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Are You Powerless Over Alcohol?

Updated on September 25, 2013

I was driving with a friend awhile back through downtown Olympia and we passed an old wino on the street. He was huddled down next to a building, ragged clothes, dirty, disheveled and clutching a bottle of fortification in a brown paper sack. My friend, who knows that I am a recovering alcoholic, looked at the old wino then looked at me and said, “Thank God you aren’t as bad as that old drunk.”

Well guess what? Yes, I am that bad! Do not for a second let my “normal” appearance fool you. I am an alcoholic and will always be an alcoholic. I’m reminded of something I heard very early on in recovery: you can put a dress on a pig but it’s still a pig. True, it is a rather well-dressed pig, but nothing will change it from being a pig. To a stranger on the street I certainly do not look like one would expect an alcoholic to look but looks, in this case, are very deceiving. Firmly attached to my DNA is a time bomb just waiting for me to light the fuse.

Allow me to give you some pertinent facts about alcoholism and then we will re-visit this topic.


Yes, this kid is an alcoholic! He just doesn't know it yet.
Yes, this kid is an alcoholic! He just doesn't know it yet. | Source
I almost died one week after this picture was taken
I almost died one week after this picture was taken | Source

The Nature of Alcoholism

This is a progressive disease. It is an obsession of the mind and a craving of the body and it only gets worse and never better. What do I mean when I say it is progressive? The disease of alcoholism continues to grow inside the body and mind of an alcoholic whether that person is drinking or not. An alcoholic could stop drinking for twenty years and if they suddenly began again it would be as if they had never stopped because the disease was doing pushups and preparing for that relapse so it could once again kick the ass of that alcoholic. I know this for a fact because I had to find out the hard way as I often have to do. I was sober from 1992-2002 and then relapsed and within three days I was no longer a functioning human being. In three days I lost a marriage, a home, a job and all self-respect, and that was after ten years of sobriety.

My story is not unique! What makes me somewhat unique is my willingness to go public with my disease and my story of recovery. There is a stigma in society concerning alcoholics and to a certain extent I can understand it. The damage to family and society that alcoholics do is enormous and many times the pain inflicted is enough to sour a person against alcoholics for a lifetime. Many a friendship has been lost, many a job has been terminated, because knowledge of someone’s alcoholism was discovered. The point is that many alcoholics do not choose to share with “normies” information about their disease simply because they fear a negative outcome.

I, on the other hand, share for three reasons. First, I believe that if one person is helped by reading my story then it will have all been worth it. Second, nobody can hurt me as much as I hurt myself over the years so if people want to judge me or shun me for my disease then I wish them well. Third, I keep myself sober by re-telling my story. By not keeping secrets and by being willing to share the truth I prevent old behaviors from cropping up once again.

Yes, I am that wino you see on the street corner, and I have no intention of ever returning to my own personal street corner again.


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Alcoholics Come in All Sizes and Shapes

It is my guess that most of you who are reading this know several alcoholics and you aren’t even aware of it. We come from all walks of life; this disease is an all-inclusive disease in that it accepts membership from all races, ages and creeds. Doctors, lawyers, bricklayers, school teachers and cable installment guys and gals are alcoholics. If you were to go to an AA meeting you would see people from all walks of life there, some wearing designer clothes and others tattered clothing that hasn’t been washed in years. You will see teenagers and octogenarians; you will see housewives and state legislators and all in-between. Many will go home to their loving families after the meeting; some will return to their tents under the freeway overpass. Some will return to their jobs; others will head for the welfare lines because they have used up all of their chances. Many will return for the next meeting; some will relapse and die within weeks.

Yes, I am that wino you see on the street corner!


How the brain of an alcoholic works

It Is so Easy to Forget

I know, that seems like a bizarre statement, but we alcoholics have what we call built-in forgetters. After a few months the alcohol is out of our systems completely. We are rehabilitating and feeling good about life. Maybe we got our wife back or we found a new job. We start to pay off our bills and our health improves. We hear how well we are doing and life upon that pink cloud is excellent and seemingly will go on forever.

And then we forget! We drop our guard, stop going to meetings, get fully involved with the daily activities of life and one day someone will suggest we stop for a beer after work and we think “what the hell, I’m doing damn good, one beer won’t hurt.” At that moment the wise words that one drink is too much and one hundred are never enough rings true once again and the madness returns.

Yes, I am that wino you see on the street corner!


An Interesting Thing Happens to Many Alcoholics

I have seen this happen so I know it to be true. After a certain period there are some recovering alcoholics who begin to believe that they have risen above the slime and muck of that wino on the street corner. They begin to believe that they are better than that and would never drink to such an extent that their lives would reach that point. Maybe they have never had a DUI; maybe they have never been arrested for assault and battery or lost a job and their family is miraculously still together. The danger for those is lurking in the shadows of their own minds. Once an alcoholic believes that it could never be that bad for them then all bets are off for their survival. Once an alcoholic believes that they are not as bad as that wino on the street corner then they have placed one foot firmly in their own grave.

