Monday, January 25, 2010

GUEST POST: An Alcoholic's Perspective


The following is a Guest Post written by my friend R, the subject of a prior post on alcoholism. I think it speaks for itself.

An Alcoholic's Perspective

I am R.

Jack invited me to read and contribute to this article a few days ago. When I finally read it, I was extremely touched and also awakened. I guess the main message I would like to communicate here is that a disease such as alcoholism--as with any other infliction--is extremely difficult to truly understand unless one experiences it first-hand. I know I'm a great was mentioned by Jack, successful, traveled, educated, all of that. But I have this evil little devil sitting on my shoulder at all times. I hate this part of my life and wish there was a way to just hit the "off" switch. But through personal experience and extensive research, I've learned that there is no easy fix. It takes time, determination, support and constant adherence to daily goals.

To draw an analogy: it is like trying to convince yourself to not drink get thirsty, then thirstier, then even worse...and you finally convince yourself that you need to drink water in order to survive. Well, granted, water is in fact necessary for survival, and alcohol is not, but in the mind of an alcoholic it is.

Another thing about this condition is that alcoholics often don't even realize what is happening when they are drunk. They don't comprehend reality in the same fashion as others. Hence they make irrational decisions, such as prolonged drinking. Sometimes when I am drinking, I find myself having a dialogue in my head, "I don't want to drink, but I will anyway. Why? I don't need to. I know it is destructive. There is absolutely no reason for me to drink. But I will anyway."

This is an example of irrational thought that pervades my mind. So in an effort to combat this, I set little daily goals and stick to them. For example, I will not allow myself to have a drink before X time of day. I will limit myself to X number of drinks. I've found that I cannot go without alcohol completely, but if I set little goals like this and regulate my drinking, I am OK from day to day.

And also here I must mention my indescribable appreciation for Jack and his selfless graciousness. He hauled my butt to the hospital more than once when nobody else was around. Who knows what might have happened if he hadn't. Not only has he done this, but, through conversations (a kind of informal counseling), he has extended a whole world of insight and compassion for me to embrace. On the surface, it's friendly dialogue between two friends about a problem. Deeper, it has had a profound effect on me and my outlook on life. Thank you for this Jack -- it is appreciated more than you will ever know.

In closing, I guess I would just like to extend this entire blog post and responses to others who suffer from the same infliction. Just remember that life is too beautiful to let oneself slip to such lows. And, as one poster here mentioned, sometimes it is necessary to hit rock bottom before recovery. I feel like I'm pretty much there currently, so I'm looking forward to a big rebound. I have many great things in my life right now, and I look forward to getting back to enjoying them.

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