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Fit Recovery’s Recovery Dictionary:  The Definition of Terror.

Have you seen the movie Clean and Sober?  Michael Keaton starred in that one.  How about Leaving Las Vegas?  Nicholas Cage did that one.  Less than Zero?  Robert Downey Jr.  And thanks to the Unironedman for reminding me about Flight with Denzel Washington…

I just started watching Everything Must Go.  Will Ferrell’s new twist on an old theme.   I could only take the first 30 minutes and had to shut it down.  I’ll have to recharge and give it a go at a later date.

Fit Recovery’s Definition of Terror is the jumping off place.  It’s that wonderful spot where you’re afraid to drink because it’s killing you and you know it, and you’re terrified to not drink because you need it.

I am not an emotional person.  I don’t let life happening get in the way of my enjoyment of my sobriety.  I drank a lifetime’s worth in a very short time.  I’ve been sober multiple times longer that I drank – like four or five times longer….

I still feel the terror of being at the jumping off place though, like it was yesterday, and a good drunk movie takes me back instantly.

Without getting into spoilers, I can relate to Ferrell’s character in that every decision I made, viewed in hindsight, was one of two things:

  • The opposite of the right thing to do at any given moment.
  • The dumbest thing a person could do at any given moment.

The movie starts there, where no stupid decision goes unpunished, and that’s where my pain started.  The first beer consumed in the movie, and I could feel the twinge between my cheeks and gums that accompanies the first sip of the first beer of the day.

And that’s where I started getting squeamish.  Less than five minutes into the movie.

Now most normal people would think that twinge between the cheeks is the Pavlov’s dog response.  You’d be wrong.  The Pavlov’s dog response is the terror that comes immediately after.

Twenty-four years of sobriety, I’m only one stupid decision away from flushing all of the good in my life down the toilet, because I know me.  If I start, I will not quit until quitting is the only option left.  The terror is true powerlessness.

I watched until I couldn’t take it anymore.  30 minites, if that.

I shut it off and prayed.  I asked God to take away my defects of character so I can remain happily sober.  I asked for five seconds of sanity before I did anything stupid.

Then relief washed over me.

And I thanked God for showing me compassion and answering the call.

Then I wrote this post to share my experience.

It never ends, you know?  The drinking dreams, the temptation, the terror…  Thankfully it only takes a movie to show me how fragile the ground underneath can be – and I know exactly which steps to take to reinforce the foundation.  It starts with One.

I am powerless over alcohol.  I am sane and in tune with my emotions and my surroundings (the five seconds prayer works – try it, you’ll like it).  I can give my will over to the care of my Higher Power.  Take a small inventory of the situation, call my sponsor… a little six and seven… then ten, eleven and twelve.

Now I’m thankful for having had the experience.  For seeing the weakness, for recognizing it, for feeling the powerlessness, for feeling the terror.  My disease may be in the background doing push-ups but I practice karate, and my karate is good.