Yes, I am that wino you see on the street corner!


Finally found happiness
Finally found happiness | Source

My Number One Priority in Life Is Sobriety

It’s the only way it can be for me. Once I turn away from the world of sobriety that I have constructed I am a dead man walking; the only thing in question is when I will die from my own actions. I have surrounded myself with sober friends and others who will support my journey. I have made the conscious decision to spend the rest of my life helping others not only because I want to give back to the community and the still suffering alcoholics but also because by giving I am helping myself. I have made the decision to live a life of love, compassion and empathy. For too many years I lived a selfish life that caused pain to others. The rest of my life will be filled with giving because that’s as it should be.

Yes, I am that wino you see on the street corner and the day I believe I am different from him is the day I have forfeited a life I have worked awfully hard to re-build. I love my life today. I love those who are friends and family. My life is incredible and I have made the decision never to return to the old ways again. Old Man Alcohol will just have to turn his attention to someone else because I’m doing my own pushups and kicking some ass for good measure.

For those of you struggling with addiction, I hope this article will help you. If you have a loved one struggling with addiction I pray for them that they may find the answer I have found. May you all find peace and happiness as I have.

2012 Bill Holland (aka billybuc)

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    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rusti, if we keep doing what we are doing we will keep getting what we are getting....sober I am allowed to meet extraordinary people like you and I'm able to appreciate you and your journey. That is a gift my dear!

    • Rusti Mccollum profile image

      Ruth McCollum 5 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon

      You are the sweetest man Billy. Hang in there my friend ?Still here if you need a friend.♥

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Travel, great comment and you are oh so right! The miracle today is that I have no desire to drink and that is a blessing for sure. Thank you my friend and peace and happiness to you as well.

    • TravelAbout profile image

      Katheryn 5 years ago from United States

      billybuc

      Admitting it is a good part of the battle. Your hub about trying to see the glass as half full is another piece that will help too. Even when things are really going awry and I could be tempted to escape with a substance, be it alcohol, drugs, or other means, I stop and firmly tell myself that the problems and negative feelings will still be there when I sober up and I just have to face things head on and know that there was something to be learned from the experience no matter how negative. Blessings to your continued sobriety and the many friends you have here on HP.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rusti, thank you for your kindness. I never turn away friends. The same goes to you my dear.

    • Rusti Mccollum profile image

      Ruth McCollum 5 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon

      I'm here also if you need a friend. I do understand your plight ,more than you realize, going back to my earlier comment.We are all here to help eachother. This is the 2nd time ,I have been drawn to this article! So I'm still here if you need a friend! ♥

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Teaches, I appreciate your words. I have reached a point in my life where I no longer have to battle. As long as I keep doing what I'm doing I'll keep getting what I'm getting, namely happiness.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      Your statement ours is a journey of progress and not perfection is what struck me most in your hub. That's what life is for all of us, but more so for those who have had to combat a disease or habitual abuse. You are progressing well and perfection will come. Thanks for the inside view on this topic. Voted way up!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Read and commented....no problem imagining it happening to me long ago.

    • goego profile image

      goego 5 years ago from Loserland

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Nice Goego, very nice! The truth is there; turned out the problem was always me. Damn I hate it when that happens. :) Thanks for the verse and read.

    • goego profile image

      goego 5 years ago from Loserland

      Stay strong my friend, the bottle is always an easy pour... until you end up on the floor. Not for me anymore and it's still a chore, those suds shook me down to the core and left me poor. No blame to place anymore, I am the one who put it in my face... only in an attempt to replace the feelings I couldn't trace, it's in my genes I guess is the case...

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      King, your words of advice are sound. YOu would be surprised, however, by the number of medical professionals who are not knowledgeable about alcoholism. Bottom line: get help somewhere and be willing to do anything necessary to beat this disease.

    • kingphilipIV profile image

      Ramphil Basco 6 years ago from Iloilo, Philippines

      It is better if we consult a medical professional about this problem as soon as possible. This could be a serious problem if we take it for granted. This post is very informative. Thanks for sharing this with us. :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rusti we are indeed and if I can ever be support for you all you have to do is reach out. Thank you for following my journey as I will follow yours.

    • Rusti Mccollum profile image

      Ruth McCollum 6 years ago from Lake Oswego, Oregon

      We are here to help eachother. Thru knowledge or otherwise.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Akeejaho, thank you kindly and just pass it on. Our experiences are worthless if we keep them hidden and don't share them with others. I appreciate your kind words.

    • akeejaho profile image

      akeejaho 6 years ago from Some where in this beautiful world!

      Wonderful work billy. I have been tuning into your Hubs and can't really tell you which one is my favorite. Insightful and full of love for your fellow travelers in this life. I feel best when I share experiences as I see you do. I have made many mistakes in my life, and by sharing them, perhaps others can side step the same pitfalls. Life teaches us lessons all day long. it is so important we pay attention or we will miss them. I respect those lessons as I see you do. Keep up the good fight.

