Save My Soul! (Inside The Mind of an Alcoholic)

You awake? Got a story.

While my hobbies these days generally don’t include soul-saving, mostly because no-one wants me to save them and I stopped looking for candidates, which is a good thing, I still yearn to spin some salvation.

I know people. I know things. I know stories.

I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain.

When someone studies alcoholism, they may learn, but it’s a sub-specialty that requires experience to even pretend to understand. This may be why those of us who have seen another human become slowly devastated have a strong desire to continue to share with anyone who will listen.

We don’t suspect … we KNOW we know things no doctor can learn in a lab.

It’s a topic that draws empathy from the deepest part of my soul. Alcoholism will kill its victim over time, and if you’re nearby, you’ll be a victim too.

Let me tell you a story.

You have a long day. You work hard. Things are going pretty well in your life. You get home, settle in.

Well, things aren’t perfect. You recently had a small car accident. You hit the curb, blew two tires, arguing with your boyfriend, who’s a cheat, on your cellphone, when you crashed. You were upset; you yelled at the policeman and got arrested and charged with DUI. That’s your second one, and you’re worried about it.

But you’ve got it under control. You have a job and keep busy, have a sponsor and you’re trying to stay sober and get through the legal problem.

They’re going to look up your history. It would be nice if they didn’t do that.

Anyway, time to relax. Pop open that twist-top wine and pour a smallish glass, chill on the bed, go to sleep.

Next day same thing.

Boring story so far, I know.

What’s the point?

The point is absolutely nothing.

This is how alcoholism works.

Let me continue the story.

Every bone in your body (and this is a survival instinct) tells you you are okay. You cling desperately to those parts of your past that validate reality, and validate that good things happened (which they did) in your past. This imbalance is, if looked at in perspective, a counter-action to a feeling of impending doom.

Your history, in fact, not only supports that you are an alcoholic, but that you’re one of those rare alcoholics who spend astonishing amounts of time and money in and out of systems and programs designed to get you sober, but without success, eventually becoming a perfect candidate for the most devastating of alcohol’s long term consequences. Your history justifies the feeling of doom. The logical part of you creates this.

Your reality becomes a series of distractions.

If you fail to be disciplined at this stage … even your most logical thoughts won’t add up to what alcohol is about to do to you.

Because if they did, you wouldn’t do what you’re about to do.

Your reality includes watching “Dancing With the Stars” (a light distraction) on Monday nights, and things don’t always go perfectly. You’ve got to get more wine.

This is the end of the story.

There are only two paths. You can quit drinking forever, even though you feel it’s not that bad, or you can get in the car. Since you haven’t done it yet, at this stage the entire leg of your life that results from you getting in that car hasn’t happened yet. That is the only reason you don’t believe it. You don’t foresee it. That, along with wishfulness to be well, keeps you from simply waiting.

Inaction may, right now, save your life.

If you did get in the car, you are no longer just an alcoholic trying to get better. Whether you like it or not, it is not losing your freedom to drink that will devastate you. If you are afraid of losing a freedom, think one more time.

You could get one more DUI. It’s that easy.

As a result, you now (in imagination, because it hasn’t happened yet) have three DUI’s and received the third while the case was still in court for the second. Frankly this is an extremely easy scenario when a drinker is stubborn, as you are. And add your tendency to be violent when you drink, and all it would take is a doctor’s evaluation for you to really lose your freedom.

It is not the system you hate. It’s the fact the system is right. If you get in the car, you could very easily, and as an easy-to-see result of your own action, become a perfect candidate for long-term state-issued institutionalization.

So just go to sleep.

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