Back When The Beaver Hit The Bong

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Ah the good ol’ days.

Well, more accurately, the past as we perceive through a hazy nostalgic set of goggles which are adjusted to a setting  that only allows us to acknowledge only what we want to see, deflecting and ignoring the things that don’t feed into the false ideal and image that we choose to project to others and ourselves, consciously or unconsciously. That’s an accurate description of how I used to see things, and at times still do, thinking that my eyes were wide open to reality when really I was asleep to my present and seeing my history for what it was.  And what my past days were…well, they weren’t as “good” as I liked to pretend they were.

One of the things that happens in recovery, especially early recovery, is the romanticism of the drinking past.  We select the things about the past that grooves with us, conveniently forgetting the pain, suffering, damage, consequences and regret that came with sprees and/or daily chugging.  We recall the salad days, poisonous vinaigrette and all.  Our enablers, our fellow alcoholics, our hard drinkers all of a sudden lose their hard and ragged edges over time and recall them as “chums”, “mates” and “pals”.  We lose the hard images of vomit sprayed over countless backsplashes and weepy 3 am remorse calls to who knows who on the phone and instead opt for the clean lines of that IKEA-like polished shiny past of “must have been the popcorn shrimp I had,” and “caught up with old friends late at night”.  The rationalization machine kicks in and time starts to wipe away the jagged lines and dirty crumbs as easily as ShamWow tackles Diet Shasta spills and stubborn grass stains.

Oh when things were just so much simpler.  Dust woman, dust away your problems until hubby gets home!
Dust woman, dust away your problems…and be careful how many “vitamins” you pop!

This whitewashing of the ugly past isn’t as easy as deleting our History on a web browser.  This is Facebook type stuff – it will never go away no matter what we do.  It’s out there for good.  We cannot do the Curly Shuffle around a crime scene and call it performance art.  We can try and camouflage, conceal and cloak all we want, but how we lived and what we did will eventually make it’s way through the Maze of Minimization and tap us on the shoulder and punch us on the nose.  Howdy, remember me?

Of course I remember you.  I created you.  And tried to bury you and yet you keep coming back.  Are you related to Jason Voorhees?  Just as nasty and frightening, with one less chainsaw, mind you.

This sterilization of our past deeds and behaviours and way of thinking is one way that the illness operates.  It tries to convince us that things weren’t that  bad, that we’re probably overreacting, that the Brother Grimm episodes in our lives were really just sepia-toned tomfoolery.  The Little Rascals type jocularity.  Light-hearted Leave it to Beaver stuff with a bong and Triple Sec thrown in for grime and crime.  Perhaps they were just Rights of Passage material.  Who hasn’t passed out on the bathroom floor at one point in their young, Anne of Green Gables life now and then?  Who hasn’t woken up in a hospital bed with unknown maladies and injuries?  Who hasn’t forced themselves inappropriately on someone’s partner or co-worker?  I mean…this is just fun stuff, playful, self-indulgent, no?

Not always.

those-were-the-good-old-days

The dangerous part of looking back fondly is that it’s all an illusion wrangled up by our alcoholism to lull us into getting a punched ticket back to the bottle.  It’s a way of romanticising the Dance with the Devil with the Blue Dress (Puked) On and to entice our minds to conform to the old way of doing things.   The “good ol’ days” mentality is a mirage manufactured to turn our attention back to the problem, and away from the solution.  Alcoholism hates solutions that involves drying it out, putting it in a corner and crowning it with a Dunce Hat. Alcoholism fights for it’s life.  It never goes away.  But we do put it in remission.  If we work for it.  And the siren calls of those good times is often too much for the alcoholic who is struggling, or not equipped with the tools of recovery to manage things when those ripples from the past reach us and look for response.  Justification is one of many cards that alcoholism plays, and rewinding and playing the good bits of our past is a way of playing that card.  A “remember when”, stripped of it’s jarring and sordid details.

I remember many, many years ago talking to a co-worker / friend who had opened up about his cocaine problem.  He would speak about the drug and drugging in loving ways.  His memories and tales were wrapped up in gloss and glissando.  He swooned when he spoke of the highs and the great social magical properties it seemed to have.  Like a doting grandparent, his Wee One  could do no wrong and preemed the romantic cocaine fantasy into a more solid reality than it really was.  I remember cutting him off at one point and asking “Hey G, if it was so good, then why were you in detox and treatment?  Didn’t you get fired and lose your girlfriend, etc?”  His head turned to the side, eyes fled downward and he muttered something along the lines of “yeah, but”…his voice faded and walked away.

Yeer straanger, looks like you have been through the timber, and now look yeer, straanger. Rest your chaps on this heer chaise and have an IPA on house.
Yeer straanger, looks like you have been through the timber, and now look…rest your chaps on this heer chaise and have an IPA on Harry house.

I didn’t understand how G could have seen things the way that he did, but at the time I wasn’t as ensconced in my alcoholism as I was until later.  I was certainly in the grips of the grape, but hadn’t travelled to the far land of the Blackout yet and hadn’t received my visas to get into Hospital Land and the Duchy of Destruction.  And of course I would remember G when years later I was in the exact same boat, waxing nostalgic over drunken bouts and flights of fancy al fresco.  Except I was having the conversation with myself, not a colleague.  I would sit and remember what it was like when X, or the days that I felt Y or all those occasions when I got big Z.  My blue-penciled past was the sanitized snap shot that my alcoholism liked to parade around me when I was feeling vulnerable or out of sorts.  And that sort of stealth attack can still happen today.  The difference is that today I can see it for what it is – a lie.

You see, here’s the deal.  I did have some wonderful times when drinking.  Alcohol did for me what I couldn’t do for myself for some time – I was able to talk to women, I was able to squelch the self-destructive thoughts, I was able to laugh, I was able to strike up conversations, I was able to look the world in the eye…even if it was momentarily.  I felt normal and and alive.  I found the courage to be open and be a part of things and seemingly blend in with humanity.  I had found the switch to turn me from dud to stud (ok, let’s not get ahead of ourselves).  So I won’t deny that alcohol didn’t work at all in my life.  It did for a short while and that’s why I went back to it over and over again.  But the window of magic closed quickly.  And I tried to hit that window more and more and found myself overshooting the mark more and more.  And that’s when alcohol stopped being fun.  I couldn’t recapture those fun times again.  And the truth is that I never will.  Ever.

If this doesn't say "bust a move" I don't know what does.  I don't want to know.
If this doesn’t say “bust a move” I don’t know what does. I don’t want to know, in fact.

What it comes down to is that the “good ol’ days” aren’t.  They may have been, but will never be again.  And that’s because alcoholism is progressive.  We can’t just freeze frame alcoholism to it’s perfect nadir.  It moves on even when we don’t want it to.  We can’t compare ourselves to others who can take or leave ethanol.  They are the ones who can party, post some pics online, laugh a bit, and move on.  We don’t.  We can’t.  We shouldn’t.   And once again, we can’t.  I can’t.  Ever.  So that’s what I have had to make peace with.  Going back through the old photo albums, with faded and yellowed images, pointing to the good times, to Old Self, to a time when fuzzy dice, fizzy drinks and floozy fun ruled does us no good.  Time to start a new album.   Because when it comes down to brass tacks, for me to look back and think that everything was great, is a delusion.

