Why am I an alcoholic?


Today, I had an interesting conversation with a friend who is a recovering alcoholic.  We visited about his involvement in alcoholics anonymous, and the life principals he had learned from participating in their program.  I don’t know that I will do an adequate job in portraying what he taught me, but here is my attempt.

There are three things which are common to people who fall into some type of substance abuse: 1) They see the glass half full, 2) Their entire being will feel the weight of a single difficult issue, and 3) They never feel they are wrong.

  1. They see the glass half full: What instigated our conversation was the two of us visiting about his up coming trip with his daughters.  He is going to a foreign country, his daughter’s are adopted having a different ethnic background, and he has a different address then theirs on his passport.  He said to me, I am really quite anxious about our trip.  You are—Why?  I can see myself getting to some check point with my daughter’s and all the authorities will see is an older American male with two young women saying he is traveling with his daughter’s.  They will then say, “Yah right!” pull me aside and make me prove that they are mine.  I told him that isn’t even anything I would have ever thought of…  He said that he has not only thought about it, he has worried about it, and has prepared for it as well.  Then he said, It is a part of his personality that has affected him enough for alcohol abuse to be a deterrent from the frustration he feels.  He said his wife is completely the opposite, often laughing at the fact he has even conjured up this kind of story.  He suggested to me that everything in his life is like this, and in fact, he has difficulty seeing the positive even knowing it is there.  AA is teaching him to realize simple things such as noticing that there is far more good that can happen than bad, and that this will become effortless as his eyes are opened to this life principal.  He has been blown away at how this simple life lesson has brightened his outlook.  He now understands that much of what he had felt, he brought on himself.  Let us all remember we become what we think…
  2. Their entire being will feel the weight of a single difficult issue:  This part of our discussion was most revealing to me.  My friend said, Jaren, this may seem bizarre to you, but we can’t see beyond one simple frustration, let down, or a self-imposed feeling of doom generally placed on something which isn’t even relative to life.  Let me give you an example.  I bought a stock the other day that I had anticipated would go up in value relatively fast.  It didn’t, in fact, the stock value fell.  This single stock moving in the opposite direction than I had anticipated placed a dark cloud over my entire being.  What is funny, is that this stock is only one of many stocks I own.  Most of my stocks were doing exceptionally well, however, all I could think about was the single stock!  Wow, I couldn’t even believe that!  He went on to say his life was like this with other small life events.  Each of them clouding what is really a good life with feelings of depression from something thought to be so significant when in reality it isn’t.  AA is teaching him to concentrate on what is going well, realizing they clearly outweigh the negative.  He is beginning to see this, and now when the “dark cloud” begins to appear over his entire life, he simply focuses on “what is going well.”  He is now blown away at how by simply changing perspective you lighten your load, realize abundance, and fill your heart with joy.  Let us all remember to concentrate on what we have…
  3. They never feel they are wrong: Shocking at first, but after listening to my friend this trait became clear to me.  He suggested, Jaren, when you are doing something wrong, you don’t want to feel as if it is your fault.  It feels better to push these feelings onto another, relieving the guilt or embarrassment.  He shared with me examples of when alcoholics share in their groups why they drink:  Some will say, if you were married to my wife you would drink too.  Others, if you had the job I do you would drink too.  And, even some, if you could live my life you would drink too.  Let us all remember as we take responsibility for our actions; we can correct them.

Lastly, and perhaps most important.  My friend suggested that if you only remove from your life that thing you are doing to relieve the frustration; you still have the frustration!  To truly recover, to realize what really makes us happy, to find self-satisfaction in life; we simply need to alter ever so slightly our point of view, believe in ourselves, and take responsibility…


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