I quit drinking 22 years ago at just twenty-two years-old. Heck, I was only legal for a year before I quit. Non-recovering people often wonder why, after all this time, I wouldn’t try going back to drinking again. After all, shouldn’t there have been a cognitive shift that would allow me, after all this time, to drink like a normal person would?
There is a lot of misunderstanding that goes with recovery when it comes to normal people. They often find it hard to comprehend what would possess or even require a person like me to stay away from alcohol.
One of the keys to recovery is the following: To Thine Own Self Be True. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t a useless metaphor where “true”, means “whatever I can convince you (or worse, me) sounds good”, we’re talking about true. Strip away all of the bullshit and just be straight with what’s left.
The truth is, to this day I know I’m still a two-fisted drinker. If I were to start back up tomorrow, I’d be drunk the first time out. Even if, by some miracle, I managed to keep it under control for a short period of time, I would be right back to my old ways before long. The key is simple: I still long for the escape. Drinking, for me, was always about changing how I felt and escaping responsibility… It was about feeling good, no matter how bad the results ended up being. If I am true to myself, I know that further experimentation is not necessary. After all I’ve learned, all I’ve gained and all I’ve done over the last two decades, all I need to do to wreck everything is add alcohol.
See, depending on how you view the science (disease vs. learned behavior), the one thing that can’t be argued is that drunks simply process alcohol differently than most people. A simple example would be the fact that normal people, when they feel tipsy, can stop drinking. For a person like me, that’s just about the time I start feeling good. The only problem is that good is hardly ever good enough. If four beers is good, fourteen is great. For most, that would seem silly but there is what we call an “allergy” that goes along with this. Once I introduce that first taste to my system, I cannot stop. I can’t be sure I’ll step away before I’m obliterated.
I stay away from alcohol because I have a fairly broad base of knowledge to draw from, for both drinking and abstaining. Adding alcohol to my system will, as I have proven time and again, lead only to misery and failure while abstinence and working a spiritually based program of accountability leads to prosperity and happiness. These are simple, irrefutable, unassailable truths. The question, therefore, isn’t why I don’t go back to drinking. The question is, who in their right mind would go back, knowing what I do?
One thing is for certain with recovery: Misery is refundable, just add alcohol.