Archive for February, 2013

boozePeople tell me that I am courageous writing about my addiction.  I guess it seems that way to others, but to me it seems like something that is necessary.  Why?

I have a responsibility.  As a functioning, happy and recovering alcoholic, I have a responsibility to reach out my hand to others who are still suffering from this disease.  I have been given the gift of sobriety and now my job is to give it away.  It Is not so unusual.  Cancer survivors often join forces with others to spread the word about cancer treatments and support groups.  Alzheimer’s has their own support group and I feel safe in saying most major diseases do also.

There is no way to describe the satisfaction and happiness I receive when someone reads my story and tells me that my words have helped them to find sobriety, or at least to find a certain amount of serenity.  The most rewarding moments in my writing career come when someone reads my words and then thanks me for helping them through my words.  My God that is a powerful moment!  That is what writing is all about….making a connection with another human being and eliciting some emotional response from them.  Whew!  I am blown away by it all.teacher

So that is why I tell my story, and you can read about it here if you want.

Have a wonderful day.  Sobriety is all about one day at a time, so stay sober today and we’ll take another shot at it tomorrow.

Live long and prosper, and may you find the happiness I have found today and always.


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wash d.c.So what are these warning signs?  I’ll use myself as an example and then let you do some soul-searching afterwards.

I am normally a pretty easy-going guy.  Most stuff just slides off of me.  I realize that there will be problems during a day and for the most part I don’t sweat the small stuff.

However, there are days when seemingly everything bothers me.  The small stuff seems huge.  I return to the old behavior and try to make a typhoon out of a glass of water.  That is when I know I am slipping back into alcoholic thinking.

Another example?  I will lose my PIPO!  For those who don’t know, PIPO is an acronym I came up with that means positive in/positive out.  In other words, if I inject positive thoughts into my brain daily, then my actions will be of a positive nature.  Again, though, there are days when I just can’t find my PIPO, and everything has a negative connotation.  Again, that is when alcoholic thinking is making its presence known.

I will never be cured of alcoholism, and I am going to have days when my old self wants to establish some dominance in my life.  The good news is I recognize that behavior and I do something about it.

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wash d.c.I wish I could have a beer with lunch.

I wish I could go out with friends and have a glass of wine and have a nice conversation.

I wish I could work outside in the garden and take a break with a Budweiser on a hot afternoon.

I wish I could grow grapes and make my own wine.  As a gardener I would love to try that.

I wish….I wish….I wish…..

The reality simply is that I can do none of those things.thumbnailCAE2TTDQ

You see, I am an alcoholic.  My name is Bill and I am a drunk.  A recovering drunk but a drunk nonetheless.

Bev used to get upset when I called myself a drunk.  She thought it was a demeaning term, and I suspect a part of her did not like that word because it seemed to harsh for her.  She was and is in love with me and she doesn’t like to think of me in those terms.

I am a drunk. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and has tail feathers, there is a very good chance that it is a duck, and I am a drunk.

You see, the only difference between me and that wino on the street corner is one drink.

One drink separates me from oblivion.  One drink separate me from hopelessness.  One drink separates me from a spiral into oblivion.

My name is Bill and I am an alcoholic.

The words really are not that painful to say. J

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wash d.c.I readily admit that I get tired of blogging.  There seems to be very little reward for the work, or so my logical mind wants to tell me.  I would much rather be writing articles and publishing and working on my next novel.  Who has time for this nonsense, anyway?

And then I get a comment from someone who has struggled with alcohol, and in the comment they tell me that my blog has helped them greatly, and they have been sober now for months, the longest they have ever been sober, and it is in part because of my blog.

Well what do you say to that?  It kind of puts things in perspective now doesn’t it?

This blog will never make me money….NEVER!  It would be wrong to try and make money on a subject as deadly serious as alcoholism.  No, this blog is about helping the still suffering alcoholic.  Hopefully, through my words, I can be a source of strength and information for someone so that they can start taking steps to end the insanity of alcoholism.

So today I am not tired of blogging.  Today I feel pretty darn good about it, and I feel good about this blog in particular.  Today I have hope and that is a beautiful thing.

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wash d.c.Okay, stay with me while I lay out a scenario for you.  Say you went to the doctor.  You had some sort of rash that had formed on your skin, and it was driving you crazy.  You kept scratching it because it itched something terrible, so you finally made an appointment and saw your doctor.

After examining you and taking some blood tests, the doctor told you that you were experiencing a very serious reaction to tomatoes, and that this was Stage One of a reaction that would eventually be fatal to you if you continued to eat tomatoes.

Would you give up eating tomatoes faced with that information?  Of course you would; any rational human being would just say “fine, no more tomatoes,” and go on with their lives.

Now, tell an alcoholic that if they continue to drink they will surely die, and more often than not they will ignore the warning and continue drinking.

That, my friends, is a definition of insanity, and it perfectly describes the stinkin’ thinkin’ that most active alcoholics do each and every day of their lives.  Faced with irrefutable proof that drinking will kill them, they continue to look for a way that they can drink and live a normal life.being silly

I was talking to Bev last night, and since she is a normie she is curious about alcoholism.  I was telling her that I would love to be able to go to a restaurant and have a nice, dark German beer with dinner, just like normal people do.  Unfortunately, there is no such thing as one beer in my life.  That one beer would lead to days of endless drinking, and I am pretty tired of that result.

