Prodigal comedian Mitch Hedberg, on how the disease of alcoholism is something of an anomaly:
“Alcoholism is a disease, but it’s the only one you can get yelled at for having. ‘Goddamn it Otto, you are an alcoholic!’ ‘Goddamn it Otto, you have lupus!’ One of those doesn’t sound right.”
1968 – 2005. RIP buddy. Your comedy has brought me much joy.
Within our social constructs, this sadly is often the case. Anger is a pretty common reaction elicited from those who find themselves confronted with the alcoholic or addict, followed closely by confusion. As I’ve mentioned previously, I myself did not believe that it was a classifiable disease for the longest time.
I was reading the comments section on another blog’s post yesterday (“15 Signs You May Drink Too Much” – tongue-in-cheek nod to how many 20somethings find themselves binging), and the central debate seemed to be about “choice,” as the differentiating factor between addiction and what the CDC classifies as a disease.
The argument was that despite even genetic predispositions, at some point down the line, there was an opportunity to choose one decision or the other; to take the red pill or the blue pill. The counterargument was that 99% of the time, that opportunity occurs very early on, and it is inevitably too late by the time the disease has onset.
The whole concept is not easy to wrap your mind around – especially if you’re not living it out day-to-day. So not only may you be battling your own mind and understanding of the disease, but you may also be charged with the task of explaining it to others brandishing their misplaced anger at you. And for me personally, the fight started with just an army of one – myself. How do you have allies when you’re not even sure what the common enemy is?
“You hit the city, it swallows you whole /
You got no friends now darlin’, to satisfy your soul /
And then the sidewalk ends, lights all red /
You say to yourself, you’re better off dead /
Hard row to hoe, all by yourself”
Hard, raw, gritty: just the way I like my Black Keys.
Bonus vid from moe.down 2010 because rock.
So the gloves are on, and you come out swinging. But you’re going nowhere fast if you don’t have support in the corner to keep you on your feet. The mistake is trying to tackle this alone — we have tried time and time again to do it our way, but the result was nil. Our strength comes in our fellowship, our family, our friends; I was actually reminded of that in two different meetings this week. We had newcomers to our group in each, so twice in the past few days did we share on what it used to be like, what happened, and what it is like now.
Now, it is better. Now, because I share with others, the healing process can begin to take hold. I will let others into my life, and I will not let anything come between myself, those close to me, and the sobriety I have been fighting so hard for.
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