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Writing About My Alcoholism, Not Yours

Speaking From the “I,” Not the “You”


Photo of the author, from his files


I can remember shutting down when I was young whenever someone would lecture me.


I simply withstood it until it was over. I knew I was in trouble or something like that, but when I was a child I couldn’t take the tone of voice and being held prisoner until the lecture was over. This blocked any message from getting through.

I’ve always responded to encouragement and to recognition.


When I talk about alcoholism, I mostly speak from my own experience. I will comment and hopefully enlighten by highlighting stories in the news that I believe speak to our shared experience from time to time.

 

I’m not an expert on alcoholism or addiction, and I’m not a doctor or a scientist or a mental health or addiction professional.


I’m simply an alcoholic/addict who has stayed clean and sober for 34+ years at this point.

I can’t tell you what to do, and the last thing I want to do is to give a lecture. My God, what a waste of time that was when I was in the throes of my using years and I had someone come down on me.

 

I will make suggestions here and there. I had a ton of suggestions given to me by alcohol counselors, therapists, and people whom I met that were in recovery.


I took many of those suggestions. I followed enough of them to build a base of recovery for myself.

 

I learned that I am an alcoholic by learning about the illness, how it works and how it manifests itself. Once I learned a good bit about it, I was able to self-diagnose.


And that was the key.

I could have had a million people tell me that I was an alcoholic, but until I understood it, and knew it to be true, it wouldn’t have mattered.

 

Once I learned this truth about myself, I wrestled with the idea that this would never change. I didn’t like that. But, I grew to accept it.

As I detoxed, moved away from toxic situations and people, poured out my stash of liquor and threw away all of my drug paraphernalia, I began to feel a bit hopeful.

The idea of leaving the drug and alcohol culture behind, and learning to engage with the world while discovering a new identity, was exciting.

 

I want to express my own experiences and how I was affected by my active alcoholism/addiction, and I invite you to consider your own in light of mine.


I learned that if I compare the externals of my story to those of others, that won’t work well. There will always be people who went much further in a terrible descent than I did.

I learned that I need to look beyond those externals, and seek to relate and connect to what was behind someone’s addiction and how those feelings drove it, and ultimately led to them getting clean and sober.

If you identify with my travails and my feelings, as well as my gratitude to be sober and living life free of the chains of alcoholism/addiction, then I’m so happy that you’re reading my stories!

Please let me know your ideas, your responses, and how you’re understanding and progressing/or not progressing, in your journey.


I believe in recovery!






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