It’s Just A Drink

I have seldom had A drink!

As in one single drink…I never saw the point to it! I didn’t like the taste of booze all that much, but if I drank enough my taste-buds stopped working, and the rest went down like water! Besides, I did not drink it for the taste anyway, but for the effect, which was to get good and drunk! I saw no other reason for drinking, and this worked for me because once I got started, it was just about impossible to stop!

It was like turning on a faucet and having the handle break off so that there was no way to stop the flood!

Even when drinking made me sick, I was still compelled to push through it until I either ran out, or passed out.  (I know, not a healthy choice, nor was it pretty to look at!)

Just having a single drink was a rarity for me. In fact, when I tried to think of a time when I only had a drink, other than the first few times I drank, and the last drink I had (half a can of Miller Lite while walking from 8th Street my office at the World Trade Center) I came up blank!

Of course, there were times when I had to be careful about how much I drank, like when I was at a family gathering (especially if my parents were there), at a work-related function like a party or lunch with a client, or anywhere else that I had to act “appropriately”. Usually, only through sheer will-power, I would force myself to have only one or two drinks; however, once I was free from any responsibility or supervision, I would make up for lost time, in a big way!

Often, when at a work party, I would wait until the bosses left, or got wasted themselves, and then fill up on as much of the free booze that I could! If that was not an option, I would leave to go find the nearest (cheap) bar, or just head home, where I could drink and drug in peace (and did not have to share).

At a family event, though I did not get falling down drunk, there were times that I over-did it and had to stop…if not then I would wind up making a fool out of myself, like when I ran into a heating duct in my brother’s basement (30 years later, and I still have the scar)! Even if I finished out the evening drinking soda, once I got home, the craving drove me further into my Addiction!

This is why I do not drink at all today, because I know that just a single drink, even after all these years, would be too many…and lead to my doom! It may sound melodramatic, but it is not, this is serious stuff! Sobriety really is a matter of life or death for those of us who are in Recovery. Active Addiction may not kill us right away, but if unchecked, it will wear us down bit by bit, and it is nothing to play games with!

When I started going to my 12-step group, the ‘Old Timers’ warned that it was the “…first drink that gets you drunk”. Many people have trouble understanding this concept. For both Addicts and the people in their lives, it doesn’t necessarily make sense…after all, when has one drink ever made us drunk? Fortunately, this was easy for me to understand, because whenever I had made a feeble attempt to quit in the past, it was always having “…just one drink” that sent me back into my Addict to drugs and alcohol again!

It is because we know the first drink or drug we take will be devastating to us, that it is generally accepted that an Addict cannot ever return to ‘normal’ drinking or drugging!

Note, that there is plenty about Addiction to drugs and/or alcohol that I do not understand, even though I am a victim of this disease myself, and have been Sober for years. Every day, I learn something new about this illness! For Recovery is an on-going process, which is constantly teaching us new lessons, because Addiction is not a disease that can be cured, but it can be managed and put into remission.

While this may seem daunting, as if there is no end to the struggle, this is not the case. Sobriety is not a long slow march through the mud, but sets us on a new path in our lives, one that frees us from the chains of Addiction, and therefore, offers us hope! In this light, it is best that we don’t know everything about the disease of Addiction, this makes the idea of practicing Recovery much more meaningful, and leaves minds open to learning.

Practicing recovery from Addiction gives us great resources that can help us to meet any challenges that life puts in our way, without falling back to our habits.

One of the most important resources we gain from practicing Recovery, is the support and compassion we share with each other. Not only the people who have walked the same path and understand our struggles, but also those people who have always been there for us, our friends, family and partners. This also includes employers, and professionals, like counselors, teachers, clergy and doctors.

These are the people who will help us to stay away from that first drink or drug, which is the key to Recovery, for an Addict has to take that first drink or drug to get drunk or high. When we turn away from having A drink or A drug, one day at time, the rest of our life opens up with unlimited possibilities!

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