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Alcoholic Relapse. Why Do So Many Fail?

Updated on October 15, 2013

Personal Experience Speaks Louder Than Words

I first entered the halls of Alcoholics Anonymous in 1988, twenty-four years ago. I went because my then-wife insisted I get some help, and going to an AA meeting was easier for me than arguing with her. I stopped on the way to the meeting and bought a bottle of cheap champagne. I drank some of it on the way to the meeting, and drank the rest of it on the way home from the meeting.

Needless to say, whatever was said at the meeting did not do me a lot of good.

Naturally things progressed from there, until in 1990 I found myself in a treatment center. For two weeks I listened and learned about the disease of alcoholism, and when I was released from the center, I was gung-ho and ready to take on the disease, head-to-head, toe-to-toe, and nothing could stop me.

Except me!

Sobriety left me eighteen months later; this time I ended up in a detox center over the 4th of July, 1992, and again came out ready to tackle my demons and show everyone I was made of the right stuff.

Sobriety lasted ten years that time, but in 2002, facing my second divorce, I relapsed and once again slithered back into the embrace of the only answer I had for life.

For the next four years I was in and out, in and out, trying to find the solution. It turns out the solution was right in front of me all along.

I had to do the work.

A happy alcoholic!
A happy alcoholic! | Source

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The One, Two, Three Waltz

Alcoholics Anonymous is built around the Twelve Steps of A.A., sort of a How To manual for changing your life. The first three steps are as follows:

1. Admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Many newcomers to AA have no problem with these three steps. Let’s face it, nobody ends up in the rooms of AA while riding a winning streak. Unless court ordered, anyone who willingly enters an AA room knows that there is a serious problem.

Many are so disgusted and so miserable that they are even willing to believe in a God, or at least some Power that can help them with the insanity.

Step Three is a bit harder, for it requires that the alcoholic give up control of their life, and turn it all over to the God or Power. Giving up control, for an alcoholic, is not an easy thing to do. It basically says that I can no longer handle my life and I need help, and that is a tough one indeed for an ego-driven alcoholic. Hell, it’s a tough one for any human being!

Regardless of the difficulty of these three steps, many alcoholics reach the point where they can do them, and believe in them. Those alcoholics who have been in and out of treatment or detox have no problem believing in the first three steps, and each time they return to AA they breeze through those steps like a knife through warm butter.

We call it the One, Two, Three Step Waltz….do the first three steps and relapse. Do the first three steps and relapse. Do the first three steps and relapse.

So what’s the problem? Why do so many relapse after doing the first three steps? Aren’t they doing what has been suggested that they do?

The answer to that last question is yes and no! Yes, they are doing what has been suggested, by doing the first three steps. No, because they never move beyond the three steps; you see, there are another nine to go, and those nine are what are called the action steps. They require some rather unpleasant soul-searching AND action, and that’s where many fall by the wayside in the program of Alcoholics Anonymous.

When one is miserable enough, it’s easy to admit to being an alcoholic. It is considerably harder to actually do something about it and change your life.

I did not want to be an alcoholic when I was twelve
I did not want to be an alcoholic when I was twelve | Source

What’s so Tough About the Remaining Steps?

Well, let’s take a look at a few and find out.

Step Four states that we must make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves, and then Step Five goes on to say we must admit all of our wrongs to God, to ourselves, AND to another human being.

Oh damn!

It’s one thing to write down all of the things that are wrong about you as a person; it’s another thing to write down all of the moral defects that you have, and all of the pain you have caused others. It is quite another, however, to admit those things to another human being.

One, two, three, and relapse!

Even if you get through four and five, you are still faced with eight and nine. Step Eight asks us to make a list of all persons we have harmed and be willing to make amends to them all, and then Step Nine actually asks us to made direct amends to all people wherever possible.

Oh damn!

Let’s be perfectly honest: many of us have destroyed lives because of our alcoholism. We have caused emotional and psychological pain, and in many cases physical harm as well. Now we are being asked to confront those people and ask for forgiveness?

One, two, three, and relapse!

And so the Cycle Continues

Sadly, many cannot move on in the program because those remaining steps are so difficult, and sadly, many die because of it.

It is said often that drinking is just a symptom of an alcoholic’s real problem, and the real problem is the alcoholic. Freeing oneself from the addiction of alcoholism requires a complete change in the person, and therein lies the reason for the One, Two, Three Waltz. I have said often that anyone can give up booze for a day, or a week, or sometimes months. Not everyone, however, is willing and able to change who they are.

