I’m an alcoholic, it means I had a drinking solution. I drank to solve and resolve everything in my life. To quote Homer Simpson, alcohol is the cause and solution to most of life’s problems. Alcohol didn’t reject me. Alcohol was there in abundance, whether it was manufactured in a factory or at home, it was available. I wasn’t aware of the insatiable obsession I was predisposed to, and even when I was, well, it was what I did. “I don’t do hangovers” I would say, neglecting the intrusive thoughts of shame, guilt and unbearable loneliness.
Four and a half years of sobriety one day at a time has been an incredible experience. I struggle most days with the emotional side of the condition. Addiction to alcohol is latent in the kind of alcoholic that obsesses about where the next drink is coming from and then proceeds to drink copious amounts until oblivion. Alcohol fits the condition like a unique key to a safe containing all the treasures of that person, plus a hand grenade with the pin attached to the door, primed for catastrophe.
I was enabled during my alcoholism, I manipulated, pleaded, humiliated myself many times in the pursuit for the next drink. I learned recently I now enable other people’s addictions by being empathetically blinkered. I’ll rescue and appease because I don’t want the person to experience a lapse or a prolonged relapse. I realise what the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous now means by ‘frothy emotional appeal seldom suffices’. The suffering of an alcoholic isn’t even considered in the societal psyche. I rattled of alcohol many times, my ignorance was such that I was unaware of how dangerous it was. Withdrawing from alcohol dependence is excruciating, but so is the sober mind of the alcoholic. I went back to alcohol time and time again, insanely searching for peace and finding the opposite.
Smiles are free and abundant where I congregate two or three times a week. Recently I’ve been hiding mine conveniently under a grade 2 medical mask. I judge others for not wearing PPE and I sit in fear of the world we now inhabit. Gratitude in the morning is abundant, however I find myself identifying scarcity and yearning for what’s over there on the greener side. Despite this, I’m glad I tried and didn’t give up when I felt vulnerable, sceptical and fearful of everything, even sitting still. Things get better, it’s inevitable when there’s no alcohol involved. Alcohol always exacerbates things, as it’s an abrasive on life’s abundant wealth. Fresh air, sunrise, sunset, autumnal chills, lively chatter, heart to heart conversations, memories of good times remembered looking at photgraphs, walks on the beach, wafting aromas from the family kitchen; there’s an abundance of life quenching experiences out there, if we work for them.