Sure there was that short period when all was lovely and gay, but when the darkness descended and the TIE fighters started to scramble around and attack from within and life started to swirl downward and when I pushed people out of my life, when my marriage suffered, when I lied, cheated, stole to keep up the many lies I created, when work suffered, when my depression and anxiety swelled to horrific states, when my self-loathing hit high…there was no room for fun.  Fun fled fleet-footedly out of the picture long ago.  I had wrung the fun out of drinking long ago.  And in return it put me through the wringer.  So it’s delusional of me to hark back and think that things can be like the delightful days of yore.  It’s not possible.

Boy, you're good at turning things on, aren't you? Let's have a malt down at the sock hop tonight, Danny Boy.
Boy, you’re good at turning things on, aren’t you? Let’s have a malt down at the sock hop tonight, Danny Boy.

In the final analysis, I am on a timeline that shifts and changes and grows.  It swells and contracts.  It takes me along paths that I sometimes can and sometimes cannot control.  I can only react to what it going on, and have faith that I am being moved to where I need to be moved to.  The festive days of youth are no more, in regards to alcohol.  They were and then they were not enjoyable.  It was a part of my journey that needed a start.  And believe me, I had a long middle and ugly finish.  I am now on a new journey.  I don’t regret the past nor do I wish to shut the door on it.  I use my past, the glowing parts and the dingy parts, as a way of moving through my path today.  I can’t go back, nor do I wish to.  I can’t hold on to the illusion that things will be groovy and wavy-gravy again.  Because for the most part, they never were.  The big gaping holes in my memory grew larger as I move in my alcoholism.  The bright spots were few and far between until I was just existing.  Just barely breathing.  And the longer I choose to stay in those old times, the more I stay stagnant in my recovery.  I can’t see where I am going when I am looking in the rear view mirror all the times, as they say.  I can’t colour my past in techni-colour when in fact it was all battleship gray.

Romanticism.  Justification.  Fantasy.  Rationalization.  Delusion.

If we were playing cards, this would be alcoholism’s full house.  But I am not at the table.  I am there, that guy over there, enjoying something else…called life.  A sober life, staying in the present.

And it’s beautiful.

126 Comments Add yours

  1. sherryd32148 says:

    Yep…cashed in my chips and what do you know? I won!

    Great post Paul.

    Sherry

  2. Maya June says:

    Great post, Paul. The images really make it flow. I can totally relate. My romanticization of drinking prevented me from seeing what a huge draw and problem it had become in my life. You hit the nail on the head: it was fun once in awhile and most other instances were spent trying to recapture the fun and mostly failing miserably. Thanks for the insights!

    1. HI Maya,

      Thanks so much for the comments. Romanticism of the booze certainly played a part in the whole thing of the good ol days. It was like a smoke screen – I like how you looked at it that way. Never saw that myself! Awesome 🙂

      Blessings,
      Paul

  3. It was fun while it was fun and then it wasn’t. Even when it was fun I can still see how unhealthy my drinking was. I wasn’t a “normal” drinker who suddenly couldn’t drink anymore. I remind myself of that often. Great post about the danger of romanticism!

    1. “It was fun while it was fun and then it wasn’t. ” Awesome line. It really comes down to that, doesn’t it? Thanks for this – you bring it down to such a simple yet profound thing.

      Love and light,
      Paul

  4. Lisa Neumann says:

    “But the window of magic closed quickly” … my favorite line. Sometimes I get a bit jealous at your ability to articulate the bowels of active alcoholism. A lot to ponder in one post my friend. On a closing note: Life …It is beautiful isn’t it 🙂 Thanks for being a friend.

    1. The bowels of active alcoholism…yeah, I am good at that 🙂

      Thank you again, Lisa for the kind words and wonderful comments you make here. You make this place a lot better. Thank YOU for being a friend. Makes my day.

      Paul

  5. Batman on an elephant. Hahaha! I adore you Paul, have a great week!

    1. I have no idea where that pic came from, but as soon as I saw it, I knew it was getting shoehorned into a post. Ha! Thanks for being here Christy 🙂

  6. Lilly says:

    What a wonderful post. I need to burn this on my brain. I honestly don’t think people who are in early recovery can ever hear this stuff enough because it truly is one of the hugest hurdles.

    THIS…

    “What it comes down to is that the “good ol’ days” aren’t. They may have been, but will never be again. And that’s because alcoholism is progressive. We can’t just freeze frame alcoholism to it’s perfect nadir. It moves on even when we don’t want it to. We can’t compare ourselves to others who can take or leave ethanol. They are the ones who can party, post some pics online, laugh a bit, and move on. We don’t. We can’t. We shouldn’t. And once again, we can’t. I can’t. Ever. So that’s what I have had to make peace with.”

    …Sums it up so, so perfectly for me. That’s where I’m at – realising that’s the reality and struggling to make peace with it. But I am still at the point I have to remind myself of this constantly, over and over, as in pretty much daily still. Gives me hope it gets easier too.

    Thank you.

    xo

    1. I had to hear stuff over and over again too, Lilly. Still do. Believe me, I still do! If it were so easy, then recovery would be that easy. But we need a few things burned on the brain, as you say. But like you said, it does get easier. It really does. And what you’ve been writing on your blog, I can see that happening for you too. You’re an inspiration!

      Blessings,
      Paul

      1. Lilly says:

        Thank you Paul. Coming from you that really means a lot! Really.

  7. I’m new here….4 days sober…again. I loved so much about your post. You spoke my mind. Funny so many on here do! Comforting in a weird way. Ha! I guess because we are addicts!

    Related so much to….Alcoholism hates solutions that involves drying it out, putting it in a corner and crowning it with a Dunce Hat. Alcoholism fights for it’s life. It never goes away.
    WOW! Boy does it fight, I put on my boxing gloves this time!

    Thank you!
    Sharon
    Deliveredagain@wordpress.com

    1. HI DA – so glad you swung by here – really appreciate it. And congrats on your sober time 🙂

      Yeah, the great thing about talking to other alcoholics / addicts is seeing just how similar we are. It’s a reminder that we’re never alone, only if we choose to be so. And I don’t know about you, I isolated for way too long in my life. Being with you and the others here is very important for me. You are helping me more than I might be helping you. Sounds strange, but it’s true.

      Boxingly yours,
      Paul

    2. bernasvibe says:

      CONGRATS..You’ve arrived..The line I’ll never ‘eva forget? One is too many and a thousand isn’t enough! Over ten years for me; and honestly? I stopped counting..I recall the good times…BUT I also recall the BAD times alot more..I also recall that there are times that I do NOT recall..And what I can say to you as a newcomer? HANG ON in there..Its so so awesome to be delivered..Alcohol does something to me after 2 sips..2 sips! Was that way from the very beginning..Yet I never stopped after 2 sips..The key? Never convincing yourself that just a tiny bit is alright. It isn’t..Some of us just can’t take poison into our bodies..There was never a time I ingested alcohol(even wine; which I switched to cause I thought I could hold it in; I could not) that by nights end; I was face down in the toilet. Vomitting it out..My body just can’t tolerate the poison. Long as I was dancing, and dancing, and dancing it was all good..But soon as I sat still? It was coming OUT..Those are the times I remember the most when I need to recall. Which honestly isn’t often..I’ve no desire for it at all. I’m now the designated driver for LIFE. Because almost everyone else drinks! And some folks can handle it; my body and my being; can’t. And once a person realizes that its all gravy..And to the original poster? OUTSTANDING MESSAGE..2 thumbs UP. It really IS a beautiful LIFE

      1. Hi Berna! Thanks for the groovy comments. I am not even sure what part to highlight because they are all bang on. I look at alcohol as poison (oh wait, it is..lol) and all that vomiting and medical issues are the simple issue of me ingesting something in large amounts which I am not meant to. But the problem lies between my ears. No matter what my body is doing to revolt, my mind says MORE. that’s how I lived for 25 years. Thank God it’s not like that any more and I so happy to hear that it’s not on your radar any more too 🙂

        Blessings,
        Paul

        1. bernasvibe says:

          Naw been so long ago that can’t even see it in my rear view mirror anymore..Life IS pretty dang beautiful! And now I just love spreading the message to others of my life experiences..IF I can leap over & under hurdles ANYone can..If you ever meet a 50 yr old that says they’ve not been through some shiiiite ??? RUN because they are not real!

