Coming to terms with my alcoholism and accepting that my life has become unmanageable was probably one of the hardest things that I have ever done. Seeing and accepting the insanity of it all seemed even harder! Driven by my addiction and the mental obsession to continue to drink no matter what, I failed to see the craziness of it all! I was definitely not insane! Not at all! And I certainly did not need to be “restored to sanity,” because I thought that everything I did when I was drinking was very normal and thoroughly thought out by me!
It was normal to stash my alcohol all over the house, because then it was always available.
It was normal to tell elaborate stories to the grocery clerk when buying large quantities of wine. I was being friendly.
It was normal to double bag my trash, I mean no one needed to hear all that noise.
It was normal to drink large amounts of wine before going out to a bar or club, so I wouldn’t have to drink so much once I got there.
It was normal to smuggle wine in a sippy cup to work… I actually thought that it was ingenious!
It was normal to start drinking at 7 in the morning when I got off the night shift, and drink until noon, then go to bed. I just reversed the day!
It was normal to sell my car after my DUI so I could still drink and not worry about driving.
It was normal to go to a bar right after the 10 am breathalyzer at the ASAP (Alcohol Safety Action Program) class, since I couldn’t drink the night before.
It was normal to be dating a man twice my age, because he was the same age as David Letterman and Letterman is so cool!
It was normal to go to a bar by myself on a Saturday night, because I was just that cool.
It was normal for me to buy top-shelf drinks when out, but at home I only drank boxed wine. I was saving money.
It was normal to hide the car keys at home so I wouldn’t go out in a blackout. I was being safe.
Yes, yes, all normal and quite sane, right?!?! Because, it all made perfect sense to me!
Then one day I met a friend for lunch who I have not seen in 15 years! As I started telling her a bit about what was been going on I could see her face get more of the look of disbelief. She finally said, “OMG, I am so sorry, that’s horrible, you’ve been through a great ordeal!” I remember sitting there and thinking, really? That was horrible? Ordeal? I honestly thought it was all just FINE.
Now I can laugh about it all, my thinking was so skewed, I still some times have to say, “Normal people don’t do that!” The alcohol is cunning and baffling!
The Definition of Alcoholism
“…Therefore, the committee agreed to define alcoholism as a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. The disease is often progressive and fatal. It is characterized by impaired control over drinking, preoccupation with the drug alcohol, use of alcohol despite adverse consequences, and distortions in thinking, most notably denial. Each of these symptoms may be continuous or periodic.” (JAMA. 1992;268:1012-1014, The Definition of Alcoholism)
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