What is the first thing you picture when you think of an alcoholic or a drug addict? For me, it's the classic scruffy faced bed headed bum from the city, laying in a pile of piss and puke in an old storefront doorway. At least, that's what I used to picture. If I needed to picture one now, I could just look in the mirror. No scruffy face, no bed head, no piss or puke, just a plain old recovering alcoholic addict.
The stigma that is attached to alcoholism and drug addiction runs deep. It was a huge obstacle for myself in waking up to the reality that I actually had a problem.The social acceptability of alcohol also played a huge part in my drinking career. I rarely blacked out in a gutter, nor did I ever get caught drinking and driving, or catch a court case for drug possession. I was lucky. There was a war going on inside my head, and alcohol and drugs were the artillery to keep the fight strong.
Even though the war is quiet these days, I must stay conscious of the fact that thoughts of alcohol or drugs will enter my mind at times. It's up to me acknowledge them as only thoughts, and not act on them. I actually had the thought on my way home from work tonight how nice it would be to have a beer in the backyard under the sun, laid back relaxing with my feet up. Then my mind went to how I really drink, one beer would lead to 10 or 12, a pint of vodka, and a late night call to the "coke guy". That's the reality of it, and I have accepted it. I can't drink.
So tonight, instead of that one beer fantasy followed by the booze drug binge nightmare, I sat out in the backyard with a fire, ate some pizza, drank some tea and relaxed my mind. Some may call this boring or lame. Fuck em'. I was able to look my daughter in the eyes tonight when I put her to bed, knowing that I am a good dad and a good man. That is worth more than any drink or drug could ever compare to.