"As I look back on that period, I realize how true it is that one of the primary differences between alcoholics and nonalcoholics is that nonalcoholics change their behavior to meet their goals and alcoholics change their goals to meet their behavior."
-- Alcoholics Anonymous, "Window of Opportunity," pg. 423
"So, I've always been an avid reader. And at one point in my early sobriety I became a little obsessed with death, so I was poking around all the used bookstores in my neighborhood for books that were a little... well, macabre, I guess. Anyway, I found this one book that was all about the Eskimos and surviving -- or not surviving, maybe -- winter in the extreme North. I don't remember much about it except this one thing: In the worst part of the winter, when hunting was at its hardest and everyone and everything was pretty much starving to death, the wolf packs would start to track the Eskimos as they followed their own game to hunt. And what the Eskimos would do is they would take a knife, and sharpen it and sharpen it and sharpen it until it was to the finest edge they could make it. Then they would cut one of the dogs and get the dog blood all over the knife blade. Then they'd stick the knife, hilt down, blade up, in the snow. The wolves driven by starvation would be in a frenzy when they smelled the dog blood on the blade of the knife, and before they could stop themselves, would lick the blade, cutting themselves until they bled to death. Every sense they had told them to lick the knife, and every lick of the knife moved them closer to bleeding out. And I thought, "Man, that is a perfect metaphor for my alcoholism. When I'm in a frenzy, my every sense tells me to drink, tells me that THAT'S what I need. And every time I drink I move closer to kind of... spiritually bleeding out. And that can absolutely lead me to death as certainly as those poor wolves freezing in the snow."
The problem drinker gets pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence. Sitting in the holding tank, they shake their head and think to themselves, "Man, not my brightest move. Maybe I should cool it a little. At the very least, I should have called a taxi or something."
The alcoholic gets pulled over and arrested for driving under the influence. Sitting in the holding tank, they shake their head and think to themselves, "Fucking cops. Next time I should take surface streets."
Alcoholics are wired for defiance, and an inability to take responsibility for our actions -- when under the influence of alcoholism it is almost impossible for us to see -- and believe -- a cause and effect between what we do and what happens to us.
Heard this in a meeting this morning and thought it was a great acronym.
And (as I've written about here before) I guard against not only the automatic negative thought undermining my sobriety (and serenity) but also from assuming that a negative thought is somehow "more realistic" than a positive one.
That's just bullshit. Positive thoughts are not unrealistic.
Thoughts are thoughts, some good some bad, some healthy some less so. I may not choose what pops into my head but I can certainly select what I choose to focus on -- which can then be instrumental in getting into action (which is ultimately how I transform my thinking).