I don’t understand!

About five years ago, I had dinner with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. We talked about what had been happening in our lives since the last time we had been together. He told me about all the amazing things he had been doing, and I told him how I went to rehab and that I was an alcoholic. He didn’t understand what I meant by that, even after I tried to explain it to him. I didn’t elaborate any further, as I didn’t think he would understand. So the conversation changed, and we ate our dinner.

We reminisced about the old times and laughed at some of the stupid things we did together. It was nice to catch up with an old friend. Towards the end of the evening, the waitress came over and asked my friend if he wanted another drink. He politely declined. I looked at him in amazement and said the following; Do you know what I don’t understand? I don’t understand how you said NO after one drink. I don’t understand how that person over there walked away from their table with beer still in their glass. I don’t understand what it means to drink socially. For me, once I start, I can’t stop.

He looked at me, smiled, and didn’t say a word! But I could see that the hamster inside his head was running full speed. He probably thought I was crazy. Hell, if the roles were reversed, I would have thought he was crazy. After the silence broke, we started to discuss more of what I had been through. The longer we talked, the more questions he had. The more questions he asked, the more I began to wonder what the rest of my life was going to look like, absent of alcohol.

Everything I did revolved around being drunk. I drank when I was happy, sad, angry, tired, stressed, and even when I didn’t want to. What was I going to do? How was I going to get by? If only I could say “no” after just one drink. If only I could walk away from a half-drunk beer. If only I could stop, once I got started. Those thoughts consumed me early on in my recovery. Fortunately, they were only thoughts, and I never acted on them because although there were many good times, I invariably remembered the bad times. Through work on my part and relying on others to guide me towards a new life, I haven’t had a drink in over five years. More importantly, all of those questions that consumed me have been answered.

Today, I am happy, I am healthy, and I am sober.

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