      Akeejaho

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jenubouka, the story is worthless if I don't share it. Humility is the key for sure and so it is my primary focus daily...that and love of course.

      Thank you for your kind words; wishing you peace and fulfillment this weekend and beyond.

      bill

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      jenubouka 6 years ago

      I commend you for telling your story, as they say, to stay sober you must remain humble. In a second all the hard work of building trust and repairing the damage can be gone in a second with just one drink, but we know it is never just one....

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Trish my friend, all things will come in time. Smoking is a very hard thing to give up so please, no blame if it doesn't happen this time. I played that blame game and it is self-defeating and pointless.

      Thank you for sharing that part of you; we all struggle with our inner demons. I think that may be my favorite part of being human, the daily struggles and yet the willingness to go on.

      Peace and happiness for you today, and thank you!

      bill

    • trish1048 profile image

      trish1048 6 years ago

      Hi Billy,

      I grew up with alcoholism on both sides of my family. It wasn't till I hit my teens that I realized that I was dealing with alcoholism. It took many more years when I realized that you cannot fight with an alcoholic. All the screaming, shouting and reasoning fell on deaf ears. I could write volumes about this. Do i love these people who surrounded me? Of course I do, both the living and the dead. I had to come to terms with the fact that I was not powerful enough to change any of them. That has to come within, no matter what the addiction of choice is. Oddly enough, my brother and I do not drink. We do, however, both smoke.

      As I sit here writing, I am fighting with myself to give it up. I have one pack left, so I'm going to try and see if I can make it my last. No promises, just hope :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dana :) My pleasure!

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dana, just between you and me and the fence post, I believe alcohol to be the worst drug on the market simply because it is legal. I do not say that because I think alcohol is evil or because I am an alcoholic. I say it because of the staggering statistics of crimes that are committed by people under the influence.

      There is no way to regulate it; this is a personal choice that people make and it calls for personal decisions based on what each person's limitations are.

      Thank you once again for being the person you are.

      bill

    • DanaTeresa profile image

      Dana Strang 6 years ago from Ohio

      Thank you :)

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Dana my dear, you can write as much as you need to or want to and I'll read every word of it...and who knows, maybe your words will be the words that make a difference.

      Thank you for sharing your journey with food. It is the same disease just a different name. Food for you is a substitute for something you feel you are lacking just as alcohol was for me. I understand that completely and not for a moment do I want that to sound like I think it is easy to cut back on eating because it isn't. We are talking about a complete psychic change that needs to take place and that, my dear, requires one hell of a lot of work.

      You are a good person with a huge heart and if you do nothing else in this lifetime I want you to learn to love yourself. The rest will follow once you have learned to do that.

      Blessings, peace and love today and always,

      bill

    • DanaTeresa profile image

      Dana Strang 6 years ago from Ohio

      As if I haven't said enough I just wanted to comment on the discussions about being a "functioning alcoholic". It is amazing how many alcoholics still hold jobs and have families, etc. But there is always something that is suffering if not now, then later. Otherwise they would not be an alcoholic... A person can drink more than average and not be an alcoholic if they are living a healthy happy well adjusted life. AND a person can have one drink a day, or week even, and if that one drink costs them their job or friendships or marriage or health or anything they hold dear, they are an alcoholic. People concentrate too much on the volume of drink. Its the effects of the drinking that are so devastating. I wish more people would understand that.

    • DanaTeresa profile image

      Dana Strang 6 years ago from Ohio

      Bill - there are so many things I want to say that I could write for an hour. Thank you for sharing your story and letting us into your life. I completely understand the reasons why you share. I feel the same and seeing you do it so beautifully makes me think that some day I will be able to do it almost as well. Because I hope it can help someone or at least make them feel like they belong. Like this hub did for me. And you are right, it is also theraputic to get it out.... I really hope that anyone that reads this who is struggling with their own demons but thinks that they are "not that bad" is encouraged to seek help. You don't have to look like that wino to be them. I learnded that lesson way too late about my depression. I didn't seek help soon enough because I didn't fit the picture of how sick I thought I needed to be. I am great at faking fine. This hub has a great opportunity to keep someone else from making that mistake... And the last thing I will say is that you have renewed my determination to make healthy choices. Please don't take this the wrong way becuaseI do not mean to belittle the disease that is alcoholism, but so much of what you say reminds me of how I am with food. It is the one thing that I cannot seem to get a hold of. I always fall back into eating too much, or eating things that make me sick. And I cannot for the life of me understand why. And I am encouraged by your story that I can stop killing myself with food. I feel as if, like you are the "wino", I am the "600 pound woman" eating herself to death. I am going to print this hub and keep it as a reminder to stay on course... THANK YOU... and sorry about writng a book in your comments!

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That just blows me away, Jama...I'll have to do some research on this because I'm completely in the dark about this subject. Thanks for the info and have a wonderful day in OK!

