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Are You Tired of Being an Alcoholic?

Updated on October 11, 2013
A happy author!
A happy author!

Important information

I did not plan on being an alcoholic when I was twelve
I did not plan on being an alcoholic when I was twelve | Source

I hadn’t planned on doing two hubs about alcoholism. My main fear was that I would be placed in a niche and people would say, “Oh, that’s billybuc, he’s the writer who writes about alcoholism.” Like all writers I want to be known for my writing ability and not because I chose to write about a particular subject. However, the responses to my last hub were so heartfelt, so personal, and so touching that I decided to follow it up with a look at my own drinking history. The hope, of course, is that by reading my story maybe someone else out there who has problems relating to alcoholism will find some comfort and/or understanding about this disease. I have found over the years that the stories of alcoholics have many more similarities than differences and so hopefully my story will strike a chord with some of you who may be struggling with alcoholism.

Having said that let me start by telling you that I never started out hoping to be an alcoholic. Not once when I was a child did I secretly wish that someday I would ruin a marriage because of my drinking. Not once when I was a teenager did I secretly wish that I would lose a job because of my drinking. Not once when I was a young man did I secretly wish to break hearts later on in my life because of my drinking. My goals and dreams were similar to many in that I wanted happiness and a great job and money and love, not necessarily in that order.

As an adopted child I had no idea of the medical history of my birth parents; no idea that my DNA was such that I should be cautious in my dealings with alcohol. In truth I didn’t have my first drink until I was twenty-four but I can tell you that the first drink was a dark German beer and I instantly loved the taste of it and how it made me feel. That shy young man who was so awkward socially found that with alcohol he became much more gregarious and with that first beer the love affair that would turn into a nightmare had begun.

I drank normally through my twenties, quite capable of having a couple beers or hard drinks socially and then not drinking for days afterwards. I would be hard-pressed to tell you when, exactly, I left social drinking behind and entered the world of necessity drinking. I do know that my drinking increased rapidly during my thirties, and as my then wife began to voice her displeasure over my drinking and subsequent behavior I began to hide my drinking on a regular basis. At that point, during quiet moments when I was able to take a close look at myself, I suspected that I had a problem with alcohol, but to admit that I couldn’t stop drinking was way beyond my ability. In response to the growing pressure from loved ones to stop I began “fine-tuning” my drinking. I would attempt to only drink beer or only drink on weekends or only drink with buddies; sadly all attempts to drink “normally” failed miserably, which led to more hiding and increased drinking and a new inner-response: self-loathing for being so weak that I couldn’t stop by myself.

There is no reason to go into detail about the losses suffered over the years. A brief look would show two failed marriages, two lost jobs, a mountain of debt, loss of friends and loved ones and most certainly a loss of self-respect and ultimately a loss of self-love. Finally, in 1990, I entered my first treatment center and after my release I remained sober for ten years. I would love to tell you that the success story begins there but it doesn’t. I was hanging on by my fingernails during those ten years and a relapse was going to happen sooner or later because I had failed to change the one thing that most desperately needed changing, namely myself. The relapse did, indeed, occur, and several others after that, until one day I decided to take a teaching job in a remote native village in Alaska. Separated from loved ones and my AA support system, it was only a matter of time before I began drinking again. While on a field trip to Anchorage I left the school group, holed up in a hotel, and after four days of constant drinking almost drank myself to death.

And that was the best thing that could have happened to me! The year was 2006 and I had finally reached the point where I had run out of answers, run out of excuses and run out of options. Back into treatment I went but I emerged from that month-long session knowing that I wanted to live and knowing that if I was going to live I would have to change damn near everything about me.

For the last five-plus years I have done exactly that. I have surrounded myself with a support system of non-drinkers; I have taken a look at my character defects and changed them. I have rebuilt my life, simplified my life, and in the process discovered that I actually like the person I have become. I have found love and reconnected with writing and found a passion for living that had been missing for decades. This is a story that may well have a very happy ending.

I would love to tell any of you out there who may have alcoholic tendencies that it is easy to break those tendencies but it is not! Stopping drinking is the easy part of recovery; changing who you are is a struggle that leads many back to the bottle. It is hard work and takes constant vigilance and it also takes a willingness to do everything necessary to remain on the new path to recovery. Many fail; many die trying. I am happy to report that I did not die and I love every minute of my new life; I love it so much that I am willing to do whatever it takes to hold onto it.

Today I remember who I was before alcohol entered my life. That person from long ago was caring and compassionate and capable of loving others and himself. That person is making a comeback and that sneaky bastard alcohol can just take a back seat and watch the show from a distance.

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mark my friend, so good to see you. A struggle it was, and we can never let our guard down, but life is good today. I am proud of you too, buddy. Here's to many more sober and happy years.

      blessings always

      bill

    • the clean life profile image

      Mark Bruno 3 years ago from New Jersey Shore

      Bill congrats on defeating those demons. What a trip you went on, back and forth from drinking to sobriety. You remind me so much of me. I went through the almost exact path in life and I am too proud of you Bill and proud of myself that I have been sober since 2009. I know we will always be an alcoholic, but you and I are strong people and we will continue to live a beautiful life of sobriety. We are here to help others now and make them realize that there is a life after an addiction and a great life indeed. I sure learned so much being addicted to alcohol. It was a learning lesson I truly believe. I learned and now I will teach all those that need help as you will do the same.

      God Bless you my friend Bill.

      Mark

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hearts, I just learned as I went. My first hub had none of that technical stuff, then little by little I figured out how to add something new to each hub. I'm still a long way from creating a hub that looks like ones done by folks here for years. Just write good content and you will do fine.

