- The state of being sober.
- The quality of being staid or solemn.
temperance – soberness – abstinence – moderation
Although I have been in treatment for both alcohol and drugs- I’d say that truly, they were the least of my enemies. They were more like accessories to my true addictions. Band aids that I used to cover the more serious wounds and infections. Dirty band aids. When I finally made it a point to get “sober” from drugs and drinking, life did not get better. I didn’t know it then, but that was a sure sign that something was really wrong. It’s like hearing your cancer is in remission, and still being sick. You start thinking, either I’m seriously messed up here, or the disease was the least of my problems. I have a friend who is actually a full-blown, out of control, I have no idea how he isn’t dead yet, alcoholic- and I can assure you- drinking is the least of his problems. That’s why when he quits drinking, he’s still sick and has to start again. Just yesterday, he stopped by my house and it got me to thinking…
The last time I saw him, his mother was begging me to check on him, but not get involved. I don’t know how either one of us thought that I could do that, but we sure as hell gave it a good shot. My friend, we’ll call him Hottie, because that’s what I’ve called him for 12 years now, is very, very sick. No one can save him- except God and Hottie, but Hottie won’t agree to the terms of the agreement yet, and God doesn’t force anything on anyone, so no dice. At the rate he has been going for the last four years, it often feels like enabling, or abandonment are the only options for those of us not God like. I suppose they are. He leaks on people. He leaks hope and disappointment. He leaks promises and lies. He leaks pain and anger. He leaks “help me” and then doesn’t let anyone REALLY help him. He is, I really believe, a lot like the rest of us out there, no matter what our poison. When addicted to anything, we are dangerous to ourselves and everyone around us. We leak on people. When I last left him, almost comatose in his bed after searching his entire house for alcohol and drugs and feeding his dog, I let myself out the front door. I was thankful to have this exit, as I had gotten in the house by crawling through his bedroom window, over a nightstand and while being lavishly licked by a small, starving dog. Driving home I had only one question-
What in the hell is wrong with ME?
Who does that? Who leaves their kids at home to go crawl through the window of someone else’s house in the middle of the night, in the snow, to “check” on them for the thousandth time? Well, an addict would do it if it meant a drink. Or a hit, or a line, or a fix…Some time later, I re read Codependent No More, by Melody Beattie…and I actually saw what I was reading this time- I saw myself in those words and I saw that I wasn’t so different from an addict. I saw that perhaps I was an addict. Does it seem strange that I started a blog called death of a drama queen because I wanted to explore and eventually destroy my ego- The Queen, but that I never once thought that I was addicted to drama? It seems…well, it seems like things take time and there’s a process…and sometimes things are right in front of us and we never even see it. I just thought, oh! Catchy name! I wasn’t thinking I was a drama junkie, I can tell you that. We are what we seek.
So I’m a junkie. Hi, again- My name is Melissa and I’m addicted to drama. Any and every kind of drama. It’s where I find that drama that makes the difference though- I’m addicted to relationships. Any and all kinds of relationships as long as there is a person involved who has drama that needs to be absorbed, acknowledged, fed and fostered. I’m addicted to “helping” people. Let me put this in black and white- below is a quote from Heather King and her book, Parched. It’s in my to read pile because I love every quote I find from it. When I read this one, I thought, funny, I feel that way every time I was single.
“I once heard a sober alcoholic say that drinking never made him happy, but it made him feel like he was going to be happy in about fifteen minutes. That was exactly it, and I couldn’t understand why the happiness never came, couldn’t see the flaw in my thinking, couldn’t see that alcohol kept me trapped in a world of illusion, procrastination, paralysis. I lived always in the future, never in the present. Next time, next time! Next time I drank it would be different, next time it would make me feel good again. And all my efforts were doomed, because already drinking hadn’t made me feel good in years.” ― Heather King, Parched
Now watch this;
I once heard a single guy say that relationships never made him happy, but they made him feel like he was going to be happy in about fifteen minutes. That was exactly it and I couldn’t understand why happiness never came (or stayed when it did), couldn’t see the flaw in my thinking, couldn’t see that relationships kept me trapped in a world of illusion, procrastination, paralysis. I lived always in the future, never in the present. Next time, next time! Next time I had a relationship it would be different, next time it would make me feel good again. And all my efforts were doomed, because relationships hadn’t made me feel good in years.