Let's chat about alcoholism

There is a solution
There is a solution | Source

There Is a Solution

Yes, I have known people who did not belong to AA and managed to give up alcohol for the rest of their lives. Yes, I have known people who somehow managed to live years of sobriety based on willpower alone. They are rare but it has and does happen.

However, this alcoholic needed to quit doing the Waltz and start changing who he was; the solution existed if I was willing to do the work. Luckily, when I returned to AA in 2006 after almost drinking myself to death, I was willing as only the dying can be. I knew, in every fiber of my being, that I had one chance and one chance only remaining to me. Since I did not want to die I took that chance, and I did the work, and now, six years later, I have found serenity.

And so, too, can you!

It took me twenty-four years but I finally made it. Hard work indeed and yes, determination and yes, willingness. And I could lose it all tomorrow!

The choice is mine!

I could live the rest of my life happy and content.

The choice is mine!

I know what I choose! How about you?

2012 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dream On, you humble me with your words and I thank you. I'm just a guy...I have made mistakes and I have struggled mightily along the way. Now it is my turn to reach out to others and offer hope. Sometimes all we need is hope to make it through another horrific day. As long as there is hope there is life my friend.

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 4 years ago

      I congratulate you on your success.The most important reason is that you are alive and living thank God.Then of course without you so many hubbers would be without your videos and your personal down to earth interesting writings.You challenge your readers to reach for something more and nock my socks off with your persistent treasure chest of knowledge.When I was younger I had many friends that would drink.I never liked drinking.I didn't like the taste or the feeling of losing control.I admit some funny things happened to friends that drank that made it seem wonderful and the temptation was to do it again.I could never hold my alcohol. So instead of competing with my friends and try to drink more.I became the biggest light weight.Two drinks was enough for me.Then later I just drank soda and then water.I use to joke and say I will have a water on the rocks.That is before water became popular.It sounded cool to me.Like I was drinking something .(good old peer pressure)I was drinking healthy and I couldn't see the damage to my friends and my family until years later when some had serious problems.Anyone who struggles day to day I give my support and encouragement.Thanx so much and another incredible hub.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Beckie, you hit on the key....it's easy to say you want to change, but the key is in the willingness to do anything necessary to bring about that change. Walking the talk is considerably more difficult and that's where we lose so many alcoholics and drug addicts.

      Thank you; your loyalty and friendship mean the world to me.

      love,

      billy

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

      I have to say, admitting your wrong-doings to others is difficult regardless of the disease. I commend you for continuing to pick yourself up and start from the beginning each and every time. I have known many who never gave it the continued attempts you have. I guess it has to be wanted, or in your case sobriety is more attractive than death.

      You are a great human being and I am glad you keep the faith and keep slaying those dragons in a battle.

      Love and God Bless Billy

      Beckie XO

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dianna, if I inspire anyone with my story then I am grateful. Thank you so much my friend, and Merry Christmas to you and yours.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      Your story is always told with inspiration and new hope for those who need to hear how they can overcome these habits. I can only imagine how much hold alcohol has over a person, never having been in this situation I can only know through the sharing you do here. You have made me realize it is one thing I never want to get involved in, but can pray for and help those who have this in their lives every day. Thanks for sharing the truth. Enjoy your weekend and have a wonderful Christmas season.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      HL, it is a happy story with a fantastic ending....for me. Now my job is to reach out to the still suffering alcoholics and show them that it is possible to be happy without alcohol. Thank you for your kindness and understanding.

    • HLPhoenix profile image

      HLPhoenix 4 years ago

      Such a straight, strong, clear statement of what it takes to beat this terrible affliction. Anyone who doesn't understand that alcoholism is a disease not a choice doesn't understand chemistry... however, as you have repeatedly demonstrated 'choosing' life over death, suffering through the agonies of withdrawal and the temptation of oblivion, one can actually make a healthier, happier and very valuable life for oneself... as you have. Your story brought tears to my eyes... and eventually a smile to my face. This really is a Christmas Story, as a happy ending or even a happy beginning of sobriety, must be the Christmas wish of so many alcoholics and their families. Definely sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Yvonne, that is my hope. We all fail; it does not have to be the end; it is only a learning experience that we build on. Thank you for this comment; I agree with you completely.

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 4 years ago from UK

      This is sure to be very helpful to anyone on the road to sobriety. I remember when I was researching for my novel that an alcohol counsellor told me that most people lapse at some point and how they handle it can make all the difference: if they think that means they are hopeless they are more likely to go on drinking. So your experience really shows that a lapse is not the end. Your hub will be so helpful for people because you have been through it and they can see that even if they don't succeed first time, they can still try again.

