We are taught in sobriety to give back and reflect daily on our behaviours. This has taken me a long time to understand but I now seem to understand the concept. By giving back you are thinking of others and not yourself, and therefore getting a sense of satisfaction by making other people happy or help them through a difficult time. By reflecting on my behaviours I can check in with what I have done to evoke certain feelings in me, and therefore reactions.
You may not think that this has a lot to do with being sober, neither did I in the beginning, but it so has. As an alcoholic I never drank to relax I drank to get drunk, alcohol had a very definite purpose for me and that was to get me out of myself to either have fun, mourn or escape. My drinking nearly always led to black out and therefore a state that I was unaware of, and would dread the repercussions the next day.
Toward the end of my drinking I would be so frustrated with myself as of why I had to behave like this all the time. Whilst my behaviour did not lead to major consequences I lost a lot of self-respect in myself and how I had been, as this was not a true reflection of what I felt I was actually like. I would cringe at stories the next day and always wonder why I couldn’t stop.
Now that I am further into the programme I appreciate more what it means to understand this way of being. I was not happy in myself and therefore would drink to oblivion, if only it were that simple.
By working a twelve step programme and helping others to overcome their battle with alcoholism I stop thinking about myself so much and this frees my mind from beating myself up. I recognise similar personality types and behaviours which then does not have me feeling as bad about myself and therefore wanting to hide. In a nutshell by working on myself in this way I have become more comfortable in my own skin and then do not want to escape.
In the past my behaviour and intentions would also be questionable. I would hold resentments and be very jealous of what I perceived others to have. Now I can truly be happy for others and if they have something I would like I see it as more attainable. Again all this just makes me feel more comfortable in my own skin and happier with who I am and what I have.
When people i know go out for a drink, who are not alcoholics, they do this to get a little buzz and relax. As an alcoholic this was never what I wanted from alcohol and therefore I know that alcohol is not for me.