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Bill, it was the guy's wife who first had an inkling it was spaghetti that was the cause of the "binges". So she started watching him like a hawk before, during, and after he ate spaghetti to verify he wasn't sneaking off for a nip during that time frame. She also noticed pasta salad produced the same effect. Weird, but true. Must've been hell for him until blood tests and such revealed the real culprit.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Denise, I will visit that hub of yours shortly. I am quite aware of those precarious places and as much as possible I simply eliminated them from my life. I, too, am walking a spiritual path that suits me just fine.

      Thank you so much and now on to your Gratitude hub!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Bill-the adage: "we are only as sick as the secrets we keep" is a wise one that bears repeating. Recovery comes in many forms and my road to wellness came from a different addiction (my hub: Gratitude and Blessings reflects some of that).

      I always marvel at the 'ignorance' that my patients reveal at times with the belief that they have all the problems and the staff is exempt from any. I will be aware of the precarious place I tread for the rest of my life and am vigilant with the red flags that appear along the way. My spiritual path has been my saving grace. Keep up the great work spreading the word and offering support.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Denise, thank you for taking the time to read three of my hubs. It is indeed an emotionally charged subject but none of my experiences were worth a damn if they don't come out of the closet and help others. Thus these hubs are born and continue.

      Take care and again, thank you!

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      Thank you for your candidness on this subject. I support you in your continued sobriety and your service to others by getting the message out.

      This is a well written hub on a sensitive and emotionally charged subject. My dear mother was an active alcoholic who continued to drink until her death from cancer. I accepted and loved her for who she was knowing she was so much more than the label, 'alcoholic'.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jama, that's a new one! I have never heard of that and I thought I had heard just about everything regarding alcohol. Wouldn't that be a pisser?

      Regarding non-alcoholic beer, which is a misnomer if I've ever heard one, there is no way I would ever have one. Way too close to the real thing for this boy and really, why would I want to tempt fate like that?

      Thanks for the insight and continued friendship.

      bill

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Ya think????????? lol!

      My attorney friend learned the hard way to check the ingredients in cold syrup (and mouthwash) and not buy any that contained alcohol. He also decided to avoid non-alcoholic beer because the smell and taste were close enough to the real thing to make him crave the real thing. I totally agreed after trying it at a fund-raiser hosted by a recovering alcoholic who...surprise?...fell off the wagon shortly after.

      btw, be glad you aren't one of the handful of verified teetotalers whose system converts carbohydrates into alcohol. One poor fellow spent years trying to prove he didn't drink and didn't have a secret stash. Only after careful investigation showed he only became "drunk" after eating spaghetti or pasta salad was the cause of his periodic "drunkeness" discovered.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jama, I had reached the point back in 2006 when I was drinking mouthwash to get by...I have friends in the program who drank cold syrup by the quart...I think I might be an alcoholic. :)

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Bill, I remember all too well how the "hair of the dog" worked as a "deterrent" to hangovers! If scotch whiskey were the ONLY alcohol available, I too would be jealous of anyone who could have one drink and walk away, because scotch could easily make me one of those people slumped in a doorway wearing rags and clutching a brown paper bag containing my wake-up bottle of "hangover deterrent".

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jama, that's amazing! I reached the point in my drinking where there were no hangovers, or maybe it was just one continual hangover and I didn't realize it. There are days when I am still jealous that someone can have one drink and then walk away, but the longer I am sober the fewer times those jealousies rise up. Thank you my friend!

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Bill, I have one and a half 'ritas about once a year (drinking the second of the second will put me on the floor), but I avoid *any* brand of scotch. Several years after the epiphany to give up drinking 24/7, I was having dinner with friends, all scotch drinkers, so I ordered one, too. And another...and another, until I literally had to be carried home. Never again!

      Oddly, only scotch makes me crave more to the point of passing out. On the bright side, since my system barely tolerates even tiny amounts of alcohol these days, those annual margaritas will give me a hangover that lasts for days. Imagining how much worse the after-effects of an entire night sucking down scotch would be is the deterrent to ever touching it again. ;D

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Rajan, your words of kindness move me my friend! Thank you and you are absolutely correct in what you say. Have a peaceful and love-filled day!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Bill, we all make mistakes in life. Admitting them is a step forward and gives us the courage to avoid them in future. You have won my heart not only because you overcame this habit but because you have the courage to admit this. Writing about this to help others come out of their addiction while reminding yourself not to fall into its trap again, is very commendable.

      Voted up, useful and awesome.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      yes it does....:)

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 6 years ago from Minnesota

      Ya, that sounds GREAT! :-)

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      That's okay my dear; I'm used to being confused. In fact I'm quite comfortable that way. :) I'm just glad to have found both of you and now we can go about the business of growing as friends.

