From Mucking Up To Mucking In
Struck by sudden sinecures of instability,
Yet loved fiercely,
Sipped the chandelier of life,
Survived the overkill of isolation,
Sought and discovered status,
To sweep away the carnage,
On her road trip to reality,
The true tar seal to triumph.
- Brooke Patricia
There is nothing I liked about myself or my life in worsening active alcoholism.
My progressive disease kills physically, mentally and spiritually, and not necessarily in
that order. It murdered the person I was and I hated the one it made me – or rather, I let
it make me, unaware of and then unwilling to give the solution a rigorously honest go.
The best thing about the blank canvas with which I’ve been blessed, is that I get to
choose the colours... “If it be thy will.”
Why thy? I’m going to talk about God for a second – just one (second), to let you know
that I practice a spiritual, not a religious, programme. Its members put their faith in
something they believe is greater than them. You see, although human aid alone can’t
cure alcoholism, hundreds of thousands of people have found recovery through
I don’t have a religious God. But my programme welcomes all religions, along with
atheists and agnostics – absolutely anyone who wants to stop drinking and has the
honesty, openness and willingness to try it. And it works if you work it – and you are
I don’t struggle with the word God because I use it in relation to my own – my Higher
Powers; my Mum and the Universe, of which Mum is a part. Some people refer to a
religious God whilst others choose phrases like Group Of Drunks or Good Orderly
Direction. You could choose a three legged stool because if one leg fell off, you’d fall
down. Many find it really hard to grasp the ‘God’ aspect of the programme, and that’s
I have full faith in my God because it is blatantly obvious, to me at least, that there are
so many occasions where I could’ve died as a result of my drinking. I’ve had so much
‘luck’ that I now truly believe that the interventions I’ve experienced in life threatening
situations have been divine ones. Not only am I lucky to be alive, I believe I’m meant to
be – that my God has worked through others, or directly, to keep me on Earth for a
I have goals and dreams. But I try, now, not to have expectations of anything I can’t
control. Unfulfilled expectations lead to resentments, which are the “number one
offender” in my programme. My God can move mountains but also hands me a shovel
at the bottom to do my share of the work. The outcome is up to the Universe. How I deal
with it is between the Universe and I.
All of my work is guided by my mentor – someone pivotal to my recovery in that she
freely passes to me what has been passed to her by her own mentors, with the view
that I can then do the same for others. I have a special mentor for whom I am very
My daily routine starts and ends with prayer – upon awakening, I ask my God for a
sober day, and I say thank you for my surrender of my will and my life. Before I go to
sleep, I say thank you for said miracle. I pray for others and never solely for myself.
I do readings and attend two recovery meetings most days at the moment – at least one
in person everyday and, where possible, online meetings in London to help me prepare
for an upcoming trip there. I give a day of service to rehabilitation each week, and I love
seeing people come in and grow. It also reminds me of my own growth and never to
take it for granted. If you make your bed, you lie in it. So I now help make the beds with
people who made mine. I might not wear a cleaning outfit, but I’ll still scrub loos. I also
give service just by showing up to a meeting, because without attendees there simply
wouldn’t be one, and they are instrumental to the programme’s success.
Each night, I write a gratitude list, share it with my mentor and take moral inventory. I
constructively review my day as to whether I was resentful, selfish, dishonest or afraid;
whether I owe an apology; the worst and best part of my day; my main emotions; what I
learned about myself; how I feel about my spiritual progress; what I’m grateful for; my
main goal for tomorrow; and where I was selfless.
When I was in my initial 30 Day Primary Care rehabilitation programme, the guests
would end each day by writing our moral inventories on a template and sharing it with
the group. I’ve only just started taking daily inventory again as advised by my counsellor
and mentor. By taking inventory, I effectively set myself up to start the following day
I do it in my head now but here’s an example. Yesterday a friend and I convened for
coffee. She told me that I was the subject of gossip. I had an immediate resentment.
I’ve had to put my aforementioned shame, regret and guilt behind me in order to stay in
the day and move forward. Here I am making living amendments and people are still
stuck on my alcoholic wrongdoings, or doubting me. It hurt. Then I thought, “I wasn’t
well and anyone who knows me, knows that. They clearly aren’t either. They are
deflecting from themselves. I understand, because I’ve done the same.” I’m now
approaching each day with a new confidence that I can get through it sober, if I dig deep
and utilise the tools I’ve learned. So I’ll pray for the gossipers’ wellness and capacity to
be honest with themselves – two things I once lacked. I’ll remember not to say
something about someone behind their back that they wouldn’t like, having been
reminded of how that feels. Then I’ll get on with my life on life’s terms, by doing the next
right thing – and in doing that, I have turned a negative situation into a positive one.
All of this might sound like a lot of work – real fuck it bucket stuff. My programme is
described as simple, not easy, although it does get easier. Anything I put above my
recovery I am almost certain to lose.
I’m still a social butterfly. I absolutely love the fellowship within my programme. I have
special friends in recovery and we have a lot of fun doing normal things. We just don’t
drink alcohol. I still go to parties and places where piss and the outright pissed may be
present. People need not act weirdly around me because I’m not drinking – it would be
me acting weirdly if I was, and not in a good way anymore. So there’s no need to leave
me off the guest list. I’d rather you didn’t. It helps my human-natured FOMO. In saying
that, my solo dance parties continue to flow free and wild. I’m not doing all of this work
be a bore or be bored.
If one thing has become clear to me lately, it’s this – the more sincere work I put in to
my programme, the more I get out of it. Not only do its principles help me stay sober,
they also help me to be a better person. I’m now experiencing a sense of growing well
being and serenity that has raised my self awareness. The less expectations I have, the
more serene I am.
My day is successful if I don’t drink, trust my God, sweep my side of the street and help
others. Whilst I’m not currently in a position to mentor anyone, it is part of my role in my
programme to be there for those who reach out for help. For that, I am responsible.