Friday, April 6, 2007

Damage Control Explained Pt 1 (Video Here, Too)

It's a darned good thing that Bill W. was a rotten, lousy, stinkin' DRUNK...'cos once he and Doctor Bob got together and figured out how a program with 12 simple (not easy - SIMPLE - don't confuse the two!) steps could help other drunkards, alcoholism lost its POWER over a great many people. Bill W. and Doctor Bob must have known that I would be born in their same century and that by year 2004, I would have lived 20+ years of drunkennes and NEED THEIR HELP DESPERATELY!

I'm glad that Bill W. was a lousy, drunken jerk - 'cos without his efforts, I would probably be dead by now. Or - I'd be sittin' in a run-down bar or lounge INFLICTING CHAOS on anyone near. (Have you seen "My Name Is Bill W" with James Woods (Bill W.) and James Garner (Doctor Bob)? You should!)

The 12-Steps are definitely DAMAGE CONTROL for me.

I don't think the world is out to get me anymore - therefore I treat people with respect now (change in THINKING and in action).
I don't think the only way to cope with EVERYTHING is to have a drink - therefore, I engage in many productive activities now (changes in decision-making, problem-solving, and in actions).
I don't get drunk anymore - so I don't drive drunk, fall down, pass out or throw up anymore in public! (change in behaviors, less self-centred perceptions - able to think of others)
I don't manipulate people to buy me drinks anymore - so I don't cost people money anymore. (changed behaviors, spiritual growth, and a new moral integrity).

If I never do anything otherwise HELPFUL in the world for the rest of my life, I have already alleviated a TON OF CHAOS from the world by not being drunk anymore!

People are SAFE on the roads near my house - because I'm not on the roads or walking down the street with a beer, either driving illegally or walking drunk. Yes, I actually had tickets before when I drank - for 'walking drunk.'! (No rocket science here - I got 'walking drunk' tickets - I also lost my driving many drunks do).

Am I embarrassed to say that I used to manipulate people for money (so that I could continue to drink), fall down, pass out, drive drunk, walk drunk, lose my driving permit, and create chaos?

Heck - yeah - I'm still kind of embarrassed at the things I was doing 3 years ago. For sure.

But if I share that DAMAGE CONTROL has gotten me UNDER CONTROL, then maybe someone else hearing of someone so rotten drunk that they drove drunk, got tickets for walking drunk, passed out, manipulated people and created chaos - will think that maybe THEY TOO can get their chaos under control with the help of 12 Step programs. Damage Control is available to ANYONE.

To tell the honest truth, I don't KNOW a great deal about 12 Step programs and that's the beauty of them! You don't have to understand every single detail of the 12-Steps in order to benefit.

I underwent counselling for alcohol issues before I used 12 Step programs effectively - and I 'figured out' the ghist of the counselling, then decided I was sooooo smart...and I went and congratulated myself for being so going to the bar and buying myself a well-deserved drink! My counsellor didn't get on my back, either...we were talkin' about 'harm reduction' and all that I drank less for a while and did less harm LOL. Finally - after about 5 weeks of this counselling, I decided that the counsellor was taking up way too much of my 'harm-reduced' drinking time!


12-Step program literature, when I read it, didn't mince words. The A.A. 'Big Book' used PLAIN ENGLISH that frightened me - words like:

death, lies, Higher Power, powerless, surrender, honesty, self-assessment, disease, spiritual bankruptcy.

THAT kind of language GOT MY ATTENTION.

In A BAD WAY, at first (because I ran away from it before I had read enough)...

I was scared peepless at first, and put THAT NASTY BOOK DOWN for a few months and headed out to the bar where there were PEOPLE TO PROTECT ME FROM THAT AWFUL LITERATURE! LOL. (The 'few months' stretched into 30+ months).

When I found A.A. literature again, I was at my lowest E-V-E-R. I was so depressed during hangovers that I feared for my life. Acquaintances said, around this time (and for the last 6mo of my drinking career), that when I passed out, I was 'out' for so long, and so still, with breathing so shallow that they were worried I was dead. They used to check on me - not to see if I was okay - but under the fear of having to call authorities and explain my death. My hangovers were literally 'fevered,' I had blackouts while the alcohol was leaving my system (would suddenly pass out after being awake, hungover, for a few hours), had uncontrollable shakes and definitiely worried about seizures. Not to mention the PANIC attacks...

I recalled the word 'death' in the literature, but not many others at the time. Just 'death,' 'disease,' and 'spiritual bankruptcy.' I realized that when I stopped drinking, my body was FAILING ME due to its need to acquire addictive substances - whether I decided in my mind to stop using or not. I understood that I was experiencing this 'spiritual bankruptcy,' but I STILL DREADED reading about it in the Big Book.

Naturally, at first, I thought that the Big Book was going to just give me more jargon and lists of 'scary' things and I sure didn't need to be more scared on the day that the understanding of 'spritual bankruptcy' hit home for me! I was too weak, too confused, depressed, humiliated by my own incompetency in life to just go to an A.A. meeting. Someone working at a shelter I stayed in finally asked me,

"Are you ready now - can I make a call for you?" and I said,

The shelter worker called a women's Addiction Treatment Centre for me and that began the proccess of recovery for me. A worker at the treatment centre, when I started DAY 1 of a 28-day program told me,

"Don't worry about 'The Book,' the counselling, the group - or anything...just remember, you're in here to learn 'DAMAGE CONTROL.' That's all you need to remember."

Here's a little video to remind of how DAMAGING drugs and alcohol can be.

Warning: The opening minute and a half is quite graphic and 'Adult Themed' tho' it shows some people who could be of 'Youth' age, so I believe it is appropriate enough for this blog. If you are recently 'on the wagon,' however, you might wish to let the video load and come to watch it only once you hear the vocals start.

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