Wednesday, 8 June 2011

How did you come to be an alcoholic?

I read a blog post on Liz's blog - She is a regular source of inspiration to me for some reason. It contained the following statement... "how he came to be an alcoholic, but there'll be reasons; there always are."

I felt I needed to comment on it - so I rambled on and clogged up her comments with an abridged version of the following... but felt I should share it here too.

"how he came to be an alcoholic, but there'll be reasons; there always are."

Are there? Well yes there are but for me it was simple, I am an alcoholic. I had a great upbringing by lovely parents who cared for me and did their very best for me, my schooling was on the whole good, I went to college and into a good job within a growing industry - within 3 or 4 years of leaving college I was married, buying a house earning twice what I'd been straight after college and looking forward to a very successful life. However already by then I was an alcoholic out of control. Why? Simple - didn't matter my life was going well (in fact that was a contributing factor) simply I couldn't cope with life. Really I couldn't cope with emotions - I never learnt that grief is different to sadness, that happiness can be tinged with regret, that love and lust are different but not entirely mutually exclusive on either side either and all those other nuances. I was trying to live in a digital world where there was an on-off relationship in my head of my emotions.

Now it is nobody's fault but mine (Led Zep memory...) since I never asked anyone. I don't doubt my mother would have tried to help explain but I didn't get it. I knew you all had a manual or part of the manual of life I didn't but I simply didn't know how to ask the question. So happy or sad I drank to suppress those feelings.

Somewhere in here I could tell you all that the reason I drank was that it was convenient and legal and I wouldn't touch illegal drugs... rubbish, if breaking the law was an issue how come I drove drunk for numerous years pretty much day in day out. I was more than a few times qualified for arrest under various laws around public order but somehow luckily never was. The reason I stuck with alcohol and didn't go the drugs route is simple - alcohol did what I needed it to do for many many years... but then it stopped working. In the end it got so bad I couldn't function with or without a drink.

Today I function well without a drink - I stumble through still learning about feelings and emotions since I'm not wired up to do them. I have to stop pause and get myself adjust to them regularly - I have to remind myself regularly (more than once a day) that the universe is neither there solely to p*** me off neither is it there solely for me to be the be all and end all of all things. See the digital flip flop in my head - ENORMOUS EGO and the crashingly the next fraction of a second the massive disbelief in any shred of feeling of self-worth... I live on a knife edge as a recovering alcoholic, I know that one word, a thought, a smell, one of those flipping feelings and bang I'll be reaching for the drink again as that is the default and easiest coping mechanism for me rather than walk through life and take all it's slings and arrows head-on.

One thing I can do now is tell my story as maybe someone will read it and take an action themselves or for someone else and get them out of the living hell I was in at the end of my addiction.


  1. Thanks for sharing that. Alcoholism runs rampant in my family. I've never really understood how a bottle can become more to someone than their own family is but .. now that you've explained it, I get it-sort of. :P


  2. My father was a full blown alcoholic, and it eventually cost him his life. So, I've grown up around the disease, and feel I have some expertise in the matter. You touched on this, but I do think alcoholism, and all addictions (sex, drugs, food, you name it), simply come down to a destructive form of self medication for issues we, for various reasons, are ill equipped to deal with. Its escapism and avoidance, and of course, a vicious cycle. You drink to avoid pain, but it doesn't go away, it's always there waiting for you. You sober up, there's the pain, time for another drink! Repeat over and over...and voila! Addiction. In some ways I feel very lucky to have escaped this curse that's rampant throughout my family, but I'm not so ignorant to think I'm immune to it. It's something I'm conscious of, and in the back of my mind...ever mindful of.

  3. A really thought-provoking post. I am well aware I was very very lucky and could stop. I am just so glad you have found the way out, and you should be exceptionally proud of yourself. :-) P