  8. Mrs D says:

    Sometimes I write in my blog ‘lovely wine’ or ‘beloved wine’ and I remember how much I loved it.. and when I describe a pull to drink as a ‘pang’ it smacks of a romantic longing. But it’s all bullshit and I am on to that shitty bullshit my addiction is trying to play on me. I did love love love drinking wine but it was all a fallacy and the longer I spend sober the more I see that the ‘love’ that I equated with wine drinking was actually a ‘love’ I have for happy contentment and fun. It’s true.. in fact as I write this comment it is really cementing this for me. Great stuff Paul, really thought provoking.. cheers xxxx

    1. Great comments, Mrs. D. Poignant stuff. You are right we transfer the real love of contentment / serenity / connection to the bottle and then add a romantic flair and then wonder why we miss it when we put it down. And yes, the addiction uses all the tricks in the book to get us back. Silly addiction. 🙂

      Thank you so much, Mrs. D, as usual.

      Paul

  9. Clare says:

    Gorgeous post. I’m 13 months sober and still facing the slippery slope. I’m bookmarking this for later.

    1. Hi Clare – so nice to see you here. I lurk on your blog, so it’s like I know you a bit (how’s the wee puppy? I have a dachshund too – short hair standard). Anyway, congrats on the 13 months. I felt like I was getting out of the haze around that time. Thanks for the comment 🙂

      Blessings,
      Paul

      1. Clare says:

        I’m honored, had no idea you read my blog. The puppy is good! Teething at the minute but he’s growing up to be a good doggy, lots of training. I want to see a pic of your doxie!

        1. Ha ha…yes I lurk 🙂
          And yes, I promise to throw a pic of the pooch sooner than later (I have been tempted to in the past!)

          Paul

  10. I don’t think I could say it any better than the comments ahead of me… what you wrote is beautiful, spot-on, and could be re-posted every day for the rest of time, because that is how often we in recovery need to hear it!

    1. Thanks Josie. That means a lot coming from you 🙂

      Paul

  11. Al K Hall says:

    The addiction works until it doesn’t. The thing that keeps me from romanticizing the drinking and that i hope i never forget is the remorse. The remorse the next day was more debilitating than any migraine to the point the only way to deal with it was drinking it away or a faster form of suicide.

    1. You are bang on about the remorse. Hell, if there were no ill feelings about the consequences, internal and external, I would probably still be drinking. I can remember the days where things were so bad that I just didn’t know how to get away from it. If I wasn’t a coward I would have taken the suicide route. But I knew deep down that it wasn’t meant for me. Luckily we got out of that, Al. Thank God. And thank you for being here, kind sir.

      Blessings,
      Paul

  12. gfnj says:

    Perfectly written. I also debate “how good were the good times?” within my head. Yeah there were a handful of goods and a freight train full of bads. I recently had a discussion over dinner with family members about the transition many young adults make from high school to college and the infamous drinking games many partake in order to have fun, be accepted, etc….the good times. Some have fun and walk away unscathed. Some pretend to have fun and walk away unscathed. Some get sucked into a lifetime of drinking and some unfortunately die young. As a father of young kids I have a little bit of time to keep my shit in order,figure out as much as I can and be a good influence for them when that time comes. Yet we all know, we all had to do what we did in order to be where we are now. As it relates to this post? It’s timeless. Fast forward to the future, kiddies, and read this post of yours.

    1. Absolutely true about the transition in college and universities…the hazing and the rituals of transition through the bottle. Hello, frosh? Sure some let loose and realize soon enough it’s not for them. And then that 10% or so? It’s paradise…and hell at the same time. I was certainly in that place, and to drink with impunity because everyone else was doing it? Genius. But fastforward 10-15 years and what am I doing? Still looking for that party. Still trying to hang on to what? The good times? What a waste!

      And as for the young kids – I am in the same boat as you. As fathers we certainly have that role in our lives to model ourselves for the wee ones. You and I have some work to do, of course, but glad to be here with you doing it 🙂

      thank you for stopping by – means a lot.

      Paul

  13. Hi Paul, thanks for sharing this-I’m not an alcoholic, but someone very close to me is and this makes me think of the hell that she went through to make it back to where she is now. Mostly I picture someone’s recovery as being a torturous withdrawal, but this is another interesting perspective on what people go through when they are trying to break the habit. Glad to know that ultimately you were not seduced by the glossy, doctored images of your past.

    1. Hi Nathan – I am so very glad you came by and made comments, considering you aren’t an alcoholic. But you make the point that you know someone who is one, and that’s the thing about this insidious illness – although about 10% of the population are alcoholics and/or addicts, those people affect a huge amount of others – family, friends, coworkers, employers, medical community, etc. It’s staggering! Ugh. What a wicked web we weave.

      Recovery at first may be difficult – just read the blogs out there from those who are struggling, or observe those in your community trying to kick these things and hell yeah – hard. But not impossible! And and long as there is breath, there is hope. We hold onto the glossy there, but it fades, and eventually cracks and shows itself for what it is – an illusion of grandeur.

      Thank you so much for being here – I hope that your friend is well. 🙂

      Blessings,
      Paul

  14. Well alcohol still works for us! Too bad you are not able to enjoy it with us anymore. I think a huge problem lays in the way the world sees people who love to drink. They treat us as outcast, so one may feel as outcast. Well not the Lords of the Drinks! We drink hard and heavy and don’t plan to quit that!
    Sure we are familiar with the problems alcohol can get you into, but it’s totally worth it! Don’t take our word for it? Try listening to these guys…

    http://lordsofthedrinks.wordpress.com/category/quotes-and-sayings/

    1. jrj1701 says:

      ya have the right to your beliefs,when reality punches you in the nose it seems that you know where to go.LQL what do they say “keep coming back”

      1. Yes sir… Sometimes you will get a huge slap in the face because of alcohol. The key is not to let that hold you down. When one door closes, another one opens! I see too many times that people want to quit drinking or slow down because other people tell them they have a problem… I say: if you like your life, who cares what they say? The modern standard by which alcoholism is measured is a joke!

        1. jrj1701 says:

          And what is that standard? It is easy to troll a recovery blog and slap folks in the face with your ideals of drink until you drop. If you don’t have a problem why bother those that do? Folks in recovery ain’t outcasting you, folks who are still hanging on to the temperance movement are outcasting you. I would believe that you would want respect for your beliefs. Then respect those who have come to realize that their life has become unmanageable because of their addiction to mind altering substances. If somebody in recovery is giving you a hard time tell’em to go talk to their sponsor and leave you alone.

