Notes on Being a Recovering Alcoholic
Notes on Being a Recovering Alcoholic
I am a recovering alcoholic and I always will be, thank God. And I say thank God about the “recovering “part. I could simply be an alcoholic without the right to proclaim recovering first. There were some pretty rough moments in my life. There still are but they just do not involve booze. If I was still drinking I probably would be long dead or in jail or on my death bed begging for a bottle. Isn’t that the sad part? I would be on my deathbed begging for a bottle. I know because I witnessed it personally with my own father. I have witnessed it in others too who are alcoholics and near the end of their lives.
If I never became a “recovering” alcoholic, I would be alone, no family, no friends, and no life to speak of. Booze would be my only comfort, my only friend. The friend that demanded it is me and no one else. Alcohol, I come first and no one comes second. Because that is what the alcohol does, it makes people run from your life. They may be around for months, a year, a few years, but eventually they will go, they all do. People can only take so much. People can only give so much. And as a drinking alcoholic you take, take, take, until the other person on your life is empty. They have given all they have and they are done. Despite what their feelings might be they have to move on. Go back to the world of sanity and friends and relationships that are grounded and based in something real.
I forgive you. I forgive you people who forced me into recovery. Because when I did start my recovery I was far from done drinking. I was still very thirsty. But I had slashed and burned everything and everyone in my life like the retreating Russian Army is WWII. I left nothing but scorched earth in my wake. There were a few sober people, recovering alcoholics who did not give up on me. Instead the forced me to the brink. They locked me in a room full of mirrors and all I could see was reflection of me and after looking for even the shortest time I did not like what I saw. I began to hate what I saw. I did not go down easy. It was like warm “skunked beer.” I was forced to drink it and throw it up in violent upheavals.
Most of you who gave me that gift, that torture chamber to sit in for endless day and do nothing but stare at my own soul are passed this earthly journey now. And sadly “the booze” played a role in your departing. I feel bad about that and think about it often. I have been sober for twenty years. I have been in “recovery” for thirty. I pray for you in my thoughts. And I thank you from deep in my heart. If you had given up on me as so many others did I would be nothing if I was even still alive. And I may have been worse, I may have taken another life from this earth selfishly feeding my addiction for alcohol drinking and driving a car drunk. Or I may have become so depressed from drinking all those years that I may have killed myself and my soul would be forever in purgatory, excluded from heaven as a suicide. And if not excluded, at the very least forced to spend millenniums there until heaven forgave me for my selfish act.
I have a life today that is rich in color, taste, smell, full of textures, rough, smooth, soft and hard. I have a life any man would be blessed to have and to you who put me in that room I say thank you. I say God Bless you and I pray for you. And beyond all I am eternally indebted to you.
Written by Thomas Gillis
August 14, 2013
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