Denial Ain’t Just a River in Egypt

For the longest time, I refused to admit to myself that I had a serious problem.  Especially during my college years, as binge drinking was so socially accepted & encouraged.  What never clearly emerged in my mind was that I had been gradually moving past the socially acceptable limit of lewdly massive consumption (and frequency thereof), even among hard-partying coeds.  By the time I graduated, I was on the tipping point of full-blown alcoholism.

The scale ultimately crashed down on the wrong side, of course.  Left to my own devices in navigating the harsh reality of the world outside of the neat little bubble that was my college experience, I quickly became a “jaded cynic,” and my depression only worsened.  My problem was that I didn’t have any positive/healthy methods of dealing with such an existential funk; naturally I turned to the only constant in my life that I understood (vodka), but of course that only exacerbated my distaste for the things I was observing in my daily reality.

This slow but steady descent into madness and despair was peppered with what alcoholics refer to as ‘moments of clarity.’  The way that I experienced them was in an almost out-of-body state, where I could look down on myself from above and objectively see just how bad my drinking problem was.  They would come in short bursts, typically after particularly traumatic events caused directly by my abuse of alcohol (physical altercations, dealings with law enforcement, firable offenses on the job, bridges burnt with old friends).

“Thank God for grantin’ me, this moment of clarity / This moment of honesty – the world’ll feel my truths”

As these moments became more frequent & closer in between, I begrudgingly began to acknowledge my sneaky little problem that had previously been so adept in hiding itself in the shadowed corners of my mind.  There laid my second hurdle in dealing with alcoholism: my own mind.  Sure, I knew I had a problem.  But why couldn’t I handle it of my own accord?  Why should I (embarrassingly) have to seek outside help in this?  The alcoholic mind is stubborn; the disease does not want you to yield to the powers that might defeat it.  Especially never having had any professional therapy or counseling, I was completely clueless to the fact that this is NOT an undertaking to be managed solo.  “Well, I got myself into this.  I’m a strong-willed man.  Why should I not be able to manage it myself?”

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It has been said that the golden dream of every alcoholic is to be able to drink socially again.  I tried with every ounce of my being to achieve this, but all my efforts were in vain.  I was not ready to give up my social stature as a man of the drink, but nor was I able to maintain composure while drinking.  Something had to give.

By the end of my drinking, my life was literally unmanageable.  I would awaken each day, emotionally destitute and completely miserable.  General apathy had taken over for what were once exciting passions for life.  I could not continue to endure this kind of hurt; I feared it would drive me to the brink of insanity (and for many people, unfortunately, it does).

Then came that moment when I could no longer bear to carry this weight on my shoulders.  Upon agreeing to enter rehabilitation and letting my Universal Higher Power do with me what he would, I felt the weight of a thousand bricks lifted off my entire sense of being.  I had finally, truly accepted that I was powerless over alcohol, and that I needed all the assistance I could get to deal with it.

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It starts where it ends.  This is the first step on the enlightening journey that is recovery.  Six weeks from this revelation, my soul still feels unburdened and liberated.

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