          1. I think you actually have a point there… Wasn’t really trying to troll anyone. It’s just that aacording to modern alcohol tests almost every person has a serious problem with alcohol. I say if you can function with it, why not?!
            But you are right that when one’s life becomes unmanageable, it’s good to quit and I wish them all the best to stay off booze!

          2. jrj1701 says:

            Thank you for your understanding. Something I heard once [the “professional” never had a problem substance abuse counselor freaked out when I related where I heard it from] that if you wonder if you are an alcoholic go buy a fifth of your favorite hard booze and drink only one shot a day until the bottle is empty, if you succeed in drinking that single shot a day without drinking anymore than that one shot then odds are ya ain’t an alcoholic. One warning to ya though LOTD if you believe you might have a problem do not try to quit on your own cause alcohol addiction ain’t just a mental trip, it is physiological as well as psychological, and I know folks that died and that gets plenty serious. Take care and may God grant you His Peace+++

          3. Same to you! All the best!

    2. You know this is like blowing cigarette smoke into the face of someone battling lung cancer right? Or offering candy to a diabetic? Or lobster to someone deathly allergic to shellfish?

      Alcoholics cannot drink without ultimately fatal consequences.

      I’m all for a good joke, and maybe I’m overreacting, but this just seemed a little off-base. I’m happy for you that you can drink and enjoy it, but no need to rub salt in our wounds. We do that enough ourselves.

      ~ Christy

      1. Well my grandma died because of alcohol before I was born and my parents are worried as fuck that I will end up the same. So I think I’m quite aware of the damage alcohol can do.
        Still you don’t become an alcoholic over night. The key is to have interests and goals next to drinking in my opinion!

    3. Clare says:

      You are incredibly tone deaf.

      1. Whatever you say my dear!

    4. Hi lotd – I firstly wanted to say thanks for swinging by and commenting.

      You certainly have brought on a few responses to your comments. I actually don’t mind healthy discussion. A few years ago, I would have probably been a faithful follower of your blog. Hell, I probably would have been writing similar stuff. I was a homebrewer, and was also at the point of thinking about being a sommelier (I am a chef, so I am / was surrounded by wine and spirits). I had many good memories regarding alcohol (hence the catalyst for this post) but those eventually crumbled. Ask any alcoholic and they will have a very similar experience to mine here.

      Alcoholics love to talk recovery and alcoholism and we all have our takes on it, based on personal experiences and an overall immersion in recovery programs and being with others in different stages of alcoholism – from those who deny it to the newcomers to the old timers to those who relapse to those who eventually die. It’s a tragic thing and this illness (in 12-step recovery it is seen as an illness, but others see it differently) kills. And it’s rarely a peaceful death. Most alcoholic deaths are quite ugly.

      Having said that, we are not into getting into people’s faces about drinking, and as jrj1701 was saying, those folks have something else going on that needs looking at. I say hey, if you can do it, have fun. But there is a slippery slope for some of us, and some of us turn a corner that we can’t unturn. I hope that you don’t turn that corner – I wouldn’t wish alcoholism on anyone.

      I don’t see any inherent malice in your comments. I used to love having a good time with my fancy wines and cask-conditioned ales. But when this illness, so grave and deadly to us, is misunderstood, there is going to be passionate responses. I wish it were so easy as to have had a hobby or something to distract me from drinking, but that’s not how alcoholism works. At all. It’s not a moral weakness, or poor habit or anything so milquetoast as that. It’s a killer compulsion that destroys lives. It kills ambition and kills any sort of life that one may have had.

      So I wish you the best – I really hope that you don’t end up like your grandmother (sorry to hear). If you can balance it and have a happy healthy life, then rock on. But as Christy said, having a cavalier attitude toward alcoholism seem untoward. It’s like going to a Weight Watchers meetings and telling everyone about your Mandarin buffet meal and how they should probably just not eat so much and exercise more!

      Cheers,

      Paul

      1. Thanks for those kind words Paul! Wish you all the best too with your current lifestyle! The most important thing is that you feel good about your life and if you feel better now than before I’m sure you made a good choice by quitting the booze.
        All the best man!
        Micky

  15. awax1217 says:

    We all have some addiction. Mine was food. I wrote about it on my blog today. If you get chance give it a fast read. It almost killed me.

    1. Hi Barry – thank you so much for the comments. I can understand that there seems to be that one or more things that perhaps we do or have or whatever in unbalanced proportions to the rest of our lives. Are they addictions? Perhaps! I think what you wrote about your stroke and the unhealthy diet sounds like perhaps it is / was an addiction. My struggle has been sugar. Probably just as bad as the alcohol. Ugh. It sounds like things are much better for you. Thank God.

      Blessings,
      Paul

      1. awax1217 says:

        Sugar is a killer. I am amazed that we bring so much of it into our bodies and it travels like poison throughout. The body demands moderation. Anything extreme has its effect. Smoking, drinking, lack of sleep, to much stress and diet have to be held in a balance. I use to make fun of this fact, now I have to live with it.

  16. quickstepp says:

    Great post. My father is an alcoholic and I saw a lot of him in your examples. It’s all fun and games until it’s not fun or funny. He hit rock bottom after I left for college, but it nearly ripped his marriage and several relationships apart prior to his wake up. No amount of nostalgia or amusing boozy anecdote can make up for the loss caused by alcoholism.
    Lucky for me, my Mom, and my brother he did wake up. It’s amazing how a relationship can blossom and improve without the blurry haze of alcohol obstructing it. He was a good Dad in spite of his drinking. He’s a great Dad free of its negative hold.

    1. Hi Melissa – I loved these comments. I am so relieved to hear that your dad woke up as you called it. Amazing. So many of us tragically don’t make it. Horrible. And yes, drinking can rip apart lives. It almost did mine. Hospital visits, detox, arrest, lost jobs, strained marriage, etc. As you said so well – fun and games until it’s not fun or funny. And it ain’t funny after a while 🙂

      It *is* amazing how relationships can come back to life, and be better than they ever were before booze entered the picture. I am very happy for your dad and your family.

      Blessings,
      Paul

      P.S I am more an 80’s music dude, but I am there with ya on the 90’s. I have a jukebox in my head of 80’s and 90’s songs in my head at most times. Gotta check your mixes out a bit more in detail 🙂

  17. oddgeology says:

    My girlfriend always looks at me when I begin some of those stories about my rather wild youth and goes,”You miss it don’t you”?Absolutely,hell yes sometimes I do.But in the really real world,things like taking three day speed and booze binges to distant cities or doing cocaine off a stripper’s panty hamster can’t continue forever.There is a time and place to be young and foolish,but one day you wake up naked in a strangers bathroom,covered in frosting and go “What the hell am I doing with my life”?
    Personally,what kicked it in for me was having to drive back from a date gone bad, trashed on cocaine that had been cut with what I later found out to be heroin.I barely made it home alive,and didn’t come down until in the middle of work the next night.Whenever the twangy twitchy vibes of nostalgia start creeping trough my brain,I remember that 36 minute drive home, and they are no more.
    It’s only glossed over until you learn to rub the window clear.

