A good friend of mine calls me “Martha 2.0”.  The new and improved version.  She’s seen the old and helped me through the transition, very rough at times, to the new.  There will be a version 3.0.  And a 4.0….. (eat your heart out Apple).  The goal is to keep evaluating, learning, and improving. Find the bugs and problems and fix them.  It’s a lifelong process.  You can upgrade too.  It’s not exactly free (here comes the fine print):  you have to be willing to work for it.

I wish I could explain how clearly I see things now that I’m not drinking.  When I drank, it was like I was looking through a pair of glasses with lenses that were covered with water.   I could still make things out and see them, but they were usually completely distorted, blurry or just messed up. Occasionally, I would manage to wipe them clean and dry them off, but they would just go back to wet and blurry again.   They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.  When an alcoholic thinks that they can pick up a drink, and that “this time will be different”, they are demonstrating behavior that is, in fact, insane.  Every rational, logical and sensible reason why you can’t drink is right there in front of you, but so is the insanity of the disease, trying to drop your glasses in the toilet to get wet again.

I had what I considered a sizable breakthrough this week.  All it takes is for one person to say something that strikes a chord or zaps a part of your brain to turn a lightbulb on.  I wish I remembered exactly what they said, but the main point was that they realized that they had to stop blaming someone or something for their drinking.   The person, thing or issue didn’t CAUSE the drinking.   They were just really good EXCUSES to drink, or to continue drinking.  I don’t believe anyone can maintain sobriety by just stopping drinking.  You have to completely change who you are and address the excuses that lead you drink in the first place, especially your own character defects.   Work out the bugs.  Most importantly, as another wise friend told me, you can’t move on until you are willing to lay down the sword when it’s time.   Letting go of resentments can free up all kinds of memory.

Think about the vicious cycle.  As an alcoholic, the problems you experience lead you to pick up a drink.  The drinking then, in turn, causes more problems.  Things suck more, so you think that drinking will help.   It goes on, usually, until you hit rock bottom.   Not until you identify and accept the behavior as insanity can you begin to work on improvement. How great would it be if there was some Apple app that “cured” you of alcoholism.  One that took away the compulsion to drink.  An app that let you skip the horrible withdrawal and expedite recovery.  An incredible app that fixed everything you screwed up when you drank.  Unfortunately, there isn’t.  The tools at your disposal are the experience and understanding of those who have been through this before you.  Those who have worked hard to achieve and maintain sobriety.   If you are willing to do the work and use these tools, you too can get your upgrade.  Act now.  It’s vital to be plugged in during the process.  Hooking up to your HP (Higher Power) usually works best.   And there’s also a holiday two-for-one special going on now—help someone else up and you will help yourself at the same time.