Not to get unnecessarily religious on a Tuesday morning, but while I’m not sure how much I believe in predetermined fate, I do fully subscribe to the idea that God has us GPS’d, like pet chinchilllas, & sends us out to be in certain places & situations, to be of benefits to others. Even if not to ourselves. Imagine all the times that you’ve witnessed someone go through something totally avoidable, & in the process, learned how not to do that. Was it a matter of coincidence? Happenstance? The truth of the matter is that, no matter the level of tragedy or elation, humans learn from other humans. &, if you believe in God, that’s an intentional act.
The reason I bring this up is because I’m an alcoholic (albeit a recovering one, but nonetheless), & I believe there’s a bigger purpose to that. A real alcoholic, like rehab & lifetime medical complications & “slippery slopes” & the whole 9. I’m one of the lucky ones, too, because cats who I’d known strictly because of our collective neighborhood-drunk status are still doing the same old shit, while I’m pushing my sobriety to the limit, if only because I’d rather not kill myself. & make no mistake; alcohol-related death is suicide (just like catching AIDS as a result of irresponsibility or a drug overdose). Don’t let the smooth taste fool you.
On a somewhat regular basis, I get a person who has a question about alcoholism, or just wants to know my expert opinion on their
binge drinking habits. For this reason, former users make great drug/alcohol counselors, assuming they can take their own advice. I’m not a couselor (yet…), so that type of inquiry is a Badge of Honor, only equaled by anything positive my kids do. However, it wasn’t always that way. Ask any recovering or professionally recovering bottle jockey, & they’ll tell you that alcoholism is a thick curtain, that grows more furry with each passing year. Those valiant enough to eventually pull the curtain back are blinded by the light. Literally & figuratively. To bottom line that sentiment, I didn’t know what purpose my human spirit served (outside of channelling Holy Ghost dance routines when needed), until I learned I may have drank myself into the grave. [Sidenote: Movies & music make Death seem like some hardbody, blaze-of-glory home-going, but that’s not the case. No one wants to die. & if you do, you won’t once a doctor tells you-to your face-that you might get your wish.] Once the initial shock of life-change simmers (which include withdrawal symptoms & physical illness), in comes the truck loads of shame, fear, guilt, depression, anxiety, & seclusion. In theory, sobriety will make a nigga need to get drunk, if you smell my cologne. The first 3 months of attempted sobriety are extremely delicate because of this, & the last thing I wanted to do, for the first 3 months of my program, was talking about God-damned alcohol. & for the record, I said attempted because the first 3 months is usually the relapse mark for people in recovery. My last 3 months were quite different, though, in that I’d come to embrace life without blinders & ear plugs. & it wasn’t that bad. I still felt regret about past decisions & whatever, but it wasn’t that bad. But I digress.
Slowly, that changed. Over time, what once hampered me has given me strength. Really though, when someone hears my story, I can’t fathom what they get from it. To me, it’s just what I had to go through. But don’t get it confused. That nonchalance is far from a slight at the hell I endured. It’s more of a comfort zone, a safe place, knowing that I went through a lot to have the authority to tell the next man, “Slow down, homie. That shit’ll kill you.” I’ve even had readers hit me on the email, about how my openness & honesty helped them in someway. & hell, if my stupidity is something I can bag-up & show to people so they can see what to avoid; awesome. I’ll add that to my list of sober living bonuses, which includes things like better relationship with my family & not dead.
The fact that I’m typing is a testament to true animal survival. The fact that I’m closing in on 3 years without a drink is a nod to the will of the mended human spirit. Anything you need to achieve, you can. & if you need some positively reinforced smoke blown up your ass, for motivational purposes, holler at a writer. That’s how I roll.
**For more info on my fight against alcoholism, enter “Alcoholism” in my search box. & learn something, or it’s a waste of time**