I love how through comments on blogs your mind is expanded. Often I write a post based on a comment on one of my posts or one someone else’s that I read. The last post was one of those – this is a another.
Looby says in his comment on the last story.
I’m fascinated — as an enthusiastic drinker — about the way you’ve been stressing “the esacpe route” in both this and the past post. I had no idea it was so important. In my circle people just say they’re going home and that’s it. We’ve long got past the stage of insisting people drink at all, or continuing to drink.
See you think this is a) about the alcohol and b) about the other people… both are partially the point but neither fully the story either. It’s way too complicated for that analysis
I realised that was too small a reply. It deserves another post.
Once somewhere I hear/saw alcoholism referred to as a dis-ease. Note the deliberate parting of the syllables. If you say it out loud with the pause disease becomes… dis… ease. And that to me is a major point about my alcoholism. I was never at ease – with myself, with the world I inhabited, with those about me… etc. I found that alcohol for me was a great way of ignoring this essential issue. It numbed my feelings, gave me false bravado, justified why the world (if not the entire universe) was simply set up to be against me, fuelled my cloning ability to be whoever it was I thought you wanted me to be… etc.
So whilst picking up a drink is something I work on a daily basis to continue to achieve this is actually less about alcohol and more about me. It is interesting to note that if you read the 12 steps of alcoholics anonymous alcohol is only mentioned once; right in the first step where “we admitted we were powerless over alcohol”. Of course the 12 steps have been adopted by many other fellowships to tackle many other addiction issues over the 80 years since AA was founded so that work is actually also the one you’ll find changed in other versions – substitute “drugs”, “gambling”, “sex”, “shopping” … etc. So alcohol is a symptom of my dis-ease not the disease itself.
Looby’s response is, to him, the simple solution to a problem of feeling like you may drink when you don’t want to… simply leave. But he can make that decision in the moment and trust himself to make that decision rationally in that moment, especially when surrounded by other people. For me that is a monumental risk to take since, to put it bluntly, I don’t trust myself. For 25 years from my teens to my early 40s I simply could never make that decision rationally, sensibly… soberly! I may be able to now at 11 years sober, as I recently posted about I handle things intuitively that use to baffle me. But those things other alcoholics realise why I failed to handle before and appreciate how to me I feel incredible that I can handle now. I suspect many non-alcoholics/addicts will look at that and be baffled as to why dealing with this humdrum mundane issues should ever have been an issue for a grown adult.
To risk my sober rational judgement though when the demon alcohol may have a presence in the room that I’m in is something I don’t feel I can handle at all intuitively yet… and potentially never will do. So yes the escape route has to be considered, planned ahead and on a hair trigger. By the way Looby’s feeling that it is others insisting I drink is and never was the issue it is my dis-ease insisting I drink that is my problem.