I was found guilty and sentenced to sixteen months in federal prison. My two co-defendants received twelve-month sentences and chose to remain free pending appeals, while I chose to go into prison and get it over. I had learned how to live life on life’s terms and not my own. From somewhere back in my high school days, I remembered a poem that says something to the effect of, “Cowards die a thousand deaths, a brave man only once,” and I wanted to do what had to be done. I was terrified of walking into prison but told my children that I could not come out the back door until I walked through the front. I remembered that courage was not the absence of fear; it was the ability to continue in the face of it. ~ AA Big Book pp.526
I’m Josh and I’m an Alcoholic. I was raised and trained to be an alcoholic. The reading discusses responsibility and taking ownership for owns own actions. I did not know how to do that. I never had to.
I don’t know about you folks but I had a shitty childhood. Well not all of it but some very shitty things happened: my parents split, I think I witnessed some abuse, I was kidnapped across international borders (twice)…yeah stuff happened.
My point is that I was kind of given a free ride. If I acted out or misbehaved they let it slide. “Josh has been through so much….” and so forth. If I withdrew (and I did) and cut off and severed my connection with people and reality I was also given leave to do so. I could kind of do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.
In retrospect I could have gotten away with a lot more shit than I did. I kind of wasted it. But I did get away with a lot. If my girls tried to do half of the things I did they’d be in such deep shit.
Being immune to repercussions led straight into my drinking career and was reinforced by it. I was continuing the belief that I could drink and lie and cheat and do whatever and not have to be responsible for it. I knew I was being an ass so I lied and misdirected and manipulated in order to avoid consequences. And in my experience it is a lot easier to keep doing shitty awful things when you don’t have to answer for them.
Since rebuilding a relationship with my Higher Power, since coming into the rooms and making that decision to hold myself accountable I’ve stopped doing those shitty awful terrible things. Living each day to hold myself accountable for my thoughts and actions prevents me from committing them. Knowing I will not hide behind lies and I will be answerable to my Higher Power, to my friends and family and the people in this room encourages and strengthens my ability to be honest and do the right thing.
And now, I can stand there and look someone in the eye and meet them on even ground. I can stand there and look in the mirror and look myself in the eye.