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Numb

Sitting around chatting with some fellow sober friends, I broached the subject of, “Alcoholism; Why?”

My time as an imbibing addict was sordid and surreal. After a decade and a half of sobriety, I now know why I consciously chose to do damage to a fifth of cheap whiskey on a rainy Tuesday night, many years ago. Oh, my emotions were spinning out of control, my marriage was shaky and my days were full of self-loathing. I really, truly, believed that I was at the bottom of my proverbial barrel.

“I’m going to get stinkin’ DRUNK,” I decided. “I may even stay drunk.” I concluded. ‘Be careful of what you wish for,’ was staring me in the face. Drunk I stayed. And all the typical consequences played themselves out. Marriage; broken. Home; lost. Child; in ex’s custody. Finances; shot. I even lost my canine pal. ALCOHOLIC became my moniker and my middle name. Yes, I was a Mess with a capital M, underlined and starred.

“I never chose to be an alcoholic. I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy,” stated Paul. “I think that peer pressure had a lot to do with it.”

“I have a genetic component going on,” explained Rose. “Seven family members are addicts.”

“I don’t think it’s that simple,” I said. “I believe that we all have a load of conflicts that play a part in our alcoholism. Speaking for myself, I’ll share that I had psychological issues, anxiety and depression. I had several medical problems with migraine headaches leading the pack. Yes to genetics and familial influence. Being bullied rounds out my story.” Pausing to collect my thoughts, I continued, “I recall hearing at an AA meeting that, ‘You’re only as sick as your secrets,’ and that was a necessary slap in my face. You see, I had hidden a molestation from the world for some 40 years.”

“I have been working on that horror with a therapist, yet I still can’t speak freely about it. It is my dirty laundry that I’m not comfortable having others see much of.”

Rose stood and came to hug me. Paul looked down at his feet and his right knee bobbed with tension. There, my secret was out amongst friends as my counsellor had suggested. However, I wasn’t going into any details. I used my sense of humor to change the subject and quipped, “An alcoholic walked into a bar and read a sign that said, ‘All you can drink for $10.00.’ The alcoholic said “I’ll have $20.00 worth please.””

And so, the cat has come out of the bag…

I feel numb.

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