I’ve never liked you. You know that. My relationship with you started when I was quite young, and you took my grandfather and then my father away from me. My grandfather you took from liver cirrhosis, and my father was diabetes complications, but we all knew it was from the drinking. He would even sneak cough syrup and Nyquil when mom would hide you from him, knowing you hid lurking in those bottles too. I remember, as young as three years old, watching him swig back from the green and red thick liquid.
I tasted you back then, but you were so nasty, I never understood why he felt like he did about you. But he loved you. Oh, how he loved you. He loved you more than he loved me, more than he loved mom, more than he loved anything. And we paid that price. We paid for every sip of you he took, and you just sat there, taunting us, teasing him, making him love you more and more. You knew he was married, had a kid and he needed to be responsible for his family, Alcohol, but you took him away from us, night after night, as he sought your solace in bar after bar.
But there was no solace, was there? You only left him wanting more and more.
Then it was my turn.
You came to tease me once the first time when I was fourteen years old. I was just a baby. Alcohol, you knew the hold you had on my family. I’m only just now learning that you’re a disease that I didn’t even know I could get. I’m only just now learning that everything you’ve done is something I should have known you would do.
But when you came to tease me, “Drink me… come on, just one little drink… it made your dad feel better… I can make you feel better too…” I listened. I drank. I drank you in and I liked the burn of you. Alcohol, the feel of you, sliding down my throat, was riveting. It was warming and cool at the same time. You slid down into my belly, numbed me, and it was a comfortable numb. It was a numbness that felt good, because it didn’t feel.
I understood instantly what my father and grandfather had seen in you. I instantly desired you with the same intensity they had. But the truth is, I knew you were dangerous. I did try to avoid you. I really did. But you kept calling me. Everywhere I looked, there you were. My mother kept all of my father’s bottles in the house. Why did she do that?
Oh, Alcohol, I convinced myself I could control you, but you know from the beginning you controlled me completely. Just a little out of the bottle. Add a little water to it. Add a little bit more. She’ll never know. Shoot, mom’s so distraught, let’s just take a whole bottle. I’ll replace you later, Alcohol.
Our love/hate affair has lasted over twenty years, and there’s not a day I don’t fight you, Alcohol. You’ve survived my relationships through two husbands, two children who still barely speak to me, and two other relationships with boozers who are good-time lovers, but are just as addicted to you as I have been.
You took my job, then you took my car. You took my freedom for six months when I slammed said car into a brick wall.
Alcohol, I only thank you for letting it be a brick wall and not the life of someone loved and cherished by someone else. The next time, and I always fear there will be a next time with you, Alcohol, I fear I won’t be so lucky.
Sure, I take responsibility for drinking you, Alcohol, but once I start drinking, I lose who I am, and everything I promise myself I will never do again, I do. I don’t want to do these things. I don’t want to want you. I don’t want to need you. I don’t want to pick you up, Alcohol. I just don’t.
And I can’t tell you why I do it.
So I go to the meetings to break my dependency on you. I talk with people who have successfully rid themselves of you. But every time, I take you with me, like I’m carrying you around on my shoulder. You still taunt and tease me.
And still I can smell you, taste you, feel you… just as surely as I can remember a lover’s caress on my skin. Just as surely as I can feel the sunshine on my face on a hot summer’s day. I know your burn. I know your feeling. I know your warmth. I know your comfortable numbness, and I crave you. I crave you with an intensity that is unlike any I’ve ever had.
And I hate you for it, Alcohol. I despise and hate you for it.
But I forgive you. You don’t mean to taunt me, Alcohol. I know you’re not the real problem, but just the symptom of it.
So, Alcohol, my prayers:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
One day at a time, Alcohol. One day at a time and I will rid you from my life.
Nine Months Sober