Four years of sobriety and approaching forty years of age on planet Earth. I feel naive, vulnerable and fearful of a world I perused through an alcoholic lens.
In one respect I’m trailblazing in an exciting landscape beset with wonder and intrigue. However, there’s always a sinister presence skulking in the shadows. Maybe it’s something I should be concerned about, perhaps it’s my imagination or residual paranoia from the torrent of beverages I sunk in search of oblivion.
I’ve done a lot in the past six to seven years since I approached AA. I discovered through desperation that there’s a solution to alcoholism/alcohol use disorder. I’d like to challenge why sufferer’s of a disease have to wait until they’re absolutely desperate physically, psychologically, emotionally and spiritually before they seek their own treatment?
I know alcoholism is a disease. It’s latent right now within me, suppressed by alternative methods of behaving, thinking and connecting with the world. Incurable, permanent and terminal in it’s predatory nature, alcoholism is a malignant disease that requires research, early intervention and accessible ongoing treatment / post treatment support. Without these societal features this disease will continue to ravage individuals, families; the very fibre that binds the constructs of civilised society.
Alcoholic beverages should have labels identifying the dangers i.e. excessive use will lead to toxic overdose and eventual dependence with continued use. Of course these labels would prove as little consolation to those whom have succumbed to alcohol addiction, but they could prevent future generations from the temptation to experiment.
I watched a scientific experiment in secondary school involving a lit cigarette being placed into a rubber bung sealed glass vacuum. The fumes were filtered through to another glass vacuum filled with cotton wool to simulate a lung. The cotton wool gradually became discoloured, changing from beige to dark brown tinged with blackened rust. The teacher exclaimed “and this is the damage caused by one cigarette!”. Today I wonder if they simulated the damage of ethanol on bodily organs, would it have discouraged me from inflicting the regime of detrimental drinking I undertook throughout my twenties and continuing into my mid thirties? I just don’t know.
Two questions changed my life. They quite possibly could’ve prevented my alcoholism from worsening to such an extent I had nothing left to lose approaching AA. Do you obsess about drinking? Do you find it difficult to stop drinking?
The aforementioned questions gave me solace, connection, self worth, knowledge, fulfillment, peace, identity and strength to go on. You might think this is exaggeration or even indoctrination by AA. This is my truth. I obsess about drinking and when I start I don’t stop until it has to stop i.e. the money runs out, my liberty is taken away from me or I’m incapacitated.
These people are like me, my tribe. my home from home. I’ve seen this connection outside of the rooms of AA, It’s bigger than organisations. Empathetic understanding and support from experienced peers is miraculous. Recovery is miraculous in all its forms.