This is the last part in a 3-part series about my struggles with alcoholism. In Part I, I wrote about how former NBA star Allen Iverson’s battle with alcoholism really hit home with me. Part II covered my early days of sobriety in the hospital up until today, and mentioned how I have put together a toolbox to help me when I feel like drinking, get depressed, or get stressed. This final part covers my toolbox and other lessons I’ve learned in my 24 years of being clean and sober.
Let there be no mistake, there is such a thing as a “dry drunk” and I do not believe the desire for alcohol ever goes completely away. I loved the taste of beer and of the “hard” liquor I choose to drink; I’ve often thought how lucky I am that all these specialty brews and flavored alcohols were not in vogue back when I was still drinking.
The real benefit of (too much) drinking was not the taste, but the temporary numbing of feelings. The problem was, as soon as the buzz wore off, I not only had to face those feelings, but also deal with the hangover and other consequences of my behavior. Continue reading
Ephesians 5:18 – “Do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery; but be filled with the Spirit.”
A recent story in the Washington Post about how former NBA great Allen Iverson has fallen on hard times really got to me. I could write a dozen blogs on different topics after reading this article – the scandal that is the National Collegiate Athletic Association, friends who are not really friends, there’s always room for redemption, etc. But this story really hit my heart when it comes to alcoholism and alcoholics.
Unbeknownst to my parents, I started drinking when I was about 12. The father of my best friend at the time made homemade wine. We’d drink that occasionally, but most often we’d get our booze by giving a few bucks to someone outside the town liquor store to get it for us. The liquor store was conveniently located within walking distance of our junior high school, and we favored the types of sweet, syrupy drinks you might imagine pre-teens and teens would go for – cherry brandy, crème de menthe. We did it because a) it was wrong and b) that stuff tasted good.
Before you judge my parents too harshly, it is important to note that during this time my mom was in effect a single parent of four, including a newborn. Due to changes in base structures, my dad was forced to work at JFK airport in NY for several years instead of in Albany; he commuted home on the weekends. What better time for a rebellious oldest child to get into trouble? (I am grateful that considering this was the early 1970s, I never dappled in other drugs that were plentiful.) Continue reading