This week’s HTYH is a continuation of Casey’s story: At first; a drunk was somebody who neglected obligations and seldom paid their bills. After I neglected my obligations and stopped paying bills, I changed it to: somebody who is frequently jailed. After I was frequently jailed, my definition changed to: a guy who drinks wine from a wine bottle in a brown bag, is homeless, and lives under a bridge. Then I started drinking wine with people living under a bridge and the only difference between me and them was that I was not homeless. I came to A.A., puffed out my chest and said, “I’ve never been homeless.” A man looked at me and said, “Boy, let me tell you something, if you’re a grown man, living in your mommy and daddy’s house, without paying rent, you’re homeless!” I don’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings, but the truth will set you free. I hear it all the time from chronic alcoholics, “I moved back home to take care of my elderly parents,” unless you’re paying them rent you probably moved back home because you can’t take care of yourself; admit it, they’re taking care of you; you’re an alcoholic of the most hopeless variety! I found myself in that condition several times.
What is this thing called alcoholism, what is the correct definition? The book Alcoholics Anonymous calls it: a mental obsession; an obsession is a thought so powerful that it overcomes all other ideas including common sense. My family said, “You can quit if you want to, but you don’t want to; why not use your will power? Have you ever eaten a whole box of Laxative and then tried to use your will power to stay out of the bathroom? I used to wake up in the morning, lie in bed and make a long list of reasons why I could not drink alcohol: I will get kicked out of school, lose my job, my girlfriend, go to prison and etc. I would make a decision and use my will power to do what’s right. Then I would get out of bed, and do what was right for perhaps 10 or 15 minutes and then my mind would say something like this: “It’s Friday,” or here’s another one, “You can have one drink of alcohol; one drink never hurt anybody.” The real truth is that, I have never had just one of anything that I liked, that’s the ugly truth. To my way of thinking if one is good, two is better, three is outstanding, four wonderful and five is magnificent. I binge on anything that makes me feel good; I have to feel good, I owe it to myself, I deserve to feel good. So, what is this statement that I’m making to myself about only having one drink? It’s a lie! And when I make a decision based on a lie, it cannot work out in my best interest.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a program of action that’s based on truth. The simple truth is: alcoholism is a huge lie; it’s a progressive and fatal malady based on a lie! My sponsor said, “I never walked into a bar and said, ‘Hey bartender, give me a shot and a beer, I want to be in jail by 9:00; that would be the truth!’” It was always going to be different, this time? I’m not going to jail, wake up broke, make an ass of myself, hurt me, or others and have a hangover. I have an allergy to alcohol; an abnormal reaction. When I drink alcohol it triggers an obsession, and it sets off the phenomenon of craving. Once, my non-alcoholic neighbor and I were mowing our lawns. It was hot and he became thirsty. I watched him turn off his tractor, walk to the deck, take a cold beer from his cooler, pop the top, suck it down, and with the cold beer still sitting there, he got back on his tractor and finish cutting the grass. Here’s the difference between me and my non-alcoholic neighbor: if I get off my lawn mower, pop the top on a cold beer and suck it down, it doesn’t quench my thirst, it triggers a mental obsession, it sets off the phenomenon of craving and my tractor will still be sitting in our half-mowed yard next week. To be continued.
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