First, thanks for reading and for all the encouragement in response to my last few posts. I often experience some inner backlash when I try to be that honest; hearing that it’s helping people makes the difference between keeping it up and gnawing on my spleen.
Part One addressed cynicism, Part Two depression, and Part Three overcoming our fears and naive faith to find hope in life’s depths. Now we’re addressing addiction.
I’ve asked my friend, Dan Koenigs, to write this post. Dan was two years ahead of me in high school. We were casual friends then, each pretty messed up in our own ways. Now we’re true friends, because we have the same hope in common.
Dan is changing the world. This is how it happens, one day and one decision at a time. Dan’s been sober for 24 years and works as a counselor for people with substance abuse issues.
If you think you are beyond hope, or doubt you can change the world, or have given up on ever recovering from your addiction, read Dan’s story. Dan is a very good reason for hope.
Proverbs 20:1 “Wine is a mocker; beer a carouser…Those it leads astray won’t become wise.”
I have yet to meet an alcoholic who chose to be one. This blog is not meant to be a discussion on the validity of the Disease Concept or a discussion on willpower. Here is what I know: alcohol affected me at an early age in ways that I still have a hard time understanding. Maybe it was my dysfunctional childhood, maybe it was the acceptance of underage drinking by my family, maybe it was a result of being sexually abused by a Catholic Priest at the age of 12, or perhaps it was indeed a genetic thing.
Here is what is important: I had my first real drink at the age of 12 or 13 and I learned early that I could drink and I forgot, forgot everything. I would drink to forget the pain of being alone, the pain of being sexually abused, the pain of feeling like I was not accepted by others or the pain of not knowing who I was.
Relief drinking is what I was doing and like all addictions, the relief does not last long and then I would drink more. I became good at hiding it or at least I think I hid it because no one seemed to notice that I was drinking on a regular basis. At the age of 16 I was drinking more days than not.