So today I listen to the “doctor” and have eliminated alcohol from my diet.

You can too!  It requires a whole lot of willingness, but you can do it if I have done it.

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miscellaneous....and steph 003Of course I was sad to read about the death of Mindy McCready over the weekend, but in all honesty I have seen far too many of my friends die as a result of taking their own lives.  Some put a gun to their head, while others just put a bottle to their lips and pulled the trigger that way.

Do you know someone with a drinking problem?  Maybe a relative or friend, or maybe a co-worker?  Would you like to know what you can do to help them?  Just be a support system if they should need one, and that’s all.  Do not give them money.  Do not accept their lies and excuses, and do not make excuses for them.booze

There is help for problem drinkers and/or alcoholics, but they must want the solution.  Until they do there is nothing you can do to help them and yes, they might end up like Mindy McCready, but there isn’t a damn thing you can do to prevent that from happening.

And that is the cold, hard truth of alcoholism.

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wash d.c.Valentine’s Day and drinking!  I remember back in the good old days when I still had control of my drinking.  My then-wife and I would have a bottle of wine for dinner, or we would go out for dinner and share a drink or two.  We would toast each other and get a little buzz on, and all would be well.

Well, like the marriage, that casual toasting thing went south very quickly.  Over the years I quit drinking for special occasions and started drinking daily to satisfy a hunger I did not understand.

Do you NEED alcohol to enjoy special occasions like Valentine’s Day?  Certainly not!  I am a living, breathing example of that.  For six years now I have been greatly enjoying holidays without the need of alcohol, and I suspect I will continue to do so into the future.

For many who are just starting this journey of sobriety, there is this notion that it will be impossible to have fun without alcohol.  I’m here to tell you that I did not understand the true nature of fun until I stopped drinking and allowed my senses to completely experience life.

There is a big world out there with unlimited possibilities waiting for us.  Isn’t it a shame when someone severely limits those possibilities by drinking?

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teacherI wrote an article yesterday about guilt and the damaging effects it has on everyone.  Not just alcoholics of course, but everyone!

However, if you want a sure-fire way to get an alcoholic to drink, load him or her down with guilt and then stand back and count the minutes.  It won’t be long before they head off in search of a bottle.

Alcoholics are burdened with guilt.  They have done some horrendous things when they were drinking, and now that they are sober they feel like shit about those things.  They carry that guilt around with them like it is some badge of honor, and it weighs them down, and eventually it is too much to bear and they drink again.

That’s why the 12 Steps of AA were written, to teach alcoholics how to deal with the detritus of the past and live in the present.  Step 8 tells us to make a list of all persons we have harmed, and Step 9 tells us to make amends wherever possible.

Those two steps wipe the slate clean and allow us to move on with our lives free of guilt.

One important note:  while you are asking others for forgiveness, make sure you ask youself for forgiveness as well. Without that important step the guilt will remain.

Live long and prosper in a sober life.  There is happiness waiting for you if you choose to accept it.

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much younger daysLet us all raise a toast to Pope Benedict and his legacy!

No, on second thought, let’s not!

What am I talking about?  Seriously, sometimes I don’t have a clue.  LOL  This time, however, I did have a point to all of this.

When I was drinking I didn’t need a reason to have a drink.  Raising a toast for a special celebration was just so much doo-doo for this boy.  I drank because I needed to drink.  There was no celebration or testimonial involved with it….I drank to feed my cravings and I was afraid if I did not feed those cravings that they would kill me.

There is a madness involved with alcoholism.  We drink because we are afraid not to, and we drink because we are afraid to live without alcohol, AND we drink because we are afraid it might kill us.

The last reason might be a bit hard to understand, but a real alcoholic knows, deep down inside, that he/she is killing themselves, and so they drink to quiet the voices in their heads about a death they are embracing.

And that, my friends, is insanity.

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thumbnailCAE2TTDQThere was an article online today that talked about the advantages of eating healthy foods.  It said that you sleep better when you eat properly, which I guess makes sense.

Now this is a blog about alcoholism, so one would have to ask why I’m writing about healthy eating habits, and that would be a fair question for sure.

I can tell you without any hesitation that most alcoholics do not have healthy eating habits.  Not only does alcohol cause damage on its own, but it tends to take alcoholics out of regular eating habits.  Because alcohol becomes the most important thing in our lives, we tend to not eat on occasion, or just eat fast foods on many days.  Slowly the body craves alcohol and does not crave food, and then some health issues begin to arise.

As for sleeping…..for a serious alcoholic sleep can be better described as passing out.  I would drink until I passed out, and then wake up and drink some more until I passed out.  Alcohol is a depressant, and as such our bodies slowly shut down.  We become weaker and we have less energy, all signs that we are being fed by alcohol.  It is an endless cycle that can only produce very negative results.

Today I sleep like a baby, and I eat much healthier foods.  My blood pressure is excellent, my heart is strong, and I have the energy of a person twenty years younger.

There is life after alcohol and there is hope.

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