    • HEARTS-and-BONES profile image

      Susan Norman 5 years ago from Greenfield, MA

      Thank you. I look forward to reading your hubs on other subjects. I, too, love to write. I appreciate your ability to put words and sentences together in such a creative way. I hope to post some of my work on Hub Pages, but first I have to figure this whole thing out. Capsules, adding links, etc...The technical stuff is not my forte!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hearts, that is why I wrote it. My experiences just might help someone else and that makes it all worthwhile. I had ten years of sobriety when I relapsed and went back out; now I have five but I am so much happier because I cleaned up the problems I had ignored. I know you will make it and be fine; as you well know, time takes time. Best of luck to you and be well and happy.

    • HEARTS-and-BONES profile image

      Susan Norman 5 years ago from Greenfield, MA

      Hey, Billybuc...I just joined hubpages yesterday and came upon your first "Sneaky Bastard" hub. Even though I have about 20 years of sobriety under my belt, it has been of the on-and-off variety. I can't imagine a more exhausting way to live! It was so helpful reading your hub. Your words are all familiar, of course, but it's so comprehensive...and funny! And I enjoyed reading this hub, as well. I completely related to your story, your struggle. And, as I recently fell off ye olde wagon, I'm now in quite a tricky jackpot with the men in blue here in Greenfield, MA. Yikes. This hub about your experience, falling into the abyss and then successfully finding your way out, gave me much needed HOPE! Thank you!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kathleen, without a doubt it does. I am a little over five years from a living hell so I have no problem remembering what it was like. Bless you and thank you for reading and commenting.

    • profile image

      Kathleen Kerswig 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your experience here. Remembering where we used to be in our struggles with life and where we are now always brings gratitude to the forefront. At least it does for me. Good job!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      ruth...thank you very much. In AA we are taught that is our responsibility to help the still suffering alcoholic so if this hub helps someone then it was all worth it.

    • ruthclark3 profile image

      Ruth Clark 5 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      Well thought out and well written hub. Voted up for beautiful, interesting, and useful. For those in denial, this hub helps to identify, therefore is useful. It's interesting because it's very well written. And, it's beautiful because of the courage and humility you show by caring enough to pass it on.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Oh...the silly little penguins have probably all sent their resumes to Satan....I mean, how much of the Goody-2-shoes crap can one woman tolerate?

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      When I first started teaching I carried a yardstick around all the time...brainwashing to the extreme...never used it but something inside of me told me that teachers do that...I wonder what that something was? There is a special place in heaven (or hell) for the nuns who taught school.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Blush and smile all you want.....I will not stop....(I'm sure you're girlfriend says that all the time...under different circumstances)....teehee. I'm a bad, bad Grandma!! AND A PERFECT EXAMPLE OF 13 YEARS OF CATHOLIC BRAINWASHING.!!

      It's cool, I just slapped my hands with a ruler. Bless me Father............

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Awww fpherj48...thank you for that; you have me blushing and smiling at the same time.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 5 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Way to GO!!! Whatever it is you are doing with your beautiful sober life...I sure hope it includes MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKING!! This hub is genius!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Deborah....you are so right and I can tell you without any doubt that without my support system and the love of my family I would be lost.

    • Deborah-Diane profile image

      Deborah-Diane 5 years ago from Orange County, California

      Alcoholism is such a sneaky disease. It ruins lives, even when people think they are just being sociable. I'm so glad you have been able to find a support system and improve your life!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      As always thank you carozy!

    • carozy profile image

      carozy 5 years ago from San Francisco

      Glad you are doing well.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      mj...I am indeed doing great. You know, in the past twenty years I have probably only been drunk maybe three months, but the amount of damage I did in three months is unbelievable. I commend you for your viewpoint and acceptance and I look forward to reading more of your hubs.

    • mjwilliamson profile image

      MJ 5 years ago from Right Here

      I just read both this hub and the one written before it. I like your presentation of alcoholism and your honesty regarding your own struggles. I grew up in AA. My father was 24 years sober when he passed; I was 24 and a half at the time. I felt my perspective of the situation was unique because unlike my older siblings, I never saw my dad drunk. I did get to see other people's struggles and successes. I spent a lot of time in the back of AA meetings and Al-anon meetings because babysitting wasn't affordable for my parents. All our family friends were from AA..growing up most of my friends were the children of alcoholics. Ironically, when I left for college, it was somewhat of a culture shock to realize not everyone was associated with AA. For me, Alcoholism was never something to embarrassed or ashamed of, it wasn't a social stigma or anything else negative. It was just a fact of life, and I think growing up that was made me a more accepting and loving person as an adult. My dad never believed in regrets; he only believed in what you were going to do differently next time. It sounds like you're doing great, and I'm sincerely happy for you.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks to all who have commented and read about my life; if you have any questions or want follow up please don't hesitate.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Audrey....you are welcome and thank you for reading; I enjoyed your poem Ninety by the way.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      hazelwood4....my pleasure and thank you for reading and sharing your comment and experience. Hopefully the more that it is talked about the more understanding will occur.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pickles....thank you for sharing that. Alcoholism takes no prisoners and for those of us in recovery the memories of the pain we have caused others will always be with us.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 5 years ago from California

      Very thought-provoking hub! Thank you!

    • hazelwood4 profile image

      hazelwood4 5 years ago from Owensboro, Kentucky

      Billy, it is so true we do not start out in our lives wishing we were an addict, but as we go down the journey of our lives those pitfalls seem to find us along the way. Thank you for sharing another thought provoking Hub!

    • picklesandrufus profile image

      picklesandrufus 5 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

      a well written and honest hub. You help people understand the struggle.My father was an alcoholic as have been others in my life. The pain is so bad around it that I didn't bother to understand my dad's pain. This hub helps. thank you.