- Quality of Life & Wellness
Alcohol Abuse and What It Looks Like
- Alcoholism: What A Sneaky Bastard It Is!
This author has battled alcoholism for several decades. This is a story of freedom from the addiction, a story of triumph over a disease that takes no prisoners. It is, in fact, a story of the human spirit and the power of love.
- Understanding The Third Step of Alcoholics Anonymous
The Third Step of Alcoholics Anonymous is the foundation upon which the rest of recovery is built; without this commitment, which is really a commitment to change one's life, we are doomed to fail.
Is there an alcoholic in your family?
This is the second draft of this article. I was asked by the hubpages leadership to re-write it because they believed it too closely resembled other hubs already written. I spent a couple days in a snit over that review, mainly because there have literally been thousands of articles written on the subject and it is impossible to write about it without regurgitating something that has already been written.
Then I took a step back and read the comments that had already been written about the hub. Some 244 people had already read it before it was suspended and many of them took the time to write the most beautiful comments about their own experiences with alcoholism. They were incredibly personal comments, deeply appreciative and they touched my heart. That was when I decided that it was selfish of me to not rewrite it, that too many people had been affected by it in its original form and it was a disservice to them if I chose to walk away in a snit.
So I will give it another go. The title tells you that this hub is about the things you should and should not do when dealing with an active alcoholic, and I stand by them. However, I will not spend much time going over them but rather will devote the remainder of this hub discussing my personal experiences with the list.
THE DO’S AND DON’T’S
A simple list will suffice and then we will move on.
1. Admit that there is a problem
2. Seek as much information as possible about this disease
3. Never enable the alcoholic that you are dealing with
4. Never lose your temper with the alcoholic
5. Above all, take care of yourself
6. Live your life for your health and benefit
7. Seek intervention for the alcoholic
8. Establish consequences for the alcoholic behavior
9. If necessary, leave the alcoholic or force them to leave if they will not seek help
Some of my followers have been amazed that I am willing to open up and talk about such a personal subject and they have expressed surprise that I would take the chance considering the possible negative reactions. I will tell you now my own thoughts on that subject: nobody can hurt me as much as I have hurt myself over the years. If there are those out there who would condemn me for my illness and my actions because of it, then I welcome their comments and we will begin a discourse about it. I stand by my life story and I make no excuses concerning it.
I have been an alcoholic all my life; this is a disease you are born with and it just lies in wait until that time when the moment is right for it to strike. For me that moment did not come until I was twenty-six years old. The taste of that first dark German ale was like meeting someone you instantly know is going to be your best friend. Your new friend makes you feel good about yourself, gives you self-confidence you never knew existed, and gives you the freedom to express yourself in ways you never would have believed prior to meeting them. Alcohol was a wonderful friend for me the first few years and I loved those times when we would get together and share enlightenment and freedom. I had no way of knowing what was to come; since I am adopted there was no family history to warn me, no relatives who could serve notice by example. I just knew that I enjoyed being with my best friend and enjoyed his company immensely.
THE TURNING POINT WAS HARD TO DEFINE
Slowly my best friend and I began to bicker. He and I would begin an evening in a great mood but by evening’s end we were bickering, and I could see at times that he did not have my best interests in mind. He allowed me to go beyond accepted social behavior on many occasions; he urged me on to be louder and funnier and less concerned with the outcome of my behaviors. I would wake up the next morning feeling bad about my time with my best friend and that concerned me because I thought we had a wonderful relationship, one that could withstand the test of time.
I still did not realize that my buddy planned all along to turn on me; while I was living in some delusional Utopia, believing that all was well, he was doing push-ups in preparation for the day he would kick my ass….and kick my ass he did.
THE SLOW GLIDE DOWN THE STEEP, STEEP HILL
Have you ever gone sledding? I remember as a kid anxiously awaiting the first snowfall; we would rush out once the snow had built up and we would tackle the neighborhood hill, whooping and hollering as we navigated the freshly-covered slope. After a few times, though, the slope seemed pretty tame so we would head out in search of a steeper hill. Eventually we would find one that was sure to present a challenge and the thrill of a lifetime. I clearly recall starting out on the hill, thrilled beyond belief as I looked ahead down that hill, but then suddenly realizing that what appeared to be mildly challenging was in fact the mother of all hills and there was a real chance I was going to get hurt before I reached the bottom.
Welcome to my life in the 80’s! I was heading down that steep hill and I knew I was out of control but I had no idea how to stop or get help. I simply held on for dear life and hoped I would survive…and then I exhibited classic alcoholic behavior…I got up, grabbed my sled and went right back to the top to ride that monster again. They tell us in Alcoholics Anonymous that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again but to expect different results, and so it was with me and my best friend. He was leading me into some serious trouble and I knew he was bad for me but a bond had been formed, a bond so strong that I couldn’t….wouldn’t, break it. He was, in truth, kicking my ass and I kept calling him up the next day hoping that it would be different the next time, that he and I could somehow salvage our friendship.
NO SALVATION IN SIGHT
There would be no salvation; that steep hill chewed me up and spit me out; my best friend tossed me to the curb like so much useless garbage. My family pleaded with me to no avail. My employers pleaded with me to no avail. My friends pleaded with me to no avail. Marriage, job, possessions, all gone, and I found myself quite literally on the street wondering how it all could have gone so badly. I was morally bankrupt, physically depleted and without hope. Or so it seemed!
ONE SMALL GLIMMER
I was one of the lucky ones! How can I say that you ask? Simply because somewhere in that darkness there was a tiny ray of light, so dim that it could not be seen by anyone other than me. Somewhere in that darkness there was the desire to live and the willingness to do anything necessary to live.
It has been thirty years now since I began that journey. I have stumbled, risen, stumbled and risen again, always keeping my eye on that ray of light, but now that ray of light shines brightly and the darkness is gone.
I have no degree in psychology, no degree in alcohol abuse, no shingle above my door proclaiming to the world that I am an expert in this field. Others far more qualified than I have written numerous articles about this disease and how to deal with it. I am just a wanderer trying to traverse a road less-travelled. I can tell you this, though, and know that it is accurate: nobody can overcome alcoholism unless they want to, and until that day arrives life is for the living. The list above recognizes that truth and is meant to give you some insider information that might help you when a loved one is struggling with alcoholism. The bottom line is this: if they are not willing to get help then you need to live your life independent of them and if necessary separated from them. There is no reason for this disease to claim more victims than it already has.
I LOVE HAPPY ENDINGS, DON’T YOU?
Nobody can hurt me as much as I hurt myself. My loved ones recognize that fact; they have loved me unconditionally until I was able to love myself I have no regrets at this point in my life; to regret is to invite shame and there is no shame in being sick. I have the rest of my life to live free of shame and I plan on living it to the fullest, full-speed ahead and damn the torpedoes. Life is good today and will remain good as long as I am willing.
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)