    1. I love the imagery here (“panty hamster”, “rubbing the window clear”, etc)…what an awesome response. I am envious that it took you those 36 minutes to see that things weren’t cool with what you were doing. It took me 25 years. Blech. But you’d think that some of us would grow up. Most do. Some of us stay behind. And then a few of those have a full blown addiction and no matter how low we go (and we do get low at times, believe me), we have the delusion that we’re still in those fun times, those happy times. What a crock.

      I am so glad those days are done for you…and thank you for the comments. I really appreciate you being here.

      Love and light,
      Paul

  18. segmation says:

    Love the mix of pictures and words! Well said my friend!

    1. Thank you so much – I appreciate the comments 🙂

      Paul

  19. Kate says:

    Wow Super impressed with this post. This is so sincere, touching and well-written. You have graphically and eloquently described the truth of alcoholism. This is a post that I am sure I will come back and re-read. I wish I could make others in my life see the truth of what you have written here. Alcohol is so deceptive in nature – and so convincing. Thank you for speaking the truth of this. Alcohol is so glorified in our society – it is EVERYWHERE, always looking glamorous, beautiful, fun. They rarely show the side AFTER that. Such a farce. And I think the idea of romanticizing the past is something we all do, about lots of things – college, high school, that relationship, etc.

    Anywayy, thank you so much for writing. All the best and many prayers on your journey in sobriety! It’s the real-deal life.

    1. Hi Katie – I was laughing as I saw you discuss your love affair of Anne of Green Gables and realized I mentioned her in this post…crazy (I didn’t know the show was shot in my city!) Anyway, thank you for the very kind words. It’s very much appreciated and am grateful that they made a small impression. You are correct about alcohol being glorified. Oh boy is it. And when I stopped drinking one of the first things I realized was how much advertising there was out there for alcohol. Yikes. And the other side of things – you are right as well. (You may be interested in watching this commercial I posted in January: https://messageinabottleblog.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/the-other-side-of-the-story/)

      Deceptive – that’s a wonderful word for alcoholism. It will do anything to keep the “party” going. It pushes away everything and everyone to keep itself alive.

      Prayers to you as well, and I look forward to reading more over in your corner of the world 🙂

      Love and light,
      Paul

  20. honestly an amazing article

    1. Thank you so much. I am so happy you made it over to read it. Means a lot.

      Cheers,
      Paul

  21. cristyparkersmith says:

    I think when a person is truly ready to stop drinking they don’t look back and see the good times. I think the only thing you see are the things you lost. if you’re still in love with drinking you might as well keep doing it because you’re probably going to go back. That said, I don’t believe an alcoholic has truly recovered until they can sit at a bar and watch other people drink and not feel the smallest urge to do the same. As long as you have to avoid alcohol it’s still controlling some part of your mind. It’s still the big, bad wolf who has some sort of power over your life. And that isn’t recovery. That’s simply trading one weakness for another.

    1. I agree with your point of view here, Christy. Absolutely there has to be a point where I cannot be held hostage by alcohol and alcoholism. I was thinking about when I got my one year medallion – my wife and I went to a bar to have dinner before going to the meeting. I have been to many bars since being sober and like you mentioned, it does nothing for me. It’s like watching people smoke (I am not a smoker) – it is what it is. I don’t judge and frankly it’s not something I am interested in (any more). I know people with years of sobriety (or what is perceived as sobriety) who still can’t go near the liquor area of the store or who can’t go anywhere near a place where alcohol is sold. Having said that, I did have to keep away from alcohol for the first few months. Not safe. And today I don’t care. But I would have to check my motives if I am going to a bar every single time I go out for dinner. And while I wouldn’t consider my alcoholism as a “weakness”, it certainly did dominate my life and nearly destroyed it. Nice to be on the other side of it.

      Thanks for the coolio comments.

      Glad you checked this corner of the world out 🙂

      Paul

  22. Le Clown says:

    Paul,
    I did enjoy beer, the taste of beer, the effect of being drunk, cocaine melting and the numbing sensation in the back of my throat, like I did enjoy a day at the park with friends, sober, and living in the moment. But it was not being drunk or high that I enjoyed, but the time I spent with my friends. Drugs and alcohol were the icing. Came a time when I didn’t enjoy the cake anymore, but only the icing. Great if friends tagged along, as long as beer was at the rendez-vous. I do have fond memories of some late nights. Until the nights got longer, and they were suddenly mornings, and a long weekend. And they became a lifestyle. It wasn’t the back of my throat that cocaine was numbing. It was my life that I was anesthetizing. And there is little I will glorify during that very long part of my life.

    Great post, Paul.
    Le Clown

    1. “Drugs and alcohol were the icing. Came a time when I didn’t enjoy the cake anymore, but only the icing. ”

      After a while, I didn’t even like the icing (and it certainly didn’t like me), I only enjoyed how it made me feel. That changed after a while too, for better or for worse.

      Congrats on being Freshly Pressed, Paul. Remember how I said things invariably work out when we stop sweating the details, stats, etc.? This is very awesome.

      Very happy to see attention being devoted to such an important and widespread issue. Way to go, WordPress team. – Christy

      1. Awww, thank you Christy. Having you in my corner has been a huge difference in my recovery and how I look at things. You have been a great friend to me here. Yes…you were right about all those things, oh prophet 🙂

        Here’s to cake 🙂

        Paul

    2. Thank you, Le Clown, for being here and the comments.

      I think what you said about it being it great if friends came by or not, but the beer being front and center really struck home. I don’t recall any of my “friends” (drinking buddies, really) and I going anywhere or doing anything that didn’t involve alcohol. We never went for coffee. Unless one of us was trying to sober up before driving (well, we all know that coffee doesn’t sober anyone up – you just have a more wide-awake drunk!) So everything revolved around drinking, rather than just enjoying one another’s company. Eventually those friendships fizzled out to the point where we had nothing to say except the same crap, but as long as booze was there, it was tolerable. What a way to live. And eventually I didn’t need to buddies, as it was just easier and less cumbersome to drink alone. And like you mention, it becomes a lifestyle. And a messy, dark one at that.

      Thanks again for being here. Means a lot to me.

      Blessings,
      Paul

  23. domshorter says:

    Nice message brother.

    1. Thank you, kind sir 🙂

      Cheers,
      Paul

  24. jayantadeepa says:

    Life is beautiful and thank God you are sober to see it and write such a beautiful piece 🙂
    –Deepa

    1. Thank you so much, Deepa. I appreciate your comment here…I am touched that you would do so. It truly is a blessing to be sober and recovered and happy and blessed in this life, even if it took me some time to get here. I plan to continue living and exploring life in exciting ways…as you do (I loved the pics on your blog – made me hungry!)

      Blessings,
      Paul

      1. jayantadeepa says:

        🙂 You did? India has a whole lot of lip-smacking food. And yes, even writing about them makes your mouth water 😛

  25. This was so beautifully written, although I must admit I missed a few of the references (I need to brush up on American pop culture). Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks for the kind words. Yeah, I like to sprinkle the posts with some pop references – probably more so from the 70’s and 80’s…a little ways back…lol. Those were formative years for me, so the TV shows and music, etc. really stick with me. It’s maybe a bit too inside at times, but why not? Lightening things up sometimes helps me balance things out, so the posts aren’t so heavyweight.

      Anyway, thanks for being here. I enjoy the energy you have at your blog. Must remember to visit 🙂

      Blessings,
      Paul

  26. mynuttydubai says:

    What a great post – thank you for sharing this!

