Alcoholism is my dis-ease

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.

I replied

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.

About furtheron

Music and guitar obsessive who is a recovering alcoholic to boot
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8 Responses to Alcoholism is my dis-ease

  1. Sherry says:

    Oh yes, yes, yes. It’s NOT intuitive – at least not for me. The way I know is that when I think of drinking I NEVER think of having one anything. Not one glass of wine. Not one shot of Jamison. When I think of drinking it’s always to blot out the world and numb. THAT’s how I know I must always have an escape route and that I should never rely on my own intuition.

    Important stuff here Furtherton. Thank you.

  2. Untipsyteacher says:

    Dear Furtheron,
    Yes, this is so true for me, too.
    I am now learning how to be more at ease with myself and life.
    I keep thinking I have to be something more than I am.
    I used to think I was missing out if I left a party early.
    Now, I am so happy to be home!

  3. looby says:

    That’s very interesting, thank you Graham and I’m pleased you thought it worth expanding.

    The question that immediately arises then, is — although you’ve controlled the symptoms of your dis-ease, what about the dis-ease itself? If that isn’t too personal a question.

    • furtheron says:

      No. That is what I continue to work on within (and without) the programme of AA. Essentially AA’s programme in briefest summary I can get is – clear out the wreckage of the past, identify your recurring character defects that cause you dis-ease, work on reducing/removing them… apologize to all you hurt and then carry the message that you can be a sober alcoholic and be ok.

      • looby says:

        In that case, the AA programme sounds like a hell of a task. I don’t in any way wish to trivialise it but I take New Year’s Resolutions seriously, and they conform closely to those points in the programme. Hardly a week goes by without me thinking — knowing — that I have acted poorly towards someone else. Usually — and cliches are often true au fond — with the ones closest to you. In that sense, I can see how your efforts are a lifetime’s work.

        Thank you for explaining some of this. I enjoy your blog but every now and again I feel a bit baffled by it 🙂

      • furtheron says:

        I feel another post in reply coming on…
        Yes it is not a programme that is easy or one you can do, complete and then just be sober. That may work for some in some methods but for me and many others it is a commitment to a lifetime of work… One day at a time. Our get out is we only do it today. Tomorrow is to be considered tomorrow I could not bother so perversely I actually only commit to it for the very present, here and now.
        I’m glad my blog baffles you as yours often does me. It is great to try and glimpse the other’s world briefly.

      • Syd says:

        A great summary of AA and also Al-Anon.

  4. Elsie Amata says:

    This makes me reflect (once again) about the lecture I listened to with Devin this weekend. I’m sure you’ve heard it: emotional sobriety by tom b. jr. A great listen. And it’s something I listen to once a year and Devin listen to for the first time this weekend. When we are at dis-ease with ourselves, we are at risk. When we are at peace, emotionally sober, that risk is lessened greatly.

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