Saving You A Seat
Since getting back from rehab 19 months ago and being open about my struggles with alcoholism and my road to recovery, I have had a lot of people come to me questioning if they are an alcoholic.
I get a ton of feedback from this blog...and I absolutely love it. It means, it makes people think. It makes them question their own relationship with alcohol. It generates conversation with others on the subject and brings awareness to the disease. It makes it real for a lot of people.
Friends, family and people I have never met share my blog weekly and I am beyond grateful for that. You never know who it will "speak" to but it always seems to reach the ones who need it most.
I get emails from people I know and don't know, who express they might have a problem, but don't know...think they have a problem, but aren't sure...know they have a problem and don't know what to do.
I am NOT a counselor. I AM an alcoholic. I share my experience, strength and hope.
So, when friends of mine come to me and ask if I think they are an alcoholic...I say this...
I don't know. Only you can decide that. However, the 'Big Book' asks two very simple questions...
- “If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely,
- or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic.”
Like my sponsor will say...I honestly never wanted to quit and when I did want to quit, I honestly couldn't.
For most people, they don't want to admit they are an alcoholic. I mean...really. Who does? But once you really come to terms with it...it can be the most freeing feeling in the world. Or, at least it was for me.
As soon as the words came out of my mouth to my parents on June 11, 2o12, "Mom, Dad...I need help. I can't do this alone. I can't stop. I don't know how," I immediately felt a sense of freedom. Freedom from trying to hide my problem any more. Saying it took away some of it's power. It was the first step in addressing the problem and getting help.
A lot of people who come to me with this question will decide they aren't an alcoholic and it's usually one of these two reasons:
1. You don't drink in the morning.
2. You don't drink everyday.
So, let me say this. If you think you are an alcoholic, you probably are. Once you try and control your drinking, you have already lost control. The two reasons above does not mean you are not an alcoholic. I promise you. I used them both for years, and well, you see where that got me. I wasn't being honest with myself. Alcoholism is a progressive disease and if not treated, it will only get worse.
After my last blog post, I got an email from my friend, Melissa, who is in recovery...
"I feel no shame in being an alcoholic. I know what I thought an alcoholic was before I got sober was so very different from what we actually are. I thought I wasn't an alcoholic because I didn't have vodka bottles hidden in my closet, and I wasn't homeless. I was a train wreck, and I knew something was seriously wrong but I couldn't quite form the idea of "I am an alcoholic." I just think when people find out or know that I am a recovering alcoholic and they see my life doesn't suck and I'm genuinely HAPPY being sober and don't mind talking about it it opens that door for anyone who is struggling. People who were happily sober were an enigma to me. Hahaha, I didn't know it was possible. So THANK YOU for writing a recovery blog. I think it will help so many who otherwise wouldn't know anything about alcoholism."
We all have this idea of who we are...who we are suppose to be...what an alcoholic is and what an alcoholic is suppose to be. I can you promise you that being an alcoholic was never on my list of lifetime goals. But I am. It took me years to finally admit that to myself and to others. Today I am grateful for being an alcoholic because it has given me a life that not too long ago seemed impossible. A life that is worth living.
I recently started asking God daily to break my heart for what breaks His. Nothing breaks my heart more than people living and dying from this disease when there is a solution. In almost every meeting I go to, we take a moment of silence for those still suffering. But there is nothing that I or anyone else can do for you until YOU are ready to admit you are powerless over alcohol and that your life has become unmanageable (Step One). This is your life...your decision. Only you can make it...no one else can make it for you. I pray that you get real and honest with yourself. When you do...we will have a seat for you.