Accepting life as it is.
Accepting yourself as you are.
These seem so obvious. For members of Alcoholics Anonymous, acceptance is required from the beginning, in order to deal with the alcoholism. The idea that an alcoholic must accept that they are an alcoholic is critical for their recovery. I have struggled with this concept myself on more than one occasion. There is a major stigma attached to the idea of being an addict, and for someone like me, with all of the pride I used to have, it’s like admitting defeat to life’s problems. The idea of acceptance is so foreign to me, because it is counter to the way I act on most things.
When I was a kid, I was small and bullied a lot. I had to develop a strong way to deal with things, so I learned martial arts to not give into that combat. I was not the smartest kid when I was young either, but I wasn’t going to be turned away on things, so I did my best to get into an engineering school and I did it. I remember a time when I was feeling old and out of shape and decided I would not accept that judgment of myself and went and tackled a bike race, just for the hell of it. I don’t accept negative things about myself, I simply did the exact opposite to prove to people that I could do whatever the EFF I wanted.
Honestly, this is the same kind of thinking that went into how I saw my sexuality. I used to deny I was anything but heterosexual. I used to assume that any inclinations I had towards the same-sex was a direct result of being molested and/or the inclinations of the inherently flawed human condition (i.e. against “God”). Even when I took psychological exams, I was revealed to be a “stereotypical heterosexual male” that “displayed typical masculine traits”. So, for many years, the idea that I was not heterosexual was preposterous.
But in some way, I knew I was not accepting my same-sex interactions nor my same-sex attractions as authentic. I was not accepting myself the way I am. Self-acceptance seemed to elude me on this concept for the longest time. What is my basic nature when it came to my sexual feelings? I had to take some considerable time to look at myself and try to understand some things about myself. It’s not something I’m entirely comfortable with accepting. Bisexual guys are not commonly accepted, so how is it I could even accept myself. Even bisexual women have wider acceptance than bisexual men. For some reason, society assumes that men that are not solely attracted to women are somehow less than a man. It’s a tough place to be. Even to this day, I find myself questioning it at times. What if this is all something I decide upon in my head, and if I make the decision, then I have responsibility in the choice of being attracted to men and women. But that wasn’t true. Deep down, I knew I couldn’t control my attractions and desires. I knew I could control the behavior as an outcome of those attractions and desires, but I could not control the innateness of the sexuality. I am bisexual. I have enjoyed sex with both men and women (not always at the same time…in fact, I’ve never done it at the same time…hahahaha!). I needed to come to a place of acceptance, in order to understand myself better – in order to love myself better.
And because of that, I compare the self-acceptance of my sexuality to the self-acceptance I have with respect to alcohol and beer. Do I need to accept that I’m an alcoholic in order to get better? On some level, there seems to be a level of resignation and submission to this fact. But is this label somehow worse than the sexuality label? I don’t like the label, I know I don’t like the label. Somehow, being an alcoholic implies I am weak. I don’t want to be weak, I want to know that I can overcome this. But can I? Can I really overcome it without help and on my own? I mentioned before, that I felt that the only time I have really been free from alcohol in the past 10-15 years, is the time frame six months ago when I had gone almost 90 days without a drink. I try to think about other times, but I think I had always relied on a beer when I was stressed – at least in the past 10 years.
I’ve had people express that this is how the alcoholic mind works – it searches for ways to relieve itself of the label of being an alcoholic. Normal people (or so-called “normies”) don’t have this thinking; they don’t try to find ways to not be an alcoholic nor do they look at times when they think they were not an alcoholic, because they have never thought that. It’s only the alcoholic that looks for ways not to be one. This is the essence of the problem – the lack of self-acceptance.
There were times when I felt like I was free from alcohol temptation. In fact, as a young adult, I had gone to parties and refrained from drinking, simply because I didn’t want to. There were also times I had drank something and then didn’t feel a compulsion to do it. But I had other interests, other ways to break the stresses I dealt with in life; but I still obsessed (another wonderful trait of being an alcoholic is obsessive thinking) over these activities and life didn’t make sense to me, unless I participated in those activities. The way I thought still existed, it still remained a part of my psyche and when the positive activites I did were gone, I replaced them with something else: alcohol.
I go back and forth in my mind about being bisexual. There are days I feel like a nut and there are days I don’t – if ya catch my drift. There are times when I question if I am some how so-fucked up that I don’t know what I want in a sexual partner, but there are other days I am definitive and assume I am completely straight. I toss around these ideas back and forth. And then, when I began to feel similarly about beer, I noticed the same kind of thinking. The back and forth of acceptance and denial about what I am. Society dictates that alcoholism is wrong and one should make the decision to not drink; likewise, society has often dictated that homosexual interactions are wrong and one should simply make the decision not to have sex with a member of the same sex.
But here is how my thoughts instantly go:
I know alcoholism is bad for me and can have some dire consequences; but because I have problems with admitting and denying, maybe being bisexual is bad for me too.
I’m on my 10th day without a drink…
…and I’m beginning to question everything again.