Jul 19: The two faces of alcoholism/coin

“When I try to reconstruct what my life was like “before”, I see a coin with two faces.

One, the side I turned to myself and the world, was respectable – even, in some ways, distinguished. I was father, husband, tax payer, home owner. I was club-man, athlete, artist, musician, author, editor, aircraft pilot, and world traveller. I was listed in Who’s Who in America as an American who, by distinguished achievement has arrived.

The other side of the coin was sinister, baffling. I was inwardly unhappy most of the time. There would be times when the life of respectability and achievement seemed insufferably dull – I had to break out. This I would do by going completely “bohemian” for a night, getting drunk, and rolling home with the dawn. Next day, remorse would be on me like a tiger.

I’d claw my way back to respectability and stay there – untill the inevitable next time”.

Extract from BB page 382

When I started drinking it was all low key and modest, I was in control. Then I found I loved the taste of alcohol, it made me into friendly bubbly person who could converse with anyone, compared to the shy awkward introvert I am, I was always “in the background”.

My love of alcohol was almost like a love affair, I did not need anyone or anything, as long as I went to work every day and proved what an exceptional (in my mind) worker I was, then how could I be an alcoholic?

Many times in my drinking career when at a pub and obviously had to much to drink, and not steady on my feet would knock a glass over or some inappropriate comment made, I always joked ” I would pick up my name later”‘, that never happened, and thinking on it today I would be permanently on my knees “picking up my name”.

In the beginning it was easy to have a ready made excuse, especially as did not always go with same friends out, at work I was hard working and went the extra mile (even today I go the extra mile- just not with drinking anymore), then come knock off time I would plan most nights to party.

Eventually I was drinking more and became a solitary drinker, it was easier than having to make excuses to anyone, and my love affair with the bottle “got intense”‘.

It would be nice to hear “your two sides of the coin”