The Christmas pudding relapse 12 step drama and Xmas reflection.

 

The Christmas pudding relapse 12 step drama

It’s a couple of days after Christmas and I had a great time. This is a strange time of the year for those of us who have put down the drink. At first I felt really self-conscious at parties and other social occasions but now I don’t worry at all. Everyone I care about, is used to the new me and other people do not seem to notice, I don’t drink. I am perceived as a different type of person these days compared to the old me and this really helps. I don’t go around calling myself an alcoholic, and don’t feel like one. I found that a negative self-image.

The types of presents I received from family show me how things have changed. Most people bought me things that were to do with well-being and health in some way. I got a book on meditation which looks good and that is something that has become important to me in recent times. It was something I thought was a waste of time in the past, and so is an example of how I value things differently these days. I got a lot of running kit this year. I run round the park about four times a week now and am quite quick for my age. I ran 5k on Christmas morning (I passed an all day AA meeting and had to dodge the smokers outside) and 10k on Boxing day to burn off the extra calories. I also got cooking equipment, which is great as I have really upped the standard of my food in the last few years. It is another side of looking after myself. I was really grateful for all these presents but would not have appreciated any of them when I was drinking and if I am honest, that would also been true, for most of the time I was in AA.

We also got a new computer, which I needed to upgrade some audio software, but the new apple screen certainly makes my blog look better! Of course I had to test it out on a few other sites to see if they were enhanced and even wasted 10 minutes on the Orange Papers site, which was probably a mistake. I said hello on the forum and instantly my blog was visited by about 200 spam bots and who knows what else. It was certainly a good way to test out the Cloud-flare bot blocking, and intruder system. It all worked well and my blog is not full of adverts for Viagra or computer repairs. One for knit-ware managed to get through!

Anyway as a result of looking at a few blogs I found a thread about people worrying about eating Christmas pudding. Of course a decent Christmas pudding will have a fair amount of booze in it although I’m not sure how many times my body weight I would have to eat to get pissed on it. This really reminded me of the small things I used to worry about when I was “in recovery”. I can remember this being discussed at some length at one meeting I went to. There was a long speech about how eating a seemingly inoffensive pudding, could set off an allergy to alcohol, and the disease of alcoholism would strike, leaving the AA member with over 30 years sobriety, with no defence against the genetic condition, he had inherited, which had turned him into an alcoholic, even before he was born! This was greeted by a lot of nodding of heads and much more talk about the dreadful disease. It would seem that a Christmas pudding was actually quite a dangerous object in the eyes of the 12 step faithful.

Now I want to be clear that I don’t want to be seen as somebody who would advise anyone with a problem, to do something that makes them fearful or uncomfortable, but all this allergy talk is a load of rubbish as far as I am concerned. I was pretty ill when I stopped and middle-aged, so I had been through it. I found it really hard to stop until I felt I had to. I was not the worst drinker in AA, but was far from the lightest. For me there is a world of difference between eating a bit of Christmas pudding and drinking to blot out reality. I don’t attempt to moderate drinking, I have had enough, and live a different type of life today. I have no interest in getting drunk. For me drinking has always been a choice and it was my choice and mistake to abuse it. That does not mean I have to fear it, or live life according some kind of bizarre made up religion from the 12 step world. I just have to apply some common sense. For me, the taste and aroma of spirits or wine in food does not bring on a craving. I am sure it will for many in AA, because they have programmed themselves to think in that way. They would probably claim I was not an alcoholic, and I would say that I am not any more as I stopped abusing alcohol years ago. I feel that is a better way to think about myself. They want to blame their failings on a disease invented by a madman.

The thread on the site I went on was actually quite touching. There were a lot of people just about to have their first sober Christmas and I hope they all got through it. Some sounded quite fragile and I remember those feelings. I was reminded me of my early days when I would have been concerned about all this and had been taken in by some of the claims of the devout 12 steppers. I don’t think anyone should risk their recovery and everyone has different emotional responses but a lot of what is said in the rooms, simply causes fear and can lead too huge binges when some poor person does relapse. What should be a support group, turns into an irrational collection of lunatics that hinder recovery. A lot of the sharing is trivial and is done by those seeking approval from the group, and when they get some positive feed back, it leaves a false impression on a gullible newcomer. I found all this very confusing. It was slightly different on the blog I am talking about. There was more of a balance of views which was great. People are not so caught up in group emotion on small, slow-moving blog. They will only comment if they really want to. This is different to the situation in a 12 step group, where people strive to fit in and this also happens on some forums where cliques often appear and more extreme members take over and people post relentlessly, without really thinking. I think organised groups with a recognised leader, is much better for support. I would keep a distance from some of the crank type forums.

I suppose there is a good and a bad side to being in a recovery or related group. It is always going to contain some strange characters and some craziness, regardless of the point of view. You are not always going to get great advice. I actually prefer being away from all that. I think it is important to become independent.

Anyway, I’m going to stop now and wander off to the shop and buy another Christmas pudding in the sales. I am throwing caution to the wind and will let you know if I turn back into an alcohol craving wreck. I feel that it is a risk worth taking!

Christmas puddings

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  1. You sound so sane and relaxed — a pleasant departure from some of the hysteria and vitriol one often reads on “recovery” sites.

  2. Glad you think so. Some sites are so unfriendly that only those with very extreme views use them. There are a lot of people blogging away, helping eachother out and exploring different ideas. Idiots tend not to bother with this site as they know from the past that I will not join in. So far nobody has has caused any problems and it is great to get a few comments and emails. I’m not interested in hosting an online argument, or fantasising about the destruction of AA like some sites. I just have this site for me to write things down, when I have some spare time, and see where things go. I wish I had kept a blog from the start of my recovery as my views have changed quite a lot as time has passed, and I feel completely different. Thanks for dropping by.

  3. InATownCalledParadise October 23, 2014 at 3:33 pm · · Reply

    good stuff here and I am very glad there are more people talking about real recovery that is not based on adherence to the ideas of AA and other 12-step groups.

    The “allergy” analogy is one that at a casual first-glance might seem to be a useful way to talk about and explain alcoholism and addiction. The danger inherent in this and many other common analogies in recovery is well described here. A simple christmas pudding can quickly become a toxic poison!

  4. Thanks for your comment, This was one of the early posts on here so I had to read it myself to find out what it was about! So many believe in the alergy to alcohol or the idea that they were born an alcoholic and I feel it causes many problems and adds to the stress of recovery.
    I consumed all of those Heston Xmas puds which were excellent, with no serious side effects and have already tested a couple for this year. People in recovery really do make adram out of situations and some of the sharing in AA groups about stuff like this is ridiculous. There is a big difference between Christmas pudding where most of the alcohol will evapourate and is only there to add flavour and drinking a bottle of brandy to blot out reality and change the way you feel.

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