Are You A Drunk?
Did I Get Your Attention with That Title?
I am the homeless guy on the street corner guzzling from a paper bag.
I am the loud, obnoxious bar fly who never seems to leave the stool.
I am the unwashed and half-starved lump of flesh, wallowing in my own vomit and excrement.
I am the hopeless, the one you avoid, and the nightmare you have in the middle of a dark, stormy night.
I am a drunk!
Do not preach to me or I’ll tell you where to shove your God.
Do not pity me for I’ll ridicule you for being an unfeeling hypocrite.
Do not try to reform me for I’ll break your resolve.
Do not love me for I’ll break your heart.
I am a drunk!
But look at you, you say. How can this be? You are a writer, a father, a husband and a respected member of this community? How can you be a drunk, a despicable character with decaying morals and the jackal’s appetite for flesh? It can’t be so you say; there is no way we could have made that error of judgment. You must be mistaken you say.
No, I am not mistaken……
I am a drunk!
There but for the Grace of God
Yes, I am an alcoholic. I am no different from that bottomless “loser” you passed on your drive to work this morning..I am one drink away from becoming a person you would not recognize, and the transformation would happen in less than two days. Think Lon Cheney as The Werewolf and you’ll have some idea of the changes that occur in this alcoholic when he picks up the first drink. Hide the women and children for we don’t want them watching this horror show. Put away the valuables because you never know when I’ll need some money for another bottle. Fortify your feelings and barricade your heart in a safe place because I’ll go for the throat and hurt you emotionally and psychologically.
I am a walking, talking nightmare. I am the man no father would want his daughter to marry. I am the man no parent would want teaching their child and I am the man no employer would want to hire.
I am a loving husband and father. I am a trusted friend who can be counted on to lend a helping hand whenever needed. I am a respected member of the community and a highly-regarded teacher of eighteen years.
I am the man any father would want his daughter to marry, and I can be trusted to keep your children safe and your valuables untouched and protected. I have compassion and empathy for all and I feel it is my duty as a citizen to make this world a better place.
I am three-times a business owner, the holder of three degrees and the best partner you could ask for in Trivial Pursuit. I laugh freely and often and my heart is open for love any hour of any day. I will respect your opinion, value your counsel and never harm you physically, emotionally or psychologically.
I am a recovering alcoholic and my name is Bill.
Flip Sides of the Same Coin
I am all of those things mentioned above and so much more. Which will you meet should we ever run into each other? The answer lies in the bottle and my willingness to never again pick up that bottle.
Make no mistake about it: the choice is mine and mine alone. Never in my life has someone forced me to drink. The past is mine to accept and I am responsible for it all. I cannot blame my genes, passed down from grandparents and parents. I cannot blame my parents or friends, neighbors or enemies. I am a fluke of nature, a jumbled menagerie of misfiring DNA, a break-down of physical processes that does not allow me to drink as normal people do. I am nothing more and nothing less.
However, knowing all of that, I do have a choice. I can choose to once again be that stumbling, bumbling, incoherent drunk, or I can choose to be the man you all know now.
I Have a Message for Two Sets of People
First my message for the alcoholics reading this article….there is always hope! If this man can pull himself out of the gutter of society and become a functioning and productive member of the human race, then you can do the same. All it takes is a willingness to change and a willingness to reach out for help. Never give up on yourselves. Where once there was a functioning being there can be a functioning being again. Where once there was peace of mind there can be again. Where once there was love of self there can be once more. Never give up on yourselves.
As for those of you who are not alcoholic, my message is simple…..alcoholics are human beings, and as such deserve compassion and love. You would not turn your backs on a cancer victim or an Alzheimer’s patient, and an alcoholic deserves the same measure of humanness. However, that is all that they deserve.
Cancer victims seek help in an attempt to find remission of that deadly disease. Alcoholics must do the same, and there is very little you can do to help them on that quest. Help is available for any alcoholic, but they must be willing to seek out that help. Until they do the nightmare will continue and may well lead to death.
My thoughts on alcoholism
Who Will I Be Tomorrow?
Well, again, that is entirely up to me, but if I were a betting man I would lay it all down on me being sober tomorrow, and the next day, and the next. You see, I love my life and I see no reason to return to that street corner. I love my wife, love my son, love my friends and love myself.
Why in the world would I give all of that up?
Well, the truth is that I have done exactly that in the past.
Why you ask?
Simply because I am a drunk…..
And a recovering alcoholic…..
And I always will be.
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)