Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Demon Alcoholism - The Great Equalizer

Hi All!

The greatest single impression I got from my three weeks in treatment was how incredibly democratic the disease of alcoholism is. My fellow patients ran a gamut of social, economic, religious, political, age, gender, race and mental health backgrounds. One would be hard pressed to assemble a more "diverse" sampling of Americans.

Yet the evil thing that brought us together is the demon of addiction. Mostly alcohol, but mood altering substances as well. It has taken me a long time to accept this fact:

Alcoholism is a bio-chemical, bio-physical, mental and social disease of the most destructive type. Some are born with it, most are not.

It is a bad habit for many heavy, habitual drinkers who are NOT suffering from the disease. Those are the lucky few who can quit by the force of will. Not so for we true alcoholics.

I am 48-years old. I took my first drink at 16. My demon has been my best pal for 24 years - 2/3 of my life. My best pal will never be satisfied until it takes my life. It has nearly succeeded several times. Along the way, it has devoured almost everything good in my life. Some pal.

The demon took a 21-day vacation of its own while I spent the time at Fairview Riverside. I left fully understanding that it would be back as soon as the door shut behind me. And boy was it! Despite the mental therapy, my boyishly health took a dive during treatment. I developed uncontrollable shaking and muscle jerks. Bit my tongue clear thru and could barely eat or drink -- no matter how I tried to favor the left side of my mouth, the slightest irritant would find it's way into the bloody chasm on the right side. I had poor equilibrium, and took a couple of falls with lucky landings. I had zero energy and could barely stay awake thru the days. Yet I slept half-consciously, fretfully and violently.

Fortunately, I had rid the house of every last stash before I left for treatment, so was greeted by empty hiding places when I arrived home. I am pretty sure I would have drained any remaining drop had I not taken precautions. I can't drive and the nearest jar store is outside of my limited walking distance, so now, day 5 at home, I am winning the daily battle. Not that the demon isn't swirling around in my thoughts almost constantly -- awake or asleep.

The health is somewhat coming back. Tongue almost healed, less jerks and shakes, better sleep.

Lest you are starting to sigh that here comes yet another hair shirt-wearing sad sack recovering addict's epic sob story, fear not.

As I previously warned, this blog will be devoted to stories from treatment. Meant to be therapeutic for me, entertaining for you. I am going to profile some of the fascinating people I met and share some of their stories, while needing to hold the line against breaching confidentiality.

The stories are meant to be entertaining, not preachy or judgmental. I just think that addicts in treatment with the guard down are the smartest, most sensitive and above all, FUNNY people one could ever meet.

As to the title of today's post, I avoid the cliche' of "Demon Alcohol" (the theme of a favorite Kinks song of mine). Alcohol ain't no demon. The demon is the addiction.

I hope you bear with me and spread the word if you enjoy what you read in the coming days.

If you are new to the Wog's Blog, please mine the archives. I daresay their is good stuff to be unearthed back when readership was nil.



Post a Comment

<< Home