Snakes in the Brain

I knew I hadn’t shed myself of the urge to drink or obsessive thoughts (or “snakes in the brain” as Katie once referred to her urges). I just had a break from them. The urges got stronger the closer I drew to my six month mark, and boy, they haven’t let up.

I wanted to drink yesterday. I really, really, want to drink, and I haven’t felt that way in quite a while. Instead of drinking, I finished up some work and hit a 12 o’clock meeting at the AA Clubhouse.

I don’t know about your Clubhouse, but ours can be a bit…strange. The High Noon meeting wasn’t as crowded (or as crazy) as the 8:00 one I once attended, but it had a colorful cross-section of people. That’s a polite way of saying that most of the people there unnerved me a little because they looked like they’d been around the block a couple hundred times and then some. They were loud and some of their comments didn’t make a lot of sense. It was like that last time, so I followed my therapist’s advice to take what I needed and leave the rest.

I can be a judgmental, elitist prick, and I’m working on that. I tell myself that I don’t know a person’s story, as he or she doesn’t know mine, so to judge a disheveled man with a lazy eye and an unkempt beard isn’t fair.

This would have been far, far worse.

This would have been far, far worse.

When the wild and woolly men spoke, their stories touched me. Well, some of them did. And then we got to one guy who rambled about something and then said if there was a God, he looked like him and how when he saw pictures of Jesus, he said, “All right, I can dig that guy.”

It seemed like a lot of people knew him and laughed, thinking something like Old Joe’s at it again or Boy, you can count on Earl to make us laugh. I kind of felt horrified and wanted to crawl inside my copy of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions from which we were taking turns reading.

That’s another thing: is anyone else uncomfortable sitting in a room full of grown people and taking turns reading out loud? It feels juvenile. Also, it drives me crazy because I’m a former reader teacher. I feel the need to stand up and remind everyone that fluency is important and then commend some folks for a great job sounding out difficult words.

See? Judgmental, elitist prick.

I usually avoid the Clubhouse for just this reason. It makes me uncomfortable and judgy, but dammit, I needed a meeting and so I went. I even got a yellow chip. My homegroup does marbles, and I’ll get a yellow marble this Friday.

The meeting helped for a while, but then I found myself floundering again and wanting to drink. I didn’t, though, and I don’t plan to. I just have to talk to my sponsor, go to meetings, meditate, read, and ride it out. I’ve read several times that post-acute withdrawal syndrome can peak around the sixth month. That seems to be the case.

One day at a time, people. One day at a time.


About Robert Crisp

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

4 Responses to Snakes in the Brain

  1. I’m so sorry, but I laughed quite heartily at your elitism. I suspect that’s because I relate so well to it. The reading comments are hilarious.

    I’ve been struggling a little, too. I even had a drinking dream the night before last. I feel a little better knowing it’s not uncommon around the six-month mark.

    One day at a time. We’ve got this.


    • Robert Crisp says:

      I’m glad you laughed at it; I laugh at myself, too. There’s no sense in hiding my flaws. I know myself pretty well.

      I’ve had many drinking dreams lately, which doesn’t help the wobbly feeling. I overslept this morning and felt hung-over when I peeked at the clock and saw it was 7:20 rather than 5:30. I was probably just a little dehydrated, but the dull headache and feeling of dread (because I was going to be late for work) combined to make me feel like I’d been drinking. It’s funny how that’s my instant reaction to a lot of things. I call it alcoholic muscle memory; my body and brain automatically align themselves with drinking if something doesn’t go according to schedule or if I feel a little less than stable during the day.

      But, as you say, one day at a time…and we indeed have got this.


  2. luminessa08 says:

    I feel like that sometimes, too. I have gotten some great wisdom from some crazy looking people, though. 🙂


    • Robert Crisp says:

      I appreciated what the old-timers had to say (well, two of them). It’s just the whole vibe of the clubhouse puts me a bit on edge. It feels like a place my grandfather (who didn’t drink) would hang out and swap stories with guys about growing up in the Depression. I’m sure I’ll end up there again, and I’ll remain open to what people say. It’s not like I have to make it my home group or anything.


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