|Chicago Peace Rose|
He was 51 years old when he got sober. A neighbor suggested to him that his drinking would ruin his relationship with his son, and he went immediately into treatment. And has been sober since. He still had a great career, great home, etc., etc.....
When I drank I never knew what would happen. I might have a great time, but more likely I would get "too" drunk and make an ass of myself. I would make passes at my friends' husbands, or the friends, co-workers or boss of my husband. I would fall down and ruin my clothes, rip my stockings, and embarrass others (myself? not so much). When I was 20 years old, I got drunk at a Christmas party at my boss' house in very elegant Winnetka, Illinois. The evening ended with me making snow angels on his lawn, and being unable to get up. The next morning I got up and found my shoes all tangled up inside my panty hose, which were all in front of the refrigerator. I went to work the next day having no idea that I had just pissed off nearly everyone I worked with. I would spend days in bed after days of heavy drinking. I could not get up to take care of my children. I drank every day as well as the occasional binge.
My life continued to spin out of control. Years of drunken stupidity. Being ashamed. Wanting to quit, being unable to. When I was 32 years old, I was absolutely at the end of my rope. I was a dying alcoholic. I didn't know what was really wrong with me, I just knew I was suicidally depressed, and I drank too much. Thank God I got to AA and was able to get sober and stay that way. I wasn't looking a gift horse in the mouth because I was desperate. I followed directions and did exactly what you all told me to do. And I stayed sober.
He got sober in a treatment center and followed the aftercare plan to go to AA. He goes every now and then. His sponsor died last year and he never ever mentioned getting another one. He does not sponsor anyone and refuses to. I honestly think that might be working for him. I am not sure because I saw some crappy behavior, but it isn't like I never display crappy behavior. I am not one to call someone a dry drunk, I think it is a silly pejorative term that is ridiculous if you are the kind of drunk I am. Any kind of sober is good. A miracle really.
I have thought a lot about how different our AA experiences might be. I was desperate. I don't know what he was. I don't know how you stay sober if you have such pleasant memories of drinking. Why would you quit? If I thought I could drink like a normal person, I would probably drink - like a pig - oh, and then I guess I wouldn't be a normal person.
I have done just a teense of research on "types of alcoholism." Of course, there are articles about this. One I found particularly interesting is on Web MD and describes 5 types of alcoholics:
- Young adult subtype - 32% of alcoholics, they don't seek help (I wonder what happens to them, do they all die and never become older adults who still drink?)
- Young antisocial subtype - 21%. Many of them have Antisocial Personality Disorder, they also smoke cigarettes and pot. (again - what happens to them?)
- Functional subtype - 10% They drink approximately every other day and suffer no real effects of the "alcoholism" in their lives.
- Intermediate familial subtype 19% - 1/2 have close relatives who are alcoholic. (What about the other half?)
- Chronic severe subtype 9% - mostly men, highest divorce rate, frequently include illicit drugs (did they just wake up one day and decide to be middle aged men who drink like fish?)
There are other articles that suggest that alcoholism is a continuum starting with having a few drinks, which, if you are not careful, can turn into full blown alcoholism.
I don't know where I would be in any of these descriptions. I drank alcoholically from the first sip of booze at the age of 14. I found my answer to life! It was magical! Almost every alcoholic I know has just about the same experience. They never really drank normally, although they may have been able to hide it for years. From the first drop of alcohol I drank, I found my solution, and that was a problem!
Our culture doesn't want anyone to drink (law enforcement and medical professionals). And then it wants to push booze down your throat at every moment (social norms and advertising). It is very confusing.
But what I am wondering about specifically - the AA critics, are they people who can't buy the "desperation" feature of AA? If you enjoyed drinking, how desperate would you be? AA stresses reaching a bottom, although no one would ever endeavor to define someone else's bottom. They're all different. They type of bottom I have learned to be particularly suspicious of (after working with alcoholics for over 27 years) is the external bottom. A DUI, an angry wife, sad eyed kids, whatever. The kind of bottom I have learned to listen to is the waking up in the middle of night - or even morning, with a self-disgust so deep it is unbearable. And that causes desperation and willingness.
I believe those two things are absolutely essential to recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous. That is not really appealing to someone who still has some of what I call "other ideas." And that is fine, I think they should do all they can to drink normally or quit on their own. But if you are desperate enough to submit to the ego deflation, confession, restitution, helpfulness to others, and necessity of belief in and dependence upon God that is the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, you will find recovery and a new life.
That's what I am thinking about. What do you all think?
If you don't need a new life, I would imagine it would be pretty difficult to submit to the program.