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 6 years ago from Minnesota

      I feel sooo bad Billy-My twinner Laura, aka Healing Touch, accidentally forgot to sign me out and left you a comment here in my name but she did let you know. That doesn't happen often because we each have our own computer. Not sure how her computer had me signed in? Anyhoo, yes, Laura, aka Healing Touch is on Facebook. Facebook is one site I'm not on. I already have a blog, I'm here on Hubpages and Twitter. Not enough hours in a day, so I let Laura check in for me on Facebook and keep up with the friends. LOL

      We shall try not to confuse you again. Sorry friend :-0

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sonya, actually giving up smoking is very, very difficult and involves the same set of cravings and physical dependency so you do know what I am talking about. Bravo to you my friend for quitting and best of luck in the future. I, too, totally enjoy our friendship through HubPages; you are one of my shining lights in this venue!

    • Sonya L Morley profile image

      Sonya L Morley 6 years ago from Edinburgh

      I am so glad to know you here through your writing, this is a very moving article. I am also glad you find the strength to do what you do and share yourself with others to help them. I know it is not anything like the same thing, but a while back I finally managed to quit smoking after more than ten years and I will always consider myself to be at risk of starting again, till the day I die. Not the same thing, but your honesty encourages the same in others, thank you for sharing your story Bill.

    • billybuc profile image
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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Jama! So you and Johnny Walker were close acquaintances, huh? He was a good friend of mine for quite some time until economics caused me to lower my standards considerably. :)

      Great sharing my friend. I have known people that had relatives lock them in closets so they would not escape and get a drink. One woman did detox in her bedroom closet for three days, the struggle and craving was so great. Now that is determination!

      Thank you for sharing your personal experiences; being willing to share stories like yours is one more step in the process of breaking down the negative undercurrents about alcoholism. I was told long ago that we are only as sick as our secrets and I would hope that by my sharing that others will see that personal struggles with addiction need to see the light of day.

    • billybuc profile image
      Author

      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sparklea, I'm blushing from your praise. Why are you so nice to me? thank you my dear; I'll keep singing this song and hopefully someone will hear it. Blessings and peace to you my friend!

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 6 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      Bravo, Bill, for remaining sober! Also congratulations for holding the first (that *I* know of) "Cyberspace Open Meeting"! Imagine how many more alcoholics that other Bill could've pointed down the road to recovery if the internet had existed when he was founding AA!

      For most of my twenties, I was one of Johnny Walker's best customers. I stopped cold turkey (and JW stock reportedly plummeted) after a good friend said rather casually, "Maybe your life wouldn't be such a mess if you didn't drink". So I stopped. An attorney friend had to go into an expensive rehab center to get basically the same message from the doc assigned to him, who told him: "We don't care how many traumas and heartaches you've suffered that you use as excuses to drink. Your life is screwed up *because* you drink. Stop drinking". So he did.

      Thing is, that attorney really IS an alcoholic, but I am not. Years later a shirttail relative who'd recently traded the bottle for an addiction to sponsoring - I'm sure you know one or two of those - convinced me, even tho I didn't drink every day but only every couple of weeks or so and sometimes not even that often, I was an alcoholic and needed to get myself to the nearest meeting ASAP. So I did.

      Well, those Higher Powers work in mysterious ways! Coulda knocked me over with a feather when a close friend whom I'd invited to a family & friends open meeting and came only (she said) "to support you", stood up and said, "Hi, I'm --- and I'm an alcoholic". NOBODY in our circle of friends had a clue, not even her husband! In the beginning "one day at a time" didn't work for her. She had to white knuckle it in 5 minute chunks for months, but she got sober.

      One more good thing came out of my brief time in AA. It was the ONLY place I would've or could've met a woman who became a very dear friend. She wasn't an alcoholic, either, only had the misfortune to get pulled over one night on her way home from a night out with friends, and was ordered to attend meetings for several weeks as diversion.

      Personally, even though I didn't (and still don't) use drugs, I got more out of NA meetings (I first went out of curiosity) because NA addresses addiction in general...i.e. besides drugs and alcohol, addiction to shopping, hoarding, exercising, etc.

      Great hub! Voted up and (totally) awesome! ;D

    • Sparklea profile image

      Sparklea 6 years ago from Upstate New York

      billybuc, you should be traveling throughout the United States and internationally sharing your story, you could save many, many lives. You are so full of sincere, genuine heart. I get it. My parents were both alcoholics, my sister married one. So very proud of you and your terrific testimony. Keep on sharing your story, millions more need to hear it...Blessings Sparklea, voted up, awesome, useful and interesting.

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ruchira, that is most interesting. I look at you and see a marvelous human being who should never hesitate to talk about something like arthritis...we humans are an interesting breed, are we not? Thank you my friend!

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Hubert, you are welcome; I need to give back the gift I have been given. It is what I was taught to do and it is what I believe is right.

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Eddy, your first reaction is one that Bev has from time to time. I don't belittle myself when I say I am that wino on the street. The only difference between him and I is I was luckier and had more of a support system than he does. We are both alcoholics and there but for the grace of God go I.

      I do not feel less for myself because I have this disease; I would feel less for myself if I returned to that old life because I do have a choice. I have been given a second chance and I will not fail at it.

