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Getting to a Place in One’s Melon where Recovery can Work


November 2018

Half-assing recovery won’t work.  People try to hold on to their old way of life, just little bits and pieces, but recovery won’t really work until  a person is willing to let go completely.  Failure isn’t always instant of course, which leads to a false sense of comfort or worse, accomplishment, but in the end the wheels always fall off for the alcoholic. 

It’s sort of like gravity; you can fight it for a bit, but sooner or later the sudden stop is going to get you.

So the magic happens just before the sudden stop, that’s where I needed to be to be willing to quit.  In my case, the evolution was pretty impressive – how it all happened.  I went from a whole heap of trouble to a fifth chance, to in-patient treatment (certain I’d be drinking again as soon as my court requirement was met), to DT’s, to that profound point where I knew there was no more running, inside of about three weeks.  

Friends, I went from positive, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I’d drink again, to ready to quit in just two weeks – and I’ve managed to hold onto that willingness for decades with the simple knowledge that if I choose to drink again I will go from a wonderful life to that point just before the sudden stop in no time (if I had to guess, it would take three weeks to lose my job, another two before my wife left with the kids – and that’s generous – and give it another month or so before I was in the gutter with nothing).  That’s how alcoholism and addiction works.

The only way I know to really enjoy sobriety is to remember just how close that point of sudden stop is from where I’m at right now.  Anything less and I’d probably get cocky.  And anyone who knows anything about recovery knows there’s no room for cocky.



  1. ericritter65 says:

    Sadly, it is these type of posts that remind me that everyone else has car in their lives too. Fortunately, alcoholism is my demon. Just know that your success story and the constant little reminders that life IS worth fighting for have helped other remember to fight their own battle.
    Thanks for the reminder, I really needed it tonight.

  2. annastk76 says:

    I so agree with you. I hope I never get cocky and right now it seems ludicrous that I’d ever start believing that I could magically control alcohol, but at the same time you hear so many people say how this is precisely what happened to them. I suppose that’s the very nature of the alcohol trap, that it snaps shut when we think we’re safe. I can’t remember who said it – it was another blogger but I can’t remember who – but they described their alcoholism as a monster they’d forced back into a cage but how they’d always have to remember the cage has no lock. That’s how I see it. I know with every fibre of my being that I can’t control alcohol and will never EVER suddenly be “cured” – it scares me so much to think my brain could get me to think otherwise. Then again, I just need to have a look back to very clearly see that never once could I control it but hundreds – no, thousands – of times I poured that first drink “knowing” that THIS TIME I’ll stop at x number. Scary beast, this.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Thanks, Anna. I remember that post, a few months ago, I think. That’s one of my favorite ways of internalizing my addiction, too, the monster in the cage… it keeps it simple, clear and in its proper perspective.
      It’s amazing, too, and I can back you up on the amount of people who come back and say they got to a point they thought they could control it… It boggles the mind how many there are.

  3. @vapor_sage says:

    So, what you’re saying is everything in How it works is true, “Half measures availed us nothing”…”The result was nil until we let go absolutely”. I might add that one doesn’t have to go to any lengths, one merely must be willing to. Thank you, Jim, this is a great reminder

  4. @vapor_sage says:

    I suspected that was what you were up to and I’m becoming more sensitive about the discretion suggested in the volume in question

  5. Sue Slaght says:

    Always appreciate you saying it like it is. The consequences would be swift and painful. Congrats on keeping it real for others and for yourself.

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