23 May 2009

Recovering or not... I'm still an alcoholic

It’s been a long, long couple of weeks since my last post. I’ve had a stressful and depressing couple of weeks, where every time I think we will pop out of it, something else seems to happen and drags me back down. I’ve also got a lot to post, just right now I don’t have a lot of energy to follow through.

But I did want to post some thoughts today about something that has happened over the last week. I was having a conversation with my step-daughter about the “evils” of addiction. And where over time, people just can’t quit cold turkey. They would need some medical intervention because the withdrawals could be deadly. She didn’t want to believe me and we went back and forth, until I finally came up with the “show stopper.” I said that as an alcoholic I can speak with the voice of experience. That threw her perception of me into another world. I’ve lived in the same house with her for over 11 years. During that time she has never seen me drunk, let alone even touch a drink. So she couldn’t place her ideas of what an alcoholic is - with me. She kept trying to defend me, saying I was a “recovering alcoholic.” And I kept saying, that it didn’t matter because I am still an alcoholic.

Now on the other side of the coin, I received an e-mail from my past. It was from a person who was one of the last people to see me drunk. It was an angry, hate filled letter, with a little bit of jealousy thrown in. They said that they couldn’t believe “how easily I had moved on.” Say what? It’s been 12 years and those first 2 years were the most painful years in my life. It was anything but easy. This person was still looking for an apology for the past. If I didn’t do it, way back when, then yes, I would apologize and ask for forgiveness. But I did apologize and at the time it wasn’t accepted. As someone who has damaged many people am I obligated to apologize for the rest of my life?

I know from my own past that forever looking for apologies from the past can destroy the present and the future. Everyday, as an alcoholic, I deal with shame. And it would be real easy to fall back into the role of being a victim. I am sorry that some people can not accept the fact that I have moved on and I’m trying to salvage what’s left of my life. But don’t think it’s been easy. I lost everything.
The point to all of this blog is that on one hand is a person who has never seen me drink and can not associate me, the person, with me the disease. While another person views me just as a violent drunk, who can not imagine me as a person who can feel. I’m sure I’m not the only alcoholic who has run into this problem. But it is a valuable lesson.

While I may have the disease, it is an illness that spreads like the plague. There is ways out of it, but for the alcoholic to always be a scapegoat is not the answer.

This entry was posted on Sunday, April 22nd, 2007

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