Sunday, August 16, 2009


I know this is an old tired picture, but
someone out there needs to see this.
Maybe me? Well, not today!


I was asked this question by a blogger today, "Do you think I am an alcoholic?"

Well, it took me back, because I'm just not used to a point-blank question like that on line. First, how in the world could I ever decide who has our illness? Since the disease "Alcoholism" has very little to do with drinking--if anything, he who asks the question must not know the definition of an alcoholic.

Neither do I!

All I can really know about is my own insane living, thinking and behavior while I was seriously spending 25-plus years (drinking great daily volume) developing my disease. I became full of the following: fear, paranoia, guilt, remorse, lowest of esteem (well who needs ME?), selfishness--we call it "self centeredness"--hatred of God and man and woman, and all living things, complete denial, self aggrandizement, and a complete disregard for anything but my own concupiscence, my own instant satisfactions in all aspects of life, alone, or with others. NOTE: this is not a complete list.

I already can figure who will know what that word "concupiscence" means, and who probably will not. (That's how well we get to know one another in just a year's time). It's one of those dumb things I had to memorize in high school. It is real. And it was true.

So, back to the question: "Am I an alcoholic?" I absolutely LOVE our Big Book "Alcoholics Anonymous" (from which our fellowship got it's name), and Chapter 4, p.44 "We Agnostics" has something on this topic. The first paragraph gives me a benchmark, so to speak, by which I may loosely determine if I AM or am NOT an alcoholic:

We Agnostics

"IN THE PRECEDING chapters you have learned something of alcoholism. We hope we have made clear the distinction between the alcoholic and the non-alcoholic. If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic. If that be the case, you may be suffering from an illness which only a spiritual experience will conquer."

Of course, if I read that and start to analyze one word at a time, there just might be something wrong with me, i.e:

"Well they DID use the word 'probably', that lets ME off." "'Honestly' why would they put that in there, HONEST, who? Me? Are they joking?" "I quit 'ENTIRELY' almost every day, maybe two times a day...so why do they make a big deal out of 'entirely'?" "And 'little control'...OK, I ALWAYS control my drinking. I just always WANT to drink a lot!"

(And on and on we go, fooling ourselves.) Until down the line somewhere after three wives (husbands), a few jail or prison stints, some bloody happenings, the loss of a whole slew of friends, a DUI or 5 DUIs (Driving Under the Influence arrests) I finally at long last, after everything was lost, find that chaos reigned in my life. I finally admitted defeat, and showed up at the door of Alcoholics Anonymous.

And here I learned, and (thank God) keep on learning how to live, how to treat others with respect, how to stay sober and happy (or sad) at the same time, how to love, really LOVE, and how to talk to God, the One I understand. And how to CHANGE!

And "change" continues even to this very day. And I am here to tell you God's gifts just keep rolling in, and I'm hoping I can give some away--none of the Gifts are money, by the way! God doesn't usually deal in cash. His gifts are MUCH more valuable and long lasting. They consist in things like Peace...and Love.

Thank you for being here, Peeps!

I wish you and yours God's PEACE.
I wish you God's LOVE...and mine also.


Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if you are an alcoholic but I sure ain't. Maybe you should try those online test about alcohol.

Tall Karen said...

Thanks for your kind comments today, and the hugs. I guess I'm more hurt than anything...and fearful of being alone. I'm definitely an alkie...glad you are too!

Madison said...

I don't think alcoholics comprehend how much they're missed or how much potential is lost while they're drinking. Your example that the insanity can end and life can be lived is inspirational.

Dulce said...

Let me explain that simple previous comment of just three words, for it was the way I felt as I finished reading.
Those words say how much I love the way you write and the person who is inside you...I am really happy we've met.
SO it's not that you are 'probably' a lovely person, I 'certainly' believe you are.
Thank you

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...

I am an alcoholic, luckily I learned that the alcoholic is blessed with a very particular ability to be useful to God, so it ends up being a very amazing blessing. If I hadn't learned that it was a "happy, joyous, and free" job description, I probably would have decided I wasn't and rather, chased the "I'm not an alocholic" idea to death (cause I was already insane :)

Glad we have a program that continues to bless us with miracles and fun!

Jess Mistress of Mischief said...


Shadow said...

if you worry enough to ask such a question, likelyhood is there something wrong....

Syd said...

I think that the BB defines alcoholism very well in the Doctor's Opinion. I'm glad that I have read and re-read that. I understand that my obsession of the mind has been for the alcoholic, not alcohol.

Steve E. said...

Yep, Shadow--I agree with you there. In fact I agree with what most of the peeps write here.

Jess, yesssss! Now, where did I put that helmet? --grin!

Karen, you ARE one of the "family", and loved as such...

Rafael, I think you missed my point...maybe?

Madison, My second greatest sin is of OMISSION. Thanks for comment

Dulce, you are very sweet--HOWEVER--you also realize we are ALL human, with frailties that continue until our final purification, and joining with God

Syd. How (always!) right on you are. Doctor's opinion is the beginning place for new members when they come to me for help. It is without doubt, writing inspired by God....

Cat said...

My husband used to say he was an alcoholic and i would always reply - no you are a drunk - alcoholics go to meetings...

wow this really brought back my mind frame back then... glad that its gone.

vicariousrising said...

I've been asked this question a few times, and I find it pretty interesting. I usually respond by saying that I can't decide for anyone else whether they are an alcoholic or not, but that I know I am, then proceed to briefly explain why. Because I was a high bottom drunk (no dui's, lost jobs, etc), my story tends to shock some people. I try to focus on how physically ill I became, the horrible addictive cycle I was locked in and how lost I felt in life.

I conclude with, if you feel like your drinking might be a problem, then it probably deserves to be looked at. For me, I knew in the back of my mind there was a problem for a long time, but I chose to ignore it or minimize it.

Now that I am "out" as an alcoholic, I feel like there is less shame in admitting I have a problem than in continuing to go on as I had been.

Ed G. said...

Good discussion - I'm just starting out with a new one (face world) and we will discuss a couple of your points...

Blessings and aloha...

Susan M DeAngelis said...

Five years ago, after 2 years of recovery, I asked my sponser at the time, "Am I an alcoholic?"

She responded, "Only you can decide that, Sue."

The wheels were spinning in my head -- justifying a drink -- Looking at me wander, my sponser, the one who heard my 4th step inventory, added.... "Honey, are you kidding me!"