    I am not an alcoholic, nor do I know anyone who is/was. However, I recently realised a truth about myself and that is that I was drinking too heavily and it was making me become a pretty ugly person… I became extremely argumentative, would have complete loss of memory of entire nights, etc. It wasn’t nice. And when talking to a psychiatrist about other things, it dawned on me. And so I immediately introduced the STOP button to myself. Oh, and water. Lots of it. During and after a night of drinking.
    I haven’t stopped drinking, but I have learned that there is a limit to how much one actually *really* needs in a night, and I now stop myself when I reach that point. Luckily I am extremely stubborn and have that self-discipline to listen to me.

    Good luck for the rest of your journey 🙂

    1. Hi nutty,

      Boy am I glad that you have that STOP button. That’s pretty much the big difference between your drinking and mine, or any other alcoholic out there – we have no STOP button. Don’t know if we were born without one, or it just got stuck on GO. Regardless, once I put booze down my throat, it was game over. Game set and match…and alcoholism won out all the time. Oh I would get a round or two won in the boxing ring there, but overall…I was gonzo.

      Yeah, blacking out is not fun either. Horrible, in fact.

      I am very happy that you are able to stop when needed and take care of yourself…and think of the consequences. We old boozehounds never did that kind of “normal” stuff…lol.

      Anyway, thank you so much for swinging by and commenting – that is very kind. I hope to check out more of your pics over there from Dubai 🙂

      Blessings,
      Paul

      P.S I have to say that the pic of you with your dachshund…startled me because your pooch looks exactly like ours! I did a double take.

      1. mynuttydubai says:

        Ah, my little daksie! His name is Liquorice, because he’s long and sweet and black 😉
        And he lives in South Africa with my mom 😦 I miss him every day!
        They are wonderful little furry friends, aren’t they?! I hope your guy (or girl?!) brings you loads and loads of love!

  27. Nisha Joshi says:

    Great post and must say the blog too……..

    1. Thank you so much, Nisha. I am flattered 🙂

      Love and light,
      Paul

  28. brandonhutzell says:

    excellent post. If I’m “reading between the lines” correctly… your ability to overcome the temptation of alcohol is a direct result of romanticizing the correct things in life. When we “romanticize” the correct things in life, it is not an exaggerated romanticizing, but rather a romantic reality with the beauty and joy found in the gift of life itself, which requires not a numbing of reality through drunkenness, but a full awareness and experiencing of the difficulties and blessings which compliment each other in the “bittersweet symphony” of life. Wow, you’re writing is inspiring.

    1. Hi Brandon. I have to say “wow” at your thinking here. It was fantastic to watch. In other words, you were looking at it in a way I wasn’t – which doesn’t make it right or wrong – but just opened me up to thinking about this in a different light. And that’s a groovy thing.

      Man, I dig the idea of “romanticizing the right things in life”. While I don’t consciously do that in my recovery, I think that what I have done in my journey (and I can only speak for myself here, but anyone in 12-step recovery can perhaps identify) is take a psychic change as a result of a spiritual awakening. In other words, the problem isn’t the booze – that’s been my solution to life, but the problem is between my ears. So alcoholism will try all the tricks in the bag – like romanticizing the past, for one – to get back to the bottle. Cunning, baffling and powerful, as they say. But as you mention, there is a shift in perspective and once I adjust myself and learn to live life in a different manner, in line with spiritual principles, I no longer have the compulsion to drink. I don’t need it any more.

      Not sure if that makes sense…but regardless, you really dug deep here, and I for one appreciate this so very much.

      you have certainly inspired me 🙂

      Paul

      1. brandonhutzell says:

        It makes perfect sense Paul. You transparency and honesty in this post are obviously encouraging many others. KUDOS!

        The idea of “romanticizing the right things” surfaced from a habit changing technique I learned called the “art of replacement”. It is often inadequate for someone kicking a habit to focus only on “not drinking” or “not ________”, Success comes not in kicking the habit, but replacing it with a better one. Like a cup full of beer… say you dump it all out… the cup is empty. You are the cup. An empty cup, without new desires goes back to what numbs the emptiness… beer. Now lets say you purposely choose a new habit and begin pouring clean water into the cup… the cup overflows, is always full, and over a period of time, with the constant pouring of the water, the beer is diluted and eventually reaches a point of 0% alcohol in the pure clean water inside the cup. The cup is you. The question is what is the water for you? For me…

        Jesus said in John 4:10, “if you ask me, I will give you living water.”

        1. jrj1701 says:

          You make a good case. I have heard an analogy comparing a person to a stick. Half of that stick is good and pleasing, the other half is bad and ugly. So most decide to remove the unpleasant aspects of this stick only to realize that the stick is getting smaller and smaller. Yet when the good and pleasing part of the stick is focused on and nurtured then the stick begins to grow and the “bad” part of the stick appears to shrink, yet the stick itself is growing. In a way what is presented in this post is how this analogy can be turned inside out for the bad, so it is a matter of focus. Brandon I can’t help but reply to your Scripture quote with one of my own, Luke 10:42 and it seems you have done the same.

          1. brandonhutzell says:

            The beauty of blogging and commenting is found right here, as these thoughts compliment and complete each other for the good of everyone involved. Thanks for sharing, and thankful to be a part.

          2. I couldn’t have said it any better, Brandon. It’s been my absolute pleasure reading and learning from these little discussions here. Keeping a teachable mind is important for me – and nice to see other folks doing likewise. It’s a win-win situation. Thanks again for the insightful and poignant comments.

          3. jrj1701 says:

            Thanks and Amin+++

  29. Warm Southern Breeze says:

    Like another reader, I got a kick out of the Batman on an elephant photo. That was cornball weird.

    Your line “Alcoholism fights for it’s life” was the eye-catcher, thought-stopper for me, however. I never thought about alcoholism or addiction as having a “life” of it’s own.

    Me? I’m neither addict nor alcoholic. I’m one of those “take it or leave it” folks you mentioned. However, alcoholism has touched my life through relatives and friends. And personally, I have made some study of the 12 Steps, and incorporated various aspects if them into my own spiritual life.

    You have a wonderfully colourful writing style. Keep up the good work on sobriety, and sharing the message of hope!

    1. HI Breeze,

      Yeah, I enjoy the cornball weird pics. They speak to me…perhaps a bit of me in there?

      I am very glad that you’re a “take it or leave it” folks! It’s a wonderful thing to be in balance and not have an addiction that wants you dead. Ugh, what a life. But you have seen what it does with those who are afflicted with it in your life. It’s not easy to stand back and watch someone drink themselves to a slow death.

      As for the 12 steps incorporated into your life, that’s a beautiful thing. I have had it mentioned to me by non-alcoholics who I have explained the steps to them that everyone should do them, or at least explore parts of it in their own path. And you’re the first person I have run into who has done that. Bravo. Our spiritual paths are different, but it’s the path that has been carved for us. The steps have brought me a serenity and connection to God that I have craved my whole life…so who needs booze?

      Thanks for the kind words and for being here. I really appreciate it 🙂

      Blessings,
      Paul

  30. jrj1701 says:

    Good post, I am struggling with some of the same things just in different areas. One line from a song that I like to remember when dealing with romanticizing the past is “the good ole days weren’t always good and tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems”. One thing I would like to add is that denial is a vicious bitch. Take care and keep it clean.

