I read this today:
I am asking you all to read this. You may personally not identify, but someone you know does, whether they are sober or actively in their addiction. You might be able to pass this along. To help someone else. You might be able to save your own life.
Yesterday I read the statistic that right now the number 1 cause of accidental death in the United States is overdose. More than car accidents. That is insane. But I get it, I do.
I am an alcoholic and I don’t now what it was about this article that blew the covers off for me, but it did. A friend of mine posted it with the comment “this is a battle cry”.
I posted it to my FB, no apologies, no regrets, I am now out and loud and proud …(wait, did I just co-opt that?)
“If you want to beat it you must ACKNOWLEDGE IT’S STRENGTH” The disease of alcoholism and addiction takes no prisoners. Like a drone strike it is out to kill and you are its target. Some people, like Rob, knew at an early age. Some, like me…well, I knew far longer than I really understand, but it took me until almost 2 1/2 years ago to ACKNOWLEDGE the power that alcohol had over me. To really see it, know it and be ready to stop. Not that I didn’t try and stop; I tried many times, but there was always a reason for that glass of wine, that shot of Jack, that perfect martini. For a long time it wasn’t such problem and then, suddenly it was. That is how this disease works…sucking you into it’s vortex, seductive, a glass at a time, then a bottle, then 2 bottles….
I understand that many people drink responsibly and that it is not a problem for everyone. I get that, and god, sometimes I fucking want to kill all of you who can drink like that. I want to drink like that….a glass of wine at dinner, a champagne toast. But I can no longer do what I was once capable of. This disease is progressive for those of us who have it. And it’s not curable, I truly believe that. I get to decide every day that I am not going to drink that day, and then I get to live my life, without alcohol. If I decide that I can even have one drink, I am going to be lost. Because that is the last decision I will make; from then on the alcohol will be in charge, or the heroin…whatever the drug of choice is. I KNOW that, deep in my bones, deep in my soul.
When I hear of a death, or a relapse, I do just what Rob Delaney does…say “fuck that shit and circle the wagons”. I am so grateful that I have wagon train that I ride in, that I have wagons to circle. And that is because I work at this every single day. I have made friends with people I would never have crossed paths with and they help keep me sober. I met these wonderful people in AA and I am profoundly grateful for the grace that got me to my first meeting.I am part of an on-line support group. I have sober blogging friends. I NEED all of that, but I need it face-to-face most. The meetings, the sponsor, the sweet friends who help me every day. I love my online community but I sat in my office getting drunk every night reading on-line sober blogs for quite a while, trying to figure out if I had a problem.
Duh!? Who searches for and reads sober blogs for fun? Who likes the idea of going to an AA meeting, or treatment? Not one person. Ever.
People who accidently overdose do it alone, in hotel rooms, or their beds, or on the street. They don’t reach out, because if they did they might get talked out of the self-destruction they are hell bent on. That is their disease telling them it’s “just one last time”, or “you’re really not that bad”. If you think those thing, guess what? You really ARE that bad. I know a man whose daughter, 18, is so brain damaged from “one last” shot of heroin her life is effectively over. I am not willing to take that chance, I am not. There was a time I was desperate to kill myself, but duty to my son kept me alive. In that time my drinking took off, and I now fully understand that if I want to die all I have to do is drink again. That’s a lot of fucking knowledge, gang, a lot.
Today my wagons are fully circled. I know what I have to do to stay sober, and am willing to do it, like it or not.
Today it struck me that I have no reason to hide this part of me…why? So maybe someone who reads my FB who is desperate for help WON’T know that I share this disease with them and WON’T reach out to me? That is the antithesis of what I want for my life. I want to be of maximum service when I can, where I can. I believe that the stigma behind addiction kills people as much as the addiction itself. It keeps people from seeking help, from understanding that there is a powerlessness in addiction that needs to be acknowledged…that strength that Rob Delaney refers to. Knowledge is power, as is accountability, honesty, and owning who we are.
I have owned this, to an extent, for a while. All my close friends know, my siblings, and I share with others on a need-to-know basis. But guess what, that’s not enough now. There are people DYING out there, and if I can help in triage I want to do that. Yes, the wagons are circled and we’re figuring it out, so that we don’t have to die. Every day people die, so many. Famous people get the attention and their addictions are discussed ad nauseum in the press. But no one knows what might have gone on in Cory Monteith’s mind the night he died, no one.
OH, wait….I might. I just might.