Thursday, September 4, 2008

Need or Want?

Last night I heard in a meeting something I haven't heard in a while: "You never need to take another drink again if you don't want to."

I can't begin to estimate how many times I uttered the phrase "I need a drink" in the Before Times. I really felt I did need a drink - I didn't think I was exaggerating!

My dictionary defines "need" as "a requirement, necessary duty, or obligation", and that's what alcohol became for me. It was no longer optional.

But the other way of defining "need" is the things that make my survival possible. I literally need food, reasonable clothing (a Louis Vuitton Galliera GM bag does not fall into this category, unfortunately), shelter, and access to medical care. In those terms, I did not need a drink.

*Note: the effects of physical withdrawal from alcohol can be fatal, which is why in some cases, those doing 12-step calls take with them a little bit of booze. In this one scenario, a drink is in fact needed.

But I sure thought I needed it, because I knew no other way to live. I had to get with the Program to learn to not drink, clean house and help others. I do not need to ever drink again if I don't want to.

It's my wants that bite me in the proverbial ass every time. The BB specifically tells us that "selfishness and self-centeredness" is "the root of our problems." Basically, that I was roaming the earth a slave to my wants, winking at what each new acquisition might cost me. Tough day at work? Have far too many drinks and then drive my wobbly self home - I deserve some fun!

Ironically, my favorite toast in any situation was "We may not get what we want, we may not get what we need, as long as we don't get what we deserve!"

And I was right.