      I find you remarkable my friend; to take that kind of abuse from an alcoholic and yet be open-minded enough to befriend me, an alcoholic, says much about your heart.

      Thank you for your honesty and most of all, thank you for being you.

      Peace and love,

      bill

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Earthy, I have known quite a few "functioning alcoholics" and was always amazed that they were able to do that. I certainly never found that knack. Thank you for your comment and bless you always.

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Bdegiulio, you are very welcome and I thank you,sir, for following.

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Leslie....:)

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Ishwaryaa, I love your line....entire lif is like a textbook...excellent. Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

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      Ruchira 6 years ago from United States

      Bill...you are a brave man. It takes great courage to admit and you did it openly :) it took me years to admit that I have arthritis and still hesitate when people ask me.

      bravo, my friend!

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      Hubert Williams 6 years ago

      I admire your strength and willingness to share so that others might benefit. Thank you so much.

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      Eiddwen 6 years ago from Wales

      As I read your words Billy I initially felt that you were being too harsh on yourself but I have no right to say this because this is your story and these are your feelings as honest as the day is long.

      I was married to an alcoholic for 26 years : I was 17 when we first met and he was 34.

      He had a history of beating up his first wife;and a history of beating up anyone who stood in his way as well;a big bloke of well over six foot and deep down I was petrified of him.My self confidence was at such a low ebb back then that I thought this was all I deserved in life.

      However he was nastier when he was sober;when drunk ;which was very often; he would fall in through the door ;all 18 stone of him.

      Of course there wasn't much money to go round because if we were short;he would still make sure he had enough to go to the pub with.

      He knew much of what went on in my childhood as we'd always lived in the same town ;I never spoke to him about it throughout the years and through either mental or physical abuse he made sure he kept me down where he wanted me;until that final time ten years ago.

      So you see Billy any mention of an alcoholic brings all these memories back but as I said before he was a nasty character through and through;even when sober.

      The last I heard he is now bedridden and his cronies go to get him his supplies!!

      I think to myself "Thank goodness I found the strength to get away!!!"

      In you Billy I have come to know a genuine and sincere person who has the strength of character to use his story to help others and this is what you are doing.

      A man of truth and compassion,you are one of life's winners and don't ever tell yourself otherwise.

      In a way it's the same as I will always be a smoker who decides not to smoke.

      I admire you for being so honest Billy and I am sure that your story will help so many others on their way also.

      Take care my very dear friend .

      Eddy.

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      Earthy Mother 6 years ago from South East England

      I thought this was very interesting...I often joke that I come from a long line of alcoholics...my parents drink every night and I term this a "functioning alcoholic". They are ok day to day, but they need their drink. There is a varying scale of alcoholics and it's very informative to hear your account. Thanks for sharing and stay strong!

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      Bill De Giulio 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Bill, I salute you for laying it all out there, what a courageous thing to do. Hopefully your experience will help others who are suffering with this affliction. Best of luck to you and please keep posting on this topic. Best wishes.

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      Karen Silverman 6 years ago

      Thank YOU, my dear...

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      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 6 years ago from Chennai, India

      It is very courageous of you to share your story with us. All of us, humans, make mistakes in our lives. However, we learn from our mistakes and make amends. An entire life is like a textbook and our mistakes are like lessons. Good to know that now you are happy and led a nice life. Take care.

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Minnetonka, how in the world am I suppose to know which sister I'm writing to? This is so unfair and I'm sure you have heard that your entire life. :) I did sign on a friend on Facebook tonight from Minnetonka so I'll assume that was you, so hello! Thank you so much; if I am saving lives, and I hope you are right, then I am very happy and fulfilled. Bless you this evening and many to come.

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      Linda Rogers 6 years ago from Minnesota

      Billy

      wow- I am so very proud of the work you are doing in this hard journey of recovery- This is a sacred mission you are on- I found your article because my identical twin found you and so you know I lived with two alcoholic parents and so on---- You are saving lives you know- your an inspiration AND---KEEP KICKING OmA ASS-- YOU KEEP IT UP-- I now follow you on fb-----Hugs

      sorry this is Healing touch on hub pages and I forgot to log out sis

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Teaches, as always thank you! We have sort of a mutual-admiration society of two going here because I greatly admire your work in education and your dedication to the youth of this country. You keep doing what you are doing and I'll do the same and we'll see if we can't get some good results along the way.

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      Dianna Mendez 6 years ago

      The saying,"There but for the grace of God, go I", is one that I say when I see a person who appears to be living a meaningless life. It takes courage to face each day, especially when you have to maintain control over old bad habits. They can surface their heads at anytime, and as you said, you fall back into that trap again.

      Your writing is a great way to keep balanced and free. We all enjoy reading your hubs and do get a lot of inspiration from the articles. I also hope that they find there way into the lives of those who need the support to overcome this addiction. Voted up, awesome, beautiful and shared.

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mr. Happy, we are in complete agreement that we all have choice. Thank you once again for your heartfelt comments.