      Very useful, tweeted.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Paula! What you see is what you get with me. Warts, bumps, bruises, and an appreciation for life that could only come from those imperfections. I am so appreciative of your understand and friendship. Thank you!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      bil...When I want to really know something, understand it and grasp the facts and every ugly little truth.....I want to listen to someone who KNOWS, from the very core of their being.....so I can hear it, see it and feel it all......I want to be able to "be there" as they have been, so there's no doubt left...Thank you!.............UP+++

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thanks Deb; with this matter, there is no reason to beat around the bush. It can kill!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      This was so well done and right to the point without skating on ice. HYou make an excellent mentor!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Pearl, I pary that your sister-in-law finally sees the truth; until then, she's going to have to suffer as we all do until we have had enough. It's a long, tough road we travel my friend; some learn faster than others. Thankfully, I learned before it was too late.

      Thank you Pearl!

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      Connie Smith 4 years ago from Southern Tier New York State

      Billy, your willingness to open up your life, warts and all, is to be applauded. It is hard to admit your mistakes to yourself, let alone to other humans, as you said in this excellent article.

      Unfortunately, my sister-in-law continues to drink, especially on holidays and any stressful time. I'm afraid it will take a life-threatening event to finally let her see that she is destroying herself, her young daughter and her husband. Reading your story I can continue to hope that she will finally face her demons and 'do the work' necessary.

      Voted Up, Interesting and Awesome, my friend.

      Pearl

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mary, giving up cigarettes is a good analogy and it fits well in this discussion. Any craving of the mind and body takes a great deal of work and determination to break.

      Thank you so much; if these hubs help other alcoholics, then my journey was worth it.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      Though I don't presume to relate smoking to alcoholism, I can imagine the battle somewhat. I am battling it right now. No cigarettes for 5 weeks but still wanting.

      I truly admire your courage and determination not to mention your bearing your soul to help others! Keep on truckin!

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and beautiful.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Vellur, I hope you are right! If so, I will be a very happy writer and alcoholic.

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 4 years ago from Dubai

      Congratulations on your success. This hub will definitely help to kick the habit. Great work. Voted up.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rich, thank you very much! I'm the one who caused the problems and I was the one who had to figure out how to make things right. I"m glad I did!

      Here's a toast of orange juice to you!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Martin, it would indeed. Maybe some day the researchers will come up with something.

      Thank you Sir!

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 4 years ago from Kentucky

      Bill - Congratulations on all these years of effort. I never had the alcohol monkey to deal with ... never liked the taste that much, nor the hangovers. But, I've had several good friends that ruined marriages and futures because of it. Great job, my friend! I think I'll restrain to saying, "Let's drink to another 24!" Oh well, I tried.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Thank you for this. 2 years. but my body will not tolerate alcohol. Would it be great if people who wanted to stop had this part of my illness. No withdrawals. No cravings.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Doc! I am very appreciative and honored by your words. It was a long road, one I have no intention of ever traveling again. :)

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      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      I admire your strength, courage and determination. You did it and that's all that matters not how long it took you my friend. Congratulations!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      K J, thank you! I'm sorry you had to go through that abuse....I'm not sure a 12 step program would cure that kind of sickness. :)

    • K J Page profile image

      K J Page 4 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Great hub, Bill.....I know it is hard to go through - I had two brothers who did. I wish they would put together a program like that for abusers. I think they need the same system...being married to one was the same way - the steps to change was always way too hard....COngratulations

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Glimmer, I hope so too! Thank you my friend, and Happy Holidays!

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

      I really hope that people who need help and are discouraged find this hub and get the courage they need to do it. So well written Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jo, I will stay strong, as long as I keep doing what I'm doing. :) Thank you for your kindness; I certainly hope that these words help someone else.

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      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Billy, they say what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, I read your articles, watch your videos, and what I see is a strong, caring and gentle man. Sometimes we have to know the darkness to appreciate the light. We all have our demons to fight, battle by battle win some lose some, but now and then we win the war, although we still need to be vigilant. You chose The perfect time to open your heart, I know this article will give hope to so many people who are also fighting their own demons this Christmas.

      Love is a potent healer. My best wishes to you and Bev, stay strong my friend.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      PS, I am one drink away from dying. That thought crosses my mind several times a week. The cravings are gone; have been for quite a few years now. I live a normal life and I am happy....and I am one drink from dying. :)

      It's fairly important that I remember that fact. :)

      Thank you for the angels; they are most welcome, as are you, anytime!

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Louisa! Anyone who would trivialize any disorder has no idea what they are talking about. It's important that you talked about OA...I'm sure there are millions who need to hear your message.

