Thursday, January 21, 2016
A friend of mine showed me this. It is titled "Memories of Alcohol."
"I drank for happiness and became unhappy. I drank for joy and became miserable. I drank for sociability and became argumentative. I drank for sophistication and became obnoxious. I drank for friendship and made enemies. I drank for strength and felt weak. I drank for relaxation and got the shakes. I drank for courage and became afraid. I drank for confidence and became doubtful. I drank to make conversation easier and slurred my speech. I drank to feel heavenly and ended up feeling like hell." —Anonymous
There are a good many program sayings, writings such as that above, that strike so true to an addict, that thing we call "identification" happens. What is identification? It's that feeling that comes up from your gut and meets that realization in your brain that says, "Oh, yeah. Me too."
A shorter version of the above goes like this: "Alcohol gave me wings, then it took away the sky."
So what does this have to do with drug addiction? From my book, Saint Mary Blue:
There was the lecture last evening after that inedible dinner. Jacob hadn't been paying very close attention. He had been sitting on the new fish row, the back. Something the lecturer had said stuck.
"The most prominent symptom is that it's the disease that tells you that you haven't got it."
Someone from the front. "You mean alcoholism?"
"What about drug addiction?"
"Are you one of those curious persons who believes that ethanol isn't a drug?"
"I know it's a drug, but aren't the diseases different? Isn't alcoholism different than drug addiction?"
"The difference between drugs and alcohol: it's like changing seats on the Titanic."
Jacob had laughed. It was a good line.
Alcohol is a drug, and an alcoholic is a drug addict addicted to the drug ethanol. Deluding yourself that doing without alcohol and continuing to use other drugs is all you need to do to be "sober" is the kind of snobbery that can kill you.