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Peggy W., thank you so much. I truly hope you are correct that I am reaching many others; that is, after all, the whole point of sharing my story and it is my wish. Your words warm my heart and you are a giving person to share those words so freely.

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Mr. Happy!

      I am in no way offended and I appreciate your point of view. I have sat in too many AA meetings to be offended by something said by anyone. You speak the truth as you know it and I speak the truth as I know it.

      I do not try to win anyone over with my point of view nor do I take someone aside and try to convince them that I am right. It is simply alcoholism as I see it and no more.

      I thank you for your viewpoints; they are obviously from the heart and I will always respect someone who speaks from the heart. May you have peace and happiness the rest of your days.

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you once more SG

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      Mr. Happy 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      By the way, this is what brought me here: "The sentence for an alcoholic is life and not until he takes his last breath is he sure that he will ever slip is the message I hear loud and clear in this very poignant article." - I do not believe that for a second. We only have life sentences which we allow on ourselves. We have choices, always. It is how I see things. Forgive me if I offended anyone.

      All the best.

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      Peggy Woods 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Billy,

      This is the first of such hubs of yours that I have read but I can tell from the comments that it is not your first on this topic of alcoholism. You are not only open and sharing of your addiction to this disease but are touching many others and hopefully will be of help to numbers of people you may never know. So this is truly a good mission and worthy of your time and effort. May God bless you and keep you safe and enjoying the balance of your days on earth. Voted up, useful and will share with others.

    • Mr. Happy profile image

      Mr. Happy 6 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Hmm ... I am a little offended: You are not comparable with a pig. I mean, if You really wish ...

      "it only gets worse and never better" - I like to never say never but that's just my opinion.

      "By not keeping secrets and by being willing to share the truth I prevent old behaviors from cropping up once again." - You are so right in saying that! I heard a guys who used to be heavy on the coke and alcohol and he said that "we are only as sick as our secrets" and I agree. If there are things that we are afraid of letting others know, especially those close to us then, there is a problem most likely.

      "I lost a marriage, a home, a job and all self-respect" - the last part is the worse part in my opinion. I do wish You regained that.

      "because the disease was doing pushups and preparing for that relapse" - Pushups ehh? ... I mean, I honestly do not know what to say. Left me defenseless on this one ... LOL

      "The disease of alcoholism continues to grow inside the body and mind of an alcoholic whether that person is drinking or not" - really? Who said that? You get worse when You're not drinking? Might just well drink then ... I'm sorry, I'm being ridiculous because I find that statement ridiculous.

      “what the hell, I’m doing damn good, one beer won’t hurt.” At that moment the wise words that one drink is too much and one hundred are never enough rings true once again and the madness returns. - Okay, here lays the problem and it is what I suspected. This is not hard to grasp because this is applicable to many things in one's life.

      One drink would indeed not hurt. The problem lies in the fact that the one beer turns into a hundred beers like You well stated. This is not a mystical dillemma and it is not a disease. It is a lack of personal power; a lack of will-power. If one has personal power, one does what one says one will do. When personal power is lacking, the drug takes control (and this is true of any drug not just alcohol). When the drug takes control that is a different story, one is no longer in charge so to speak.

      So, the point is I guess for everyone to know themselves. Therefore, if one knows that he/she lacks will-power then, one should prohibit themselves from any mind altering substance. With personal power though, a beer remains a beer or two beers remain two beers and do not turn into ten.

      I also think that to overcome the drug/substance one needs to build personal power after one has hit rock bottom and one wishes to heal. Otherwise, You have to live with it as You do. I do commend You for that, You have found a way to keep the substance at bay but You do not feel liberated, You feel haunted by it. You need more power my friend and I wish You will find it.

      May Wakan Tanka guide your path. I ask the Gods who help me greatly to shine Light on your path. You need not the weight You carry!

      All the very best!

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Keep on being stubborn! Do NOT let this run your life, you are too good a person to waste! :)

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Sgbrown, those words mean a great deal to me and I thank you. I am one of the lucky ones who survived long enough to see the light. I have lost far too many of my friends to this disease and although one day I have to die it will not be from alcoholism. I'm just too stubborn to let this disease win.

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      Bill, I don't really know you, though I have read many of your hubs. I wish I could express how "proud" I am of you. Both of my parents were active alcoholics until the last few years of their lives. No matter what I, or anyone else, did, they did not have the courage or strength to quit. You have. I pray you you continue to have the courage and the strength to fight. I am very happy to hear that your family is your strength and your happiness. Kudos to you!!!

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Wesman, that has to be one of the greatest selling books ever printed...I think we all buy three, four or five of them during our lifetimes. Thank you my friend for your words; this is one demon I'll never slay but I'm fine if he stays in his territory and I stay in mine.

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Kelly, I'm laughing at that last sentence...yes, and my limitations are no booze ever! I have family members who are Indian and they have had a horrible time over the years with alcohol. I'm thankful that you have been spared. Thanks for stopping by and as always thank you for your support.