    1. Hi jrj1701 – thank you so much for these comments and the ones further up. You certainly understand addiction / illness. And I am sorry to hear that you are struggling with some of the same, but in different areas of your life. I am kind of the same with sugar (something that I go in and out of – currently on Day 5 no sugar), but nothing horrifically serious. (although sugar is a poison too). And yup, denial is a crusty one, and devious.

      Thank you for being here – you have added so much to this post and to the discussion here.

      Blessings,
      Paul

  31. Thank you for sharing your experience, strength and hope. You have done a great job of exposing the romantic illusion that makes it possible to justify any behavior, thought or action with respect to alcohol.

    1. Thank you Allan. I am flattered by your comments. Experience, strength and hope…what it was like then, what happened, and what it’s like now. That’s pretty much how I learned to share in the rooms, and do my best to keep that here in the blog. It’s been by being in the fellowship and talking to and listening to men and women who have been on the path ahead that I have understood what it is like to be an active and participating member of life. I love to carry the message, as it was carried to me. That’s what we do – one alcoholic helping another.

      And you’re right – we can absolutely justify anything with respects to alcohol. I did that for 25 years. I think my bottoms were just stronger and sicker manifestations of the twisted rationalization to drink…even when I didn’t want to. And of course the idea that I can find that window of getting back into my own skin, of finding the sweet spot where I am out of self…well, those days are long gone. And yet I still tried. That’s the insanity!

      Thank you for being here. And there.

      Blessings,
      Paul

  32. White Pearl says:

    A great post indeed ! Love it 🙂 xx

    1. Thank you so much, White Pearl – that is very kind of you. 🙂

      Blessings,
      Paul

  33. PDF Burger says:

    I am trying to think of something witty to say, then I asked myself what do I know about being alcoholic and my mind went blank. I am certain that I feel lucky that I am not an alcoholic because you said it yourself, you couldn’t recapture those fun times again and i always want to remember the good ol’ days. I want to thank you because I am actually glad that I was able to read a post and somehow meet a person that is trying to become sober.

    1. I am glad that you’ve dodged the bullet of alcoholism, PDF Burger! And no need to be witty or put on a show. Honesty rules the roost here, and you’ve fit in perfectly. And as for trying to be sober…well that struggle is long gone and done. I *am* sober and loving it. It’s been over two years since my last drink and it feels like a completely different life to me.

      There is nothing wrong with looking back at the good ol days when they really are good ol days. Sure I had a few good ones…hell I had some good runs in the past, but they dissipate slowly and the ugly times start to out number the good. And yet I would still chase those elusive ones down and things would get worse. That’s the alcoholism / addiction.

      Thank you for your comments – wonderful to hear from you.

      Cheers,
      Paul

  34. One day at a time my friend…one day at a time!

    1. One day is how it goes, Joseph! And early in my recovery it was sometimes one hour at a time. Oh I am so glad I don’t have to watch the clock any more. I have complete and total freedom from the mental obsession to drink. It’s a beautiful thing. Sounds like you’ve been on the path…thank you for being here and your support. It means a lot, kind sir.

      Love and light,
      Paul

  35. I’m not an alcoholic (never really developed a taste for it) but I used to date one. I remember the extravagant and exaggerated excuses for his morning love affair with the toilet bowl; the alleged ‘dodgy’ kebab (that he ate three days earlier); the kitchen cleaning frenzy before cooking to stave off ‘food poisoning’ (remarkably unsuccessful). I remember the long romantic walks through the snow in the moonlight when no cab would pick him up; the ruined social occasions as, drink flowing, he would flirt with anyone and anything in a skirt (and I do mean anything – there was even a memorable conversation with a frilly-skirted chair at a party once). He loved socialising and could talk about anything to anyone (usually with a total disregard for the opinion of the other person, any verifiable facts or actual knowledge relating to the topic). The man could bullshit for England. I loved him sober; admired his loquacity after the first two drinks; could even handle him tipsy; but I hated him drunk and belligerent, and hungover he was worse than intolerable. It was hair of the dog, or better leave him to it. When it came to his spending money earmarked for other things (bills) on home-brewing equipment as an investment toward mass producing the cheapest possible pint for his own personal consumption, the fantasy that he would grow out of his no longer age-appropriate irresponsible streak finally died as I realised his priority would always be the next drink. It was nothing personal, I just didn’t hold the same appeal for him as a cool glass of bitter.

    1. Hi Katherine,

      First of all I wanted to thank you for your sharing your story with me and everyone here. I was nodding throughout your comments, relating to much of what your old boyfriend went through. I too was a homebrewer. I too had lots of reasons why I was feeling “off”. I too chased that loquacity and gregariousness after the first few drinks. Lots of us alcoholics could relate. And in our selfishness and self-centeredness, we rarely think about how it’s affecting our loved ones and friends. We are so caught up in ourselves and our *issues* (lol) that we fail to see the damage we leave in our wake. And you have experienced this. I am glad that you left him to his own devices. And I don’t say that lightly. Alcoholics need to see the consequences of their drinking, as that brings on more pain. Pain and demoralization brought me to my knees and that is where change started. The pain of losing so much – family, jobs, money, health, etc. is where I and others start to see how much alcoholism has taken over and is about to kill us.

      I can’t imagine being on the other side of the fence. I am blessed that my wife stuck through it so much. I don’t know if I would have had the patience and understanding that she had. But again, there was much loss before things turned up. The good news is that there is always hope – where there is breath, there is hope!

      Thank you for being here and adding to this discussion. You have done us all a great service 🙂

      Good luck with the writing – seems like you’re doing quite well for yourself in that regard 🙂

      Blessings,
      Paul

  36. Congrats on being freshly pressed, Pauly. Finally, WordPress figured out what folks like us have known for a while now. You write some gooood shit, man. Bask in the glory, my friend. You so deserve it. Love, Marius

    1. Marius – thank you so much for being here. Wouldn’t be a proper shindig without you checking ID’s out front and also topping up the Doritos. Oh, and being a shining light of recovery and writing prowess. Thanks for the kind ones, my brother. I am certainly humbled by the number of footprints coming through the door here, and don’t take that for granted. It’s a blessing, and what is more important is having dear friends like you here with me. I win.

      Hugs,
      Paul

  37. love reading this article.. thanks..

    1. Thank you for reading. I appreciate the feedback too – that’s very kind of you 🙂

      Cheers,
      Paul

  38. Fay says:

    I found this post on Freshly Pressed and all I can say is wow. Such a great post. So firstly congrats on the FP! 😀

    What you are saying is true of most addiction which is sad as that is how the addiction starts as you are constantly trying to find that great feeling that you had before but taking it one step further to feel.

    Once again – great post 😀

    1. Aw thank you , Fay. I am flattered by your kind words. It’s very nice to hear these encouraging words.

      Yeah, the idea that we can go back to the days when alcohol (or whatever else it may be – drugs, gambling, sex, food, etc) worked for us and have it clearly not work for us is something that is maddening about alcoholism / addiction. The key in overcoming the need for chasing that high (or low, really), is finding peace and serenity and contentment in life without the need for any artificial means. My connection to the Creator and a program of recovery were what changed things for me. I no longer needed to run and hide from life…or myself. I was my greatest enemy, and alcohol was the solution to me, if that makes sense. Getting out of our skins is what alcoholics and addicts do. We escape, we suppress, we avoid, we self-medicate. And then eventually the alcohol takes over and the consequences that go with it. Ugh – ugly stuff indeed.