See that? I remember having this epiphany and thinking,
Shit. Why didn’t I just drink? And I’ll tell you, because we each- each and every one of us- has a tolerance to our own brand and level of pain. We each do things that hurt ourselves, but what hurts you, may not hurt me. A disease is when what keeps you healthy, can’t put up a good enough defense against what can harm you. This is physical, emotional and spiritual. A disease is present on all of these levels. Addiction is a disease of these levels too…Alcohol is a what you are addicted to- but it isn’t the disease itself. It’s the poison that makes you sick- but it isn’t the sickness. Being a drama addict means that I have to be able to function enough to find people who will bring drama into my life- I cannot function on alcohol and drugs. Not my poison. Drama- especially when it’s other people’s drama, is very functional.
Drama, well disguised as someone else’s issues, can be carried, concealed and lived with for years before it is ever detected. Some people live with this addiction for their entire lives. We call them martyrs. I spent many years addicted to people who made me look like the most innocent, unlucky, “when will she get a break” person you’ve ever met…I was a highly functioning drama addict. Until I couldn’t function anymore. Until I realized that nothing I was doing was working. I was completely powerless here. God help me.
We admitted we were powerless over alcohol- that our lives had become unmanageable. A.A.
We admitted we were powerless over others- that our lives had become unmanageable. CoDa
I admitted that I was powerless over my own crap. My life was not just unmanageable- it was completely out of control. Me- Drama addict
If out of control can hit bottom, mine did. Then it began to drill deeper and absolutely spiral into uncharted territory…All the while, my Self had started screaming, WHOA! The breaks, find the breaks! For a long time, with the break cable cut, I still managed to lurch and seize forward into that hole, as The Universe, God and Self, patiently reattached themselves to me and pulled me back out. I have to avoid a lot of…things and people, lest I slip, which I still do. All of life is a temptation for me. Coming back to the surface of life and aiming forward as opposed to down, is hard. Life is hard. It’s a process. Sometimes I’ll just be walking along, minding my own sobriety and something shiny will catch my eye- I don’t have a sponsor. I can’t run off to a drama anonymous meeting. I have to think, all of the time, when I start feeling agitated, or righteous, or angry…what’s sucking me in here? Those feelings are my signals that I’m about to fall into my old ways. I still fall. I just fall faster and shorter- it’s more like a trip really.
The key to my sobriety is a concoction of things…
Awareness is key. Humility for sure. A clear line of sight- usually by closing my eyes and opening my heart. Forgiveness- of self and of others. Patience. Stillness. The experience of others who have gone before me. Prayer- usually some version of the often mentioned, “Please”, “Please, NOW” or my new favorite one, “WTF?” Also, “Thank you” because for some reason, being thankful for the chaos often seems to give me a direct answer to the WTF prayer. I tried the original 12- and then I revamped them to fit me. I don’t even know if I have 12 steps, or if they are even steps at all, or if I have 12 of anything. I have a way of life that becomes, changes and adapts as I do the same. It works. They say that at the end of meetings you know-
“keep coming back……….it works if you work it”
Even though I don’t wake up every day exactly like I thought I would by now, like I thought I should…I still wake up. I wake up to this life. I keep coming back every day and working this program I call my life.
I just want to be clear that I in no way meant any disrespect to anyone in, on or around any 12 step program, road to recovery, or the programs themselves. Hopefully I shed a little light on the commonalities that bind us all- no matter our addiction. We all share the disease called ego, no matter its guise- in the program known as life, we all deserve the cure.