The Awakening of Brother Thomas

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Bottledom I
 Bottle Freedom I
Finding "Freedom" in the Bottle
I
The Delusion of Brother Thomas !

Version A 7/9/2000

The Drunkalogue. At first, I suppose, my rewards from drinking alcohol were pretty much like the rewards of any other guy.

Seeing as I was having so much fun drinking, why did I quit?

The Delusionarium. As I review these reasons for my drinking I note that few of them were true in a positive or beneficial sense during the last half of my alcoholic career. However, I was not aware of the fallacy of alcohol. I was a habitual drinker. Upon retrospection, I thought I liked the effect of alcohol. There was something in the bottle well beyond what I wanted. There was a perception of "freedom" there, but I was not aware of this at the time.

I have since figured out how alcohol seemed to be liberating me. The progression went something like this:

  1. Freedom from God. I was pretty much an agnostic when I was drinking. I thought God was the product of the power grab of the churches, and I wanted nothing to do with them or Him. After the first drink, He was no longer a problem. It was easy to shut off the sunlight of the Spirit.

  2. Freedom from YOU. The first comfort came in the dulling of my pre-frontal lobes wherein lives my social consciousness. My fear of approbation, of not being accepted, or being discarded came from some concepts that I had shoved into my understanding of what YOU expected. I had created an approval monster that interfered with my life horribly. Through it I saw myself through your eyes. It kept me from being free to do what I thought I wanted. After a few drinks the monster of society took a nap. Wow! I was free of social inspection and direction.

  3. Freedom from conscience. After another drink or two, my right and wrong governor was calm. What had been unthinkable before drinking became an option. What had been necessary, became simply one of many choices. I was free of morality, or so it seemed at the time.

  4. Freedom from reason. I am no dummy, not by a long shot, and I suspect you are not one, either. My credentials include Phi Beta Kappa at one of the finest colleges in the world and then a Master's degree from Harvard. Not only that, I have been declared an officer and a gentleman by act of Congress. A mental slouch I am not. And reason was a problem. With my enhanced thinking I could usually justify things that would appear irrational to more normal folks. But, thinking things through got in the way, and it was necessary to take control. After the next few drinks, two plus two did not necessarily add up to four, and just because I had always hurled (my nice word for upchucked) after drinking for the last year, I would find a way to not regurgitate (another nice term, even though a bit technical) this time.

  5. Freedom from myself. Although I did not consciously want to evacuate my own mind, I did have what is called a blackout on at least one occasion. The next morning I had no recollection of what had happened. But, there was ample evidence that something had.

I never seemed to notice that there is a time lag between the taking of a drink and its taking full effect on the mind and the body. When I felt like I needed still another, the ones already in me were more than enough, I just didn't feel them enough yet.

Actually, the progression of the effect of alcohol went beyond my mind to my body. The first symptom was slurred speech, next came the tick in my right arm (my drinking arm, darn it) and in my left eyelid. There might follow some dysfunction in balance, and then I simply went away - I passed out. I was usually awakened by some urgency in my esophagus, and it was necessary to choose kneeling before the porcelain altar or risking the whirlies in bed. During those final months I got some daily prayer practice on the tile.

If my drinking had continued, there might have some serious consequences (the effects above happen to all drinkers, don't they?). Acetaldehyde could have destroyed more brain cells that it did. They say several thousand go with every ounce of alcohol. My liver could have become so diseased that it would have stopped its housekeeping. If you want to learn more about the nutritional and medical consequences of alcohol consumption there are many horror sources.

So, that is how I found freedom in the bottle. Or, so it seemed at the time. It would be obvious to the non-alcoholic - we sometimes call them "normies", that I was not achieving freedom at all. What I experienced was the twisted illusion of freedom. The true effect, actually, was just the opposite of freedom, it was entrapment in the bottle, and the longer I sought solace in the bottle, the more elusive any freedom or sense of comfort became. Like the good alkie that I was, though, I solved that problem - I changed the brand, or I just drank more. There was even a time when I ate butter on an empty stomach to allow me to drink more.

A question that would then be asked by our normie would be "Why do you feel it necessary to drink so much in the first place?" That one annoyed me, and I spent more time justifying my drinking than I did in really wondering why I found it so necessary? It never crossed my mind that my precious and habitual, yet irrational drinking habit stemmed from irrational needs within me.

In summary, my perception of what I ought to be was far distant from my perception of who and what I was. The alcohol seemed to ease the increasing tension, which it actually aggravated. Note the word "perception" here twice. My concepts of where I should be and where I was were not based upon fact. They were but shadows lurking as a veil before my self-respect.

So, as I found freedom from God, society, conscience, reason, perception, and, almost, life itself, I deepened my entrapment in voluntary servitude.

Real Freedom. I have come to see all this in Alcoholics Anonymous. However, not being drunk and being released from deep seated illusion and delusion are but the beginning of my new found exhilaration in living. By just going through the motions of recovery, meaning actually following direction, I have found myself on a new basis. I have been entering the realm of the Spirit.

The sober life I have come to enjoy is not something from which I am driven to escape into a freedom-fallacy. I like being here. I cherish awareness of the reality of my life. I am truly blessed by being freed of my old self.

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