I Drink, Therefore I am… uh, was …

13 05 2010

A bottle in front of me or a frontal labotomy?

I bumped into someone yesterday, who was telling me about a mutual acquaintance who has been sober for a year and counting. I don’t remember the specifics and I wouldn’t repeat them here, but the phrase “keeping my fingers crossed” may have come up.

During the course of the conversation it became apparent that the person I was talking to didn’t realize that I am an alcoholic(am, not was). I feel I cannot call myself cured if I still long for that old familiar escape. I don’t hide my alcoholism anymore, not like I did when I was drinking. Back then I’d sneak out to have a drink, I’d sneak in to have a drink, I’d sneak around to have a drink.

The Story of the bottle

I started drinking with friends. As long as they were drinking, that was okay, but when they weren’t I’d go out on my own. It wasn’t long before I preferred my own company. I didn’t like to share. I should have known it was bad when I’d buy a case of beer or a bottle of rum (or both), take it/them home and head out to the bar to drink so my home supply would last.

These are mine, get your own

I have stories, like any good alcoholic, that would curl your toes, but they’re mine and I’m still not that into sharing. Suffice it to say that I was a bad (or good, depending on your perspective) alcoholic. I can’t say what made me change as suddenly as I did. I can tell you I wanted a normal life. I can tell you that I am intelligent so sooner or later I had to figure it out. I can tell you there was a car wreck and, although I was alone, I did have a girlfriend at the time who later became my wife, and I had nightmares about her being in the car with me. But, as I said before, these are my stories.

Do it yourself intervention

If you’re looking for help, sit down sober, and write out some of your exploits. Write them out as fun things, put lots of humour into them. Tell about the time you and the guys did this or that. Tell about the things you did to get a drink. Tell it all.

Now, pretend that the three people you respect the most are in the room with you. Make sure they are people who know you. Read your stories out loud to them. How do you feel? Proud? Accomplished? We tend to perceive ourselves in a rather flattering light. Look again, through their eyes.

The real help may be in your head!

This next bit of advice may sound trite, I can’t help that. I know It could be one of those samplers hanging on granny’s wall. But it’s deeper than it appears, trust me. This is a direct quote from the Taylor McKinlay Users Manual, here it is, get stitching.

The only drink you can say no to is the first one.”

What does it mean? Once you’ve had that first drink, there really isn’t any thing to stop you from having the second, third, tenth. One drink won’t hurt! But which one are we talking about? If you haven’t had a drink today, one can’t hurt. If you’ve already had eight, how the hell could one more be any kind of a problem? If, like me, you can get up into the twenties on a good(good?) evening … Well, you get the picture.

One for the road …

So, long story short, drink, don’t drink, it’s always been your choice. But if you’ve got a problem, and you know it, and you’re ready to try something, try this: Don’t Drink. Find friends. Go out to places and have sober fun. I know that you’ll wake each morning wanting a drink. I know that every time anything goes wrong or right, good or bad, you’ll think about having a drink. I know. I’ve been wanting that next drink for 26 years now. If the gods are willing I’ll still be wanting it and not having it, for 26 more. But I know the gods need my help.

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