Finding out that my insane behavior was relatable to others was a watershed moment. Turns out the lengths I’d go to in order to maintain the proper level of intoxication wasn’t anything new. Necessity truly was the Mother of Alcoholism: whatever my addiction needed to survive, I was more than willing to accommodate. Lie? Yes. Cheat? Okay. Steal? Sure thing. You mean someone else has sat outside a gas station at 5:55 a.m., waiting for the coolers to unlock at 6? Who knew?

Step Five:
Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

One of the strongest bonding agents in this program for me was the recognition of my behaviors in someone else. When I was out there on my own, I constantly reminded myself that my actions weren’t those of normal people. Normal people didn’t do what I was doing. They didn’t need to. I found it best not to think about it.

On good days I’d achieve the proper buzz that rationalized my disease; my little escapes were rewards for putting up with the world. I deserved them. On bad days I’d sink down into a buzz of self-flagellation; my little escapes were painful examples of my failure as a human being. I deserved them.

Getting out all my wrongs, vomiting up all the fears and anger, the sadness and envy, to someone who’d look me square in the eye and say, “yep, I get that,” was everything. And even if it didn’t alleviate the pain, I found myself in the company of those who understood the misery. Years of dank and dirt began falling off my brain. I felt like I finally belonged somewhere. Finding camaraderie in my shortcomings had lifted my isolation, and made it possible for my journey toward freedom from addiction to begin.

I wasn’t sure where I was going, but at least I was moving in the right direction.

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