The Promise of AA

I self harmed last night, and landed myself in the ER yet again. This time, they had me on suicide watch while I was there. I had someone sitting with me the entire time. The doctor had me talk with the social worker before I was allowed to leave. He was concerned about the fact that I was actively hallucinating and that the demons were/are telling me to self harm. I should take a thorazine, but I would be falling asleep in the middle of PHP if I do. There’s not enough caffeine in the world to keep me awake through a thorazine.

One thing the social worker at the ER said, which I’ve never been told before, is I can come to the ER before I self harm, tell them that the demons are telling me to self harm and I don’t want to, and they will put me in a bed until I feel safe enough to leave. She said they could even give me a PRN medication to help with the demons. She promised, as long as I’m coherent, and not a danger to myself or others, they would let me leave eventually. They know me at that ER. They have extensive notes on how I usually present, and can compare my current presentation to the notes from previous visits, where I was allowed to leave. She assured me that if I present in the same state as I did this morning, that I would be able to leave at some point, when I feel safe again. She would rather I come in before I self harm and wait out the urge in the ER, than come in for sutures again in another week.


“When an alcoholic’s brain tells them to do something harmful to themselves… like drink… they listen to it. The promise of AA is that we can take those ideas less seriously, and what our greater power thinks more seriously.” – my sponsor

I was texting with my sponsor this morning and he said this in the course of the conversation.

We were talking about the self harm and the trip to the ER. When he said “drink,” my brain read “cut.” It was like I didn’t even see the word “drink.” The promise of AA… I can use the program to help myself with the self harm and use the steps and my greater power to help myself move beyond the self harm.

If only I can remember that in the moment… I can never remember the coping skills I have been taught over the years, in the moment. I can never remember to reach out to my support system, in the moment. All I can think of, in the moment, is the self harm urge and what it will do for me if I go through with it.

My sponsor is the best. He always knows what to say at the right time. I needed to hear exactly what he said this morning. I don’t have to listen to the idea that drinking or cutting is a good idea. I don’t have to go through with it just because my brain is saying that it is a good idea. Over time, the ideas will become less serious to me and I can become closer to my greater power’s wants and ideas. I can learn, over time, what my greater power wants from me and learn to do that instead.

That is the promise of AA.

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