious idea and a practical program of action. That was two months ago and the result was Self-evident. It worked! He had come to pass his experience along to me—if I cared to have it. I was shocked, but interested. Certainly I was interested. I had to be, for I was hopeless.
~Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous pp.8-10
This is an excellent reading and there are many topics to choose from and much to be gleaned but one this struck me tonight, the phrase : “He wasn’t himself.”
I had the thought “What if he was? What if he was more himself than he had every been?”
It is my experience that when lost in the delusions and lies I created I was far from the true self my Higher Power wanted me to be. I felt like a lost, alone worthless piece of shit. I was hopeless.
Through the insight and peace granted to me by my Higher Power through many means, including the Program of AA I have learned that I was the one getting in the way I was the one taking my path away from what God intended. I was the problem.
This reminded me of one of my favorite saying from Cervantes in the best novel ever written (ask authors they voted) Don Quixote:
Who was Don Quixote but a man who led a shitty life and chose to live in a fantasy instead? How am I any different than that? Are my windmills any more real?
In the end Don Quixote forsook his false life and embraced his life on earth as it was and died peacefully. I pray I stay on a path that leads me to the same end.