      Thank you my friend!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 4 years ago from sunny Florida

      Crawling out of a bottle is a life long journey. You may reach the top but it is one drink that can cause you, me, anyone to slip back down into the depths of despair. I am so happy for you. We may have never known the Bill we know here if you had not found your way out of the abyss.

      AA has been a life saver for so many; it does demand a lot of the individual but that is probably by design for sure.

      Sending Angels to you to rejoice in your sobriety. ps

    • Louisa Rogers profile image

      Louisa Rogers 4 years ago from Eureka, California and Guanajuato, Mexico

      Bill, I worked the 12 steps in OA, and it too has brought me serenity, one day at a time. At times the issues in OA have felt particularly difficult because you cannot stop eating altogether, if you want to stay alive. Eating disorders in our society are often trivialized, ridiculed, and glamorized all at the same time, yet the issues are as painful and severe as any I've ever experienced. But we feel stupid saying so because they sound like the privileged problems belonging to a privileged society, silly, inane.

      Sorry. I'm not suggesting my experience is worse. Each illness has its particular darkness and the steps are universal, timeless, and work if you work them.

      Thanks and keep coming back!

      Louisa

      PS I got into the heart of your message and forgot to say-- eloquent hub!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Travmaj, it is the most harmful drug on the scene, and also, as you said, socially acceptable. That's what makes it so dangerous.

      Thank you for weighing in on the subject.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      This is very profound and thought provoking - and so damned true. So many lives touched by alcohol and yet it is still promoted, advertised for young people of today. Almost a 'must' if you are to be on the social scene. Saying 'no' is hardly an option. That's the beginning - but often there's no glimpse of the future...Road fatalities are almost always alcohol fueled - at least AA is some light shining out there...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Laurinzo....thank you for that. I really mean it. Being so damn human! I tried, at one time, to be more than that. Now I find great comfort in it. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Melissa, if my sharing helps one other person then it was all worth it. Thank you for your kindness; I greatly appreciate you.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sha, maintaining sobriety is always the toughest part. We have built-in forgetters that convince us that we are okay now.....and that thought could prove deadly, as I almost found out.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      B....exactly my friend! There is no shame in being an alcoholic.....and there is a solution if you want it. Yes it is hard work, but so is living for someone homeless. :)

    • Laurinzo Scott profile image

      Live To Write 4 years ago from Phoenix, Az.

      Wow!!! I must say thank you Bill , not only for another fine piece of writing but for a really honest and realistic look at the struggles one can go through; but you also did shine the light on "the light at the end of the tunnel"

      Thanks for writing this one Bill, and for being so damn Human!!!

      Laurinzo

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruchira, having someone on this journey with me makes all the difference in the world. Thank you for your heartfelt words of kindness. You are appreciated!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nancy, no it isn't, and many die trying. Sad but the harsh reality of this disease.

      Thank you!

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      Shauna L Bowling 4 years ago from Central Florida

      This is useful for any addiction, Bill. Congrats on your sobriety and inner strength. I would imagine the hardest part is maintaining that inner strength.

    • mpropp profile image

      Melissa Propp 4 years ago from Minnesota

      This was a very moving hub, Bill. Alcoholism is such a hard disease to face and fight--but I also know it can be done. Even if it takes 3 times, 5 times, or 10 times--it is never too late for that individual to overcome this addiction. Sadly, as you pointed out, some people don't get another chance to fight it. I'm so glad that you did and that you share your testimony with the rest of us.

    • B. Leekley profile image

      Brian Leekley 4 years ago from Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

      Up, Useful, Interesting, and Beautiful, and shared with followers and on social networking sites.

      No shame and no excuses sums it up for someone doing the 12 steps. The same goes for the loved ones of an alcoholic -- don't enable and don't guilt-trip.

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      Bless you Bill for opening up your flaws to the world.

      I agree that a weakness usually overpowers us esp when we are emotionally weak. You were going through a challenging time during your divorce and you fell. I am glad you got up, licked your bruises and Bev is there with you to help you in each step you walk.

      Wishing you the best, my friend!

      Voted up as interesting, useful and sharing it across

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 4 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      You know what I choose, sobriety for all. Unfortunately, living with an alcoholic hardens you to their problems and you mistakenly think if only they get sober, it will be different. But that is untrue. You are correct the alcoholic must change themselves. Not an easy task for anyone.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Broken, I am so sorry for your loss. This is an ugly disease that takes no prisoners. Thank you for the visit and the follow, and blessings to you.