      Anyway, thanks again for the lovely words. I am glad you made it here 🙂

      Blessings,
      Paul

  39. Yes, life is beautiful – and so is this post. Addiction – and loving addicts – runs like a thread through my life. Sadly, my husband never made it through those shadows so I read your good story with an ache because unlike you, he never found the way.

    1. HI Tricia – thank you so much for your touching bittersweet comments. Ugh, I hate hearing about someone who hasn’t found their way. It’s sad and tragic and I realize how much I HATE this illness. I despise it. Not only does it take us too soon – wonderful, loving, intelligent people – it leaves a wake of destruction and tears behind us. And that happens even to those of us who have made it (made it for today that is. Alcoholism is a subtle foe…cunning, baffling, powerful) I am so sorry to hear about your husband. I can’t imagine how it was for you. I have been your husband though. And it’s something I don’t wish on anyone else. The only thing I can say about my 25 years of bottle dancing is that it has helped me and helped others in seeing life as a beautiful and blessed thing. My pain and suffering (and those I put onto others) has found a way to be of help to others. So that is how I see things. It’s sort of been the “prep work” for where I am meant to be today. And today I am grateful to be here and present and listening to stories like yours and realizing how destructive this illness it.

      Thank you for sharing. 🙂

      Blessings, Tricia.

      Paul

  40. HA!!! AND you were THININ OF SHUTTING IT DOWN????…..I’m SO HAPPY and *CONGRATS* for being picked for *FRESHLY PRESSED*!!!….and of course….another Fantastic post….GOOD FOR YOU PAUL!!….*Catherine* The Ghost of Gamblers Past*!!

    1. Hey Catherine…ha ha..funny how these things work out. Thank you for the kind words…as usual! You’re a wonderful friend 🙂

      Paul

  41. I love this post. So powerful – and just everything I would like to say to so many people myself. I quit drinking almost 1 year ago. I wanted to be a non-drinker before I was 50. I made so many bad choices while I was a drinker. The hardest thing is that you no longer can “hang” with your old friends – it just does not work.. However – this is a small price to pay because now at the age of almost 50 – I Live. For the first time in 30 years – I am myself! I am so happy to be alive and discovering how wonderful my life is – Sober! I hope you do not mind but I will be sharing this post with a lot of people!

    1. That’s so wonderful! Congrats on one year of sobriety and your new found freedom. Enjoy every minute of it! ~ Christy

    2. Thank you so much for the wonderful words…and yes! Congrats on the one year of sobriety!! I think I can say that most of us made poor choices when we drank…oh dear I can think of so many occasions…lol. And you’re right, sobriety does come with a price tag, and that’s fine, because the other side of it is, for this guy, a slow or not so slow death. Dramatic, but true in my case.

      I am so glad we crossed paths. And yes, please feel free to share.

      Blessings,
      Paul

  42. thepensivecartographer says:

    Kudos on being Freshly Pressed, and thanks for a great post. An astringent and forcefully eloquent bash at the eternal human propensity to lie to ourselves, filtered through the haze of alcoholism. I’ll keep your thoughts in mind.

    1. I love your elegant response…and the generous spirit in it. Thank you for you kindness. I wish there was somewhere I could see some of your writing.

      Paul

      1. thepensivecartographer says:

        You can read more of my ramblings at The Free Speech Fight: http://thefreespeechfight.wordpress.com/
        I haven’t put a lot of stuff up so far, but you’re welcome to browse through what there is. And thank you for caring enough to speak up, too. That’s a rare quality in today’s world.

  43. Lilly says:

    I’m so glad Christy mentioned the Freshly Pressed award so I came back here again and saw all these great comments. So great to see you getting the kudos and recognition you deserve for all your wonderful writing about addiction and recovery. Go Paul! xx

    1. Thanks Lilly! Glad you swung on over. Means a lot to me 🙂

      Hugs,
      Paul

  44. I come from the other side of the coin and love, love, love to see honesty on this topic (along with colorful adjectives, and great metaphors) that help me understand the process of recovery for an addict. Good stuff. Thank you for sharing!
    Kenz
    http://www.divorcingaddiction.wordpress.com

    1. Thank you for this. I have run across a few of those on the other side of things. Not as often as I would like, but this is one of those times. I have read and heard those who lived with and/or loved an addict and/or alcoholic, and it’s heartbreaking at times. We don’t know how much wreckage we cause until the hurricane of our addiction has stopped. Looking back, we bash a lot of lives. We don’t just hurt ourselves, as we claim. It’s ugly. But people move through it and it’s not just the addict that heals. I look forward to reading your journey.

      Thank you for your comments and your link 🙂

      Blessings,
      Paul

  45. Grant says:

    Brilliant read, great pictures! Thanks!

    1. Thanks Grant! Very kind of you to post your comments.

      Have a wonderful day 🙂

      Paul

  46. You “liked” a post on my blog so I decided to click on over and see what you have going on. WHOA!!!! I have only read this post so far, but it completely blew my mind. You are a very talented writer.

    When I started my blog it was not only a form of therapy and a way to connect to the sober blogging community, but I also want to become a better writer. What a great way to practice! Not only did this post describe a lot of the feelings I am having on my day 10 of sobriety, you are able to describe in crystal clear (almost shocking) detail exactly how the evil of alcohol affects alcoholics.

    Besides continuing to work on my blog, and my sobriety, I have a lot of catching up to do reading all these other fantastic blogs. Yours has certainly caught my attention!!!

    1. Thank you Brandy (assuming that’s your name…lol)

      I just left a message on your blog about this awesome bogging community we have here – I think you’re probably just scratching the surface. So many fantastic people and blogs out there – you will find those who speak your language and tell your story. Friendships are forged and bonds created. You are now a part of this, and your story will help someone else out there who is lurking and wondering if they need to stop drinking.

      Be bold and brave in your writing – and just be yourself 🙂

      thanks for the comments.

      Paul

  47. Matt says:

    Reading this post it really made sense to me why it took me so long to stop drinking. My wife would say we were growing apart and I would say that she was just not as fun as she used to be. Not a great thing to say, but it seemed that way when to me fun was ploughing through x+1 beers on a Friday night at home, by myself, before inevitably listening to old sad songs and waking up with a hangover. I’ve only been off the booze for a little over a month but I’m running, playing guitar again, have so much more energy and wake up ready for the weekend after a quiet Friday night. The romanticism raises its head often, but I have to remember that just one beer becomes ten quickly, and then I lose count and regret my stupidity. Thanks for this post. It really resonates.

    1. Hi Matt

      Thank you for sharing. I am really excited for you in this early sobriety. Congrats on a month! I think what you are saying resonates with so many of us – one drink it too many, 1000 isn’t enough. And this affects everything eventually – my marriage was a big one for sure. Lots of arguments and such, all which when boiled down, came down to my alcoholic life and way of thinking. And certainly now I have so many more things on the go. Since I wrote that post, I too run now and it’s becoming an important part of my life. My wife and I never raise our voices any more and things are always improving. Doesn’t mean that shitty days don’t loom. They do, but we now have a better and healthier way of responding. Alcohol is no longer a coping mechanism.

      Thanks for being here, Matt, and thank you for your comments. I hope you stick around 🙂

      Paul

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