Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Now or Never

The above is the title of a new book by Jack Cafferty, a reporter for CNN who appears on "The Situation Room" daily. I read an article that contains an excerpt from the book. He discusses in detail his alcoholism and the last final, devastating days of drinking. I have copied a paragraph that spoke to me below. One of the things I really appreciate about "celebrities" and "people in public" discussing their issues around addiction is that it galvanizes for me that this disease does not discriminate. It really doesn't care how much money you make, your position with a company, your IQ, your social network. Addiction will take you to your knees regardless of status in the community and bank balance. I also appreciate them sharing their sagas because people who have never struggled with addiction have an incredibly hard time wrapping their heads around why someone would destroy themselves in such a manner, especially someone who appears to have it all; they should struggle with this understanding, I know this addict did for a very long time. I would never want anyone to really suffer the hell I suffered, but when others talk about their struggle with it, they reach out to the world and, my hope, is on some level, they help create a little more compassion for the person who still suffers. This is not to say that anyone should ever have to continue to live with an addict, they have to take care of themselves first, it is up to the addict to find support among other like individuals and find their own way back.

There was a relentless, unspoken tension between us caused by the chemical I was addicted to. Eventually, your personality splits apart; you're living a lie and a scary double life. It requires tremendous mental energy to stay in that game and keep living that lie, all the more so with two young kids in the house bearing witness to the worst of it. You know you're not fooling anyone, least of all your spouse. And as my ability to handle the booze diminished over time, I needed more of it, and it began to consume me. I just wanted to walk through my career and do the drinking; do the marriage and do the drinking; do the parenting and do the drinking. How many drinks do you have at dinner when you go out? Do you drink at home before you go out and have more drinks at dinner? What about after dinner? Believe it or not, these are real questions that go through the addicted mind. Not, What do I wear? Is the babysitter lined up with snacks and stuff to do with the kids? Etc. It is ALL about the drinking and where the next drink will come from, and how much we think we can get away with drinking. Cafferty captures very directly and simply the mind of an addict...everytime I read things like this, I am grateful to be sober one more day.

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