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      Wesman Todd Shaw 6 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

      Congrats on slaying some demons - or at least teaching them to stay our of arms reach.

      Addiction is one of my favorite subjects - it might as well be as many A.A. and N.A. meetings I've attended.

      Despite the fact that I still drink - I'm fascinated by "The Big Book." I bet I've got a half dozen of them.

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      Kelly Umphenour 6 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Very powerful story Bill. I do know a few people who have gotten into trouble with the bottle. I am Indian - don't know if you've heard this before but Indians and alcohol do not mix. We lack the gene that breaks down alcohol. I drink on a rare occasion and I've always been glad it never seemed to agree with me. Sorry for your trouble but it looks like you know your limitations.

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Caroline, you are most welcome. I am grateful to you for your kind words and I wish you nothing but peace and happiness.

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      Caroline Marie 6 years ago

      Hi Billy this is a great article. Congrats on your sobriety and courage to share your experiences with others. Your article touched me deeply. Thank you for sharing. Wishing you the best.

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Michael, my deep appreciation goes out to you not only for the kind words but for sharing your experience, faith and hope. True words my friend; the solution is there but one needs to want it with every fiber of their being.

      I am sick and tired of watching friends die from this damn disease. That is partly the reason for me bringing this subject out in the open; I have to believe that it can only do good to do so. I have paid my dues in full and now I want just one person to quit before the toll is too steep.

      Thank you my friend!

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you Pickles! You are another hubber who I don't seem to get notifications when you have written. I need to rectify that somehow; for now, though, I simply want you to know how much I appreciate your following and kind words.

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      B. Malin, I just visited your site. Nice coincidence and I will echo your words...having you as a Hub friend is enriching and quite satisfying. Thank you for your kind words.

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      molometer 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Firstly congratulations on your continued sobriety, and for sharing your experience of this dread disease.

      I have seen the effects of this awful disease on some very close friends and family.

      Some have died, and some are in the waiting room.

      I have seen things that do not seem humanly possible.

      Imagine having two bleeds in the brain, and having your skull surgically opened, two times to relieve the pressure?

      Maureen continued to drink and eventually died.

      It took a long time for her to die.

      10 years from the first operation. Maureen just could not stop. Maureen had always been an alcoholic.

      We didn't catch on for decades, probably because she hid it so well, we were maybe too pre-occupied with our own lives.

      I know some alcoholics now, that still drink and they look terrible.

      They are that guy on the street corner except they have family still supporting them.

      One thing I have learned.

      They have to 'get it'.

      No amount of talking or advice works, unless they have some awareness.

      Thank you for sharing your experience and more power to you.

      Voted up useful,interesting, awesome and beautiful.Sharing.

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      picklesandrufus 6 years ago from Virginia Beach, Va

      Really good and honest hub Billybuc. You have walked the walk. Who better to write to help others. Vote up!

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      b. Malin 6 years ago

      Very Heartfelt Billybuc, as well as Inspirational. Thanks for bringing this subject of Alcholism out into the air... If it just helps one other person, you have done a Wonderful service. I am proud to call you my Hub Friend.

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Thank you again Steph!

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      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Bill, you are a true inspiration! Keep up the excellent work! You are helping countless people, I am sure. Steph

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Steph, the mere fact that you took the time to write this on your cell phone make my heart happy. Thank you my friend and never fear, I will be telling this story as long as it helps just one person.

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      Stephanie Hicks 6 years ago from Bend, Oregon

      Bill, I am reading and commenting on my cell phone, so will add more later. There are horrible stories of hurt, abuse and loss throughout my family due to alcoholism and its effects. Please keep publishing on this topic! Your words give a sense of hope, but well grounded in reality. The truth hurts, but is necessary to heal. Best, Steph

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Leslie, I sense to win your respect is not an easy thing, so I am honored my friend. I am terribly sorry for your loss as I am for all family members who have had to suffer through the disease of a loved one. I share to help others and, selfishly, to help myself as well. As an added bonus I have added friends along the way and that friendship, and yours, are priceless. Thank you my dear!

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      Karen Silverman 6 years ago

      Billy...billy..oh, my, billy...i am both devastated for you and yet so proud of you! While i left an ex because of alcohol abuse - my real contact with addiction was losing my mother - to gambling. She left her family and completely isolated herself with her 'bad' influences - and i haven't seen her in over a decade. Your strength of character is awe-inspiring, and your ability to open your soul - and share this private time with your friends here at hubpages - is something i am not able to do as of yet. You have my deepest respect, sir!

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Alifeofdesign, I am truly sorry for your losses. There are no words to express how I feel about the families who have had to endure so much because of the actions of loved ones. Thank you so much for your kind words and your well-wishes. I wish for you peace and happiness the rest of your days my friend.

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      Bill Holland 6 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Minnetonka (Linda) I hope you are right and I appreciate your help in getting my story out there for the still suffering to read.

    working