Graduation, Clancy Imisland, and a Quote from the Big Book

Let’s go backward, shall we? I feel rebellious this morning, because I’m a loner, Dottie, a rebel….

Anyway, last night I was talking to Katie while we were on a break, and I told her how bleak Sunday had been. She said she remembered feeling that exact way, and then went to her office to get her copy of the Big Book. She flipped through it and then showed me this quote:

He cannot picture life without alcohol. Some day he will be unable to imagine life either with alcohol or without it. Then he will know a loneliness such as few do. He will be at the jumping-off place. He will wish for the end. – Alcoholics Anonymous, from “A Vision for You” section.

That’s been me for the last week or so, especially two days ago. Everything seemed gray and pointless. I didn’t care if I drank or if I didn’t; I just either wanted to feel like I used to when I drank or I wanted this all to end. It’s a terribly lonely, dark place to be in.

Before the break, Katie hauled in the old TV and VCR. Some of the younger guys groaned. “What, a video tape?” one guy asked. Katie, undeterred, turned on the TV and put the tape in. “You’re going to hear a man named Clancy Imislund give a talk. It’s one the most powerful presentations I’ve ever heard.”

As the video started, the dated graphics and cheezy music started. I sighed, but I trusted Katie; if this Clancy fellow was powerful to her, then we needed to hear it. As Clancy began to speak, I was drawn in. He’s a brilliant communicator; he’s funny, wise, and (like my favorite people in treatment and at AA) doesn’t seem to tolerate nonsense or self-pity.

At one point, Clancy talked about the bleak, gray area that Katie would later mention. He said he came to a point that drinking and not drinking didn’t matter; he just wanted to experience color again. I sat up straighter. He went on to say that when he drank, even just a small amount, that his entire perception of reality and himself changed. He felt better, warmer, stronger, more charismatic, and (most importantly) like he could function like a normal human being. I’m adding some of my words to his, of course, but that’s what I took from him. Clancy said, “The only time I could see in Technicolor was when I drank.” He concluded that part of his talk with his experience of watching The Wizard of Oz as a newly sober man, and he wanted to scream at Dorothy, “Don’t go back to Kansas! It’s black and white there! Stay in Oz where there’s color!”

Let's stop for a drink first.

Let’s stop for a drink first.

I get that. The problem for me is, if I stay in Oz, I’ll die. I’ve come back to Kansas, and man, is it ever gray right now. Hopefully, one day it won’t be.

Lastly, we had a guy graduate from the program last night. I’m going to miss him greatly. He helped me during my first week of treatment. I’ll see him at AA meetings, I suppose, and maybe we can get together with some of the other guys once I graduate in five weeks. Left to my own devices, though, I won’t continue the relationships I began in treatment. I can easily see myself slipping right back into my old roles and habits. I can be your acquaintance, sure, but your friend and all that entails? Seems doubtful at this point, but maybe.

Moving into day 22. I have zero expectations for this day except that I will do it sober. That’s good enough for me.


About Robert Crisp

Just a lad who likes to create.
This entry was posted in AA, addiction, alcoholism, early sobriety, recovery, sobriety, treatment, withdrawal and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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