Well folks, here we are. It’s day 643 on this particular journey and I feel better than I have recently:
I’ve been thinking about beer a lot lately. Not drinking it, per se. More like the fact that it’s best enjoyed in a chilled glass with a bit of head on it. The kind of beer that is just cold enough that it’s slightly uncomfortable when it touches the roof of your mouth, but cold enough still to feel instantly gratifying; satisfying. I know, that’s a pretty indepth thought about a sip of beer, especially for a bloody recovering alcoholic. And that’s exactly my point; what ever in the world is a recovering alcoholic doing daydreaming about beer? Well from my point of view it’s a failing of sorts…
Not a failing in the sense that thoughts are a test and if I think about beer I fail. No, it’s a little different. It’s a failing because it represents ignoring the negative impacts that beer had on my life. It’s rewriting history and I won’t allow that.
Sure, what I wrote about beer is true. It does taste nice. It is refreshing when cold. Hell, it’s even aesthetically pleasing under the right circumstances. But it’s also addictive. It also brings out the absolute worst in me. It also takes away my filter while increasing my bravado. For me, and I would wager many, that is a very dangerous combination. It does a lot of bad things to me and plenty of others like me. (Thankfully there are others like me; more on that later.) So to think only of the minor positives is to ignore the incredible potential for pain and suffering. In short, it’s not fair to those I’ve hurt and to myself.
But you know what the reality of that is? I have a disease of the mind that wants one thing: me in a box. It wants me dead. Not because I deserve death. Not because I am inherently bad. But because alcoholism is almost like an autoimmune disease in that it destroys its host for no good reason. Well, unless a crossed wire counts as a good reason. It seeks to drown you in the very worst parts of the human animal’s psychology. It endeavors to drag you to the depths of what a person can become all so you get to a point where life is no longer worth living. A drinking alcoholic is nothing more than a man tying his own noose for the hangman.
There is an underlying fear in this whole train of thought. You’ll notice the first line of the first paragraph I wrote that I’m not thinking about beer per se. You see I’m not in a mindset that tells me drinking is a good idea… yet. But that’s how this bastard works. It’s all about the sneak attack! I sit with vague thoughts of beer for weeks, months, years. Never so much as considering a drink; not even entertaining the thought. But that’s ok. The disease is patient if nothing else and it can wait. It will absolutely wait. It will wait until you’ve had a bad day at the office and your wife is nagging you and your back hurts and you feel run down. It will wait til all of those things coincide with jammed thumb and a project that you’ve been putting off for a month and then BAM!
“How about a drink, Dave?” the alcoholism whispers.
“Yeah… fuck all of this!”
That is terrifying. When I think that a beer isn’t going to make things worse then I have gotten myself into a very bad situation. I’ve been in that place. It didn’t turn out well. The only thing I learned was how much I could drink. Spoiler alert: it’s enough to do serious damage to myself and others!
That’s when my brain reminds me of something my sponsor said to me once: “What the fuck are you doing? Get your arse to a meeting!” She was right. Boy, as an alcoholic I don’t like admitting when someone knows me better than me, but there you have it. She knew exactly what I needed; people just like me. Fellow louts. People who could have been drinking buddies in another life.
Officially, medically speaking there is no known ‘cure’ for my condition, the alcoholism, that is. But, at least when it comes to my drinking a group of people who are also very talented at drinking can understand. If you organise us (which is most definitely comparable to herding cats) we can bounce our ideas off of each other and come to the conclusion that we can stay sober for today. It’s almost like a compromise with ourselves; we’ll do it, but just for today. We are an exceedingly stubborn group, so telling us to stay sober for the rest of our lives will only provide a challenge to stress ourselves with and use as an excuse to drink!
We get a reprieve for today. Not tomorrow. Not next year or a single other day. My name is David and I can not drink today. That’s about as far as I’m willing to go.
Thanks for reading. I wish you another 24.
A friend of Bill