April is Alcohol Awareness Month – When you’re so good at drinking you have to stop

I was so good at drinking, I had to stop. Yeah, nearly five years ago. I dropped out of grad school and headed to rehab to finally deal with a problem I’ve had for so much of my life.

See, I, like millions of you, love drinking. Love it. I still think about drinking at least 20 times a day and wish I could drink like a normal person. But, I know I can’t. I’m an alcoholic.

Does it sound odd to be so frank? So open about alcoholism? Should I cower and feel ashamed of this?

No. I refuse to be ashamed. I’m over the shame game. For anyone who struggles with alcohol, you know what it’s like to live with shame. It’s your shadow and your skin; it’s another reason to pick up. Sure, we live in a culture where drinking is encouraged, but let’s not forget for a minute that alcohol is a drug, it’s just a legal drug…

There are millions of people like me out there. I am not alone. You are not alone. Chances are you may know or be someone who struggles with alcoholism. In fact, nearly thirty percent of all adult drinkers consume at levels that put them at risk for alcoholism, liver disease and other problems.

Over the next month, I plan to write a series of blogs on alcoholism, about stigma, shame and self-destruction. I want to examine whether alcoholism is a disease and what propels our cultural compulsion to escape. I want to look at where alcoholism begins and the familial influence of this cursed affliction. I want to touch on the cost associated with alcoholism, because it’s not just the cost of your bar tab at 2 am on a Saturday night, but there’s emotional, physical and spiritual costs too, not to mention the price anyone who loves you must pay. I want to look at how one can tell if they’re an addict, even if they are highly functioning. I want to write about how difficult it is to imagine your life without (terrifying), but most importantly, I want to provide all of you who are trapped an idea of hope and possibility. I want to offer up a glimmer of what it’s like to truly feel your life, the brutal, the beautiful, all of it…

To my alcoholic brethren – no matter what you’ve been told, no matter what you think about yourself, no matter how much you hate yourself for being an alcoholic, you deserve a better life. And to all those who live with and love an alcoholic, I hope to possibly provide some insights into what it’s like to be an alcoholic. Stay tuned readers. It’s about to get real.

Image credit: CDC

 

 

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