This standard definition of alcoholism in no way portrays what actually used to go on inside of my mind as I was constantly bombarded by my addiction. My entire existences was based on proving that I was not an alcoholic, as I tried in any way possible to be a responsible drinker. I made many, many rules, all concatenated with the idea that I finally had a sneaky plot against my insidious tyrant – alcohol!
I often talk about my last insanity moment with alcohol, as I walked into a store to get food for dinner and instead I walk out with two boxes of wine, completely forgetting that the last time I drank I vowed to never, ever, ever, drink again. While recollecting this incident, it struck me even deeper to hear myself describing how cunning, baffling and persistent this disease is, for that day I commenced to drink as carelessly as though the wine was a ginger ale.*
Most of us who have been struggling enough with alcohol to at least ponder about its effect in our lives, have often been unwilling to admit fully that we may be alcoholics. Of course no person wants to think he is boldly and mentally so different from his fellows.* This type of thinking had forced me to make many excuses as to why things often got out of hand when I was drinking. It was always because that was just a one-time incident, and I really did not have a problem, and I had a very good reason to drink excessively.
I tried to manage my drinking by never doing shots, drinking beer only, drinking wine only, limiting the number of drinks, drinking water in-between drinks, never drinking alone, not drinking in the morning, only drinking at home, never drinking in public, only buying enough for the night, eating before drinking, not eating before drinking, and of course swearing it off if “this” ever happened again. There were many other attempts that “possibly” could fix my drinking, like trying more exercise, taking on a new diet, reading self-help books, dating someone new, and moving far, far away. But none of these worked and the outcome was almost always the same.
By every form of self-deception and experimentation, I was working hard to try to prove to others and myself that I was definitely the exception to the rule* as pertaining to alcoholism. I believed that I had things under control, and that I had many good reasons to drink, because I had a great day or a bad day, I got a new job or I lost a job, I fell in love or I fell out of love, it was a Friday or it was a Monday, I got paid or I was broke, I wanted to socialize or I wanted to be alone, it was a sunny day or it was a rainy day…
I had also fallen a victim to a belief, which practically every alcoholic has at some point — that a long period of sobriety and self-discipline has now qualified us to drink again.* There was a time when I reached nine months of sobriety and I was really confident about my future. I felt like I can do this! This is easy, no problem, I got this!
Then, driving one day, I stopped at a gas station that I have never been to before to get gas. I suddenly had this though cross my mind that now that I have been sober for a while, I surely can have a drink and remain in control! A moment later, I was walking out of the gas station mart with several bottles of wine! Then I proceeded to unintentionally get plastered. The next day I would ask myself, in all earnestness and sincerity how it could have happened again.*
It seemed to me that at certain times I had no effective mental defense against the first drink.* Because whenever alcohol had been involved, I had been strangely insane. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. This is a characteristic of the alcoholic mind, and for this simple fact, no amount of will power or self-knowledge would help me during those strange mental blank spots. *
It is often said that the alcoholic at certain times I has no effective means of defense against the first drink. Except in a few rare cases, neither he nor any other human being can provide such defense. His defense then will have to come from a Higher Power.* This was certainly true for me. When it was just me, myself and I against alcohol, it seemed to win every time. I did not have a Higher Power at the time because I considered myself agnostic. My only defense against the first drink was to avoid all places that would have or sell alcoholic beverages. This proved to be a difficult task and I finally realized that I was missing this important piece. So, little by little I started putting my faith in the universe as my Higher Power, which I believed that would help me stay sober.
This blind Faith in some power, out there somewhere, that was greater than me, and could help restore me to sanity, along with the recovery tools, (you can read about the “tools” HERE), was the cornerstone and a solid foundation for my recovery. What at some point seemed like a hopeless malady, had ultimately changed my life and allowed me to get sober.
*** This post was written using a selection of phrases from Chapter 3: More about Alcoholism of the Alcoholics Anonymous, Big Book, which you can read in its entirety HERE. Whenever you saw an asterisk (* ), the preceding sentence was take out of the text in that chapter. The AA Big Book had a profound affect on my recovery, and was the key component in breaking my own denial about my drinking.
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