    • Broken-Angel profile image

      Kikki 4 years ago from Colchester

      Thank you for sharing this... I recently lost my mum to alcohol. It is a very hard habit to kick. You have to be very strong willed i think and get the best help you can that is something my mum never did. x

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Linda, thank you my dear! Courage? I guess, but part of the program is to give back....when I write an article like this I am doing the 12th Step, and it's important for my sobriety. So, I'm helping other alcoholics and helping myself.

      Life is beautiful today; who would have ever thunk it six years ago? LOL

      hugs my friend,

      bill

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eddy, you said it perfectly....we have earned the good days! I make no excuses; the choices of the past were mine and mine alone. Today I choose to love today, and cherish every moment I have, and not waste another minute of this life living in the darkness.

      Thank you my dear; sending love your way from stormy Olympia.

      billy

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Xstatic, what a great piece of AA history. Thank you for sharing that story. It's been a long road, and I got lost a number of times, but today life is good.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Janine, believe me when I tell you it did not come easy, but I am so happy that I am where I am at today. Now my job is to help others, and that I plan on doing.

      Thank you my friend; hug those girls today and hold them tight.

    • xstatic profile image

      Jim Higgins 4 years ago from Eugene, Oregon

      An outstanding and courageous Hub, Bill. My best friend from highschool, and alcoholic at an early age, got sober later, but died way to young at about 40. I will encourage my wife to read this. She edited and published a book about written by her dad about her grandfather, a prominent Presbyterian minister in Georgia and DC who fell victim to alcoholism, was disgraced and eventually got sober and helped found AA in the Georgia area.

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 4 years ago from Wales

      Spot on Billy ;I felt each step you took ; my achievements have had nothing to do with alcohol ;but I know the getting so far and then sliding down to square one once again!!Until finally the day came for me to walk away from my home and from my violent ex ;ten years ago now!!! Today I walk tall and proud knowing who the true ME is;knowing I have succeeded knowing I will always cope with whatever life has in store for me from this day on.I think we are both very much alike and we have a story of great success to share.

      Again I share and vote across/up. Have a wonderful day with your Bev and send my love to her also. We have earned the good days and here's to a long time to come of sincere friendship and hub sharing .

      Lots of love from my little corner of Wales.

      Eddy.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Phoenix, very good my friend! Yes, every single time I write about alcoholism, I am trying to help the still suffering alcoholic. How perceptive of you! Thank you for your kind words my new loyal friend. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Steph! It is a bastard to beat; happily I have today and that's all that counts.

    • phoenix2327 profile image

      Zulma Burgos-Dudgeon 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      Congratulations, Bill. You've been on quite a journey but it sounds like you made it to the other side. I admire your courage in writing so openly about this. I suppose though you need to have that kind of courage to get past Step 3. Dare I ask if this hub is part of Step 12?

    • stephhicks68 profile image

      Stephanie Hicks 4 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Such a confounding disease! My heart breaks for those who want to quit (just maybe not enough) and I guess those people are the ones stuck in the one, two, three waltz. Makes sense, I guess.

      Great, helpful hub, as always Bill! Best to you, Steph

    • lrc7815 profile image

      Linda Crist 4 years ago from Central Virginia

      It takes a lot of courage to lay one's life out for the world to see Bill. Although I am not an alcoholic, like most of us, I have lived with my own demon called co-dependency. It is no less destructive than alcoholism. It resulted in bad choices and most of my adult life was spent with an alcoholic. After my divorce, I particpated in Al-non and successfully completed a program for family members of addicts. I had to work my own steps and I discovered that the one about making amends was the most liberating thing I had ever experienced. I am now a survivor and focused on self-preservation. I know who I am and don't need anyone else to define me. That doesn't mean I don't need others. I simply don't need them to be "me". You have said it beautifully - it is ALL about choices. And like you, I have chosen a higher road. Kudos to you my kindred spirit.

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

      Absolutely beautiful explanation advice here to those fighting their demons and battle alcoholism. I am just so happy you that you have gotten to this point and are trying to help others who are dealing with this. You really are an inspiration and are proud to have gotten to know you and call you a friend. Have of course voted up and shared all over!!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Carol, only 12 a day, huh? No problem there. LOL We can deceive ourselves quite well for sure. Today I am done with the deception, and as a result I am happy. Thank you for your kind words and friendship.

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      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      Very powerful statements..and as always honest as you can possibly be..which is a lot. I know many alcoholics some recovering and some just living with it. Many do not know they are alcoholics...We have a good friend who suffers from alcoholism and talks about others as if he is not one. He only drinks beer..HAHA..about a minimum of 12 a day..Pretty heart..and lots of alcohol. I had no idea you went through all that you did. I know it is a daily commitment and one you have to be aware all the time. This is a good learning post for many as you have proven that you never Quit Quitting.