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Grapevine : May 2011
F or the past 20 years, i’ve been lost, hiding from someone i don’t even know— myself. Most of my thoughts, actions, and feelings weren’t in my control. Five months ago, i finally came to the realization that i’m an alcoholic, up against an addic- tion that will kill me. i want, need and deserve a life free from alcohol. So, for the last five months, i’ve been fighting for my life. i’m also fighting to get rid of the stigma that addiction is a case of self-will, not a disease. Many people’s perceptions of the alcoholic are skewed. i have a beautiful home, a wonderful family, a Masters degree and a very successful career—the typical american dream. i never wanted to grow up and be an alcoholic, but that is my reality. Now, each day i dowhatihavetoto stay sober. it’s not easy. i am fortunate to have many sup- portive people in my life. i am rediscover- ingwhoiamand what is important to me, a journey that is frightening as well as rewarding. i am will- ing to do whatever it takes to win this battle, and to help others i love dearly going through the same thing. iwanttobeleft Enemy in me up a glass of what I thought was soda and guzzled more than half of it be- fore I realized it was my 18-year-old son’s “hunch punch,” soda and alco- hol. The minute it touched my lips, I wasagoner.IknewIhadtogetout of there, but someone who didn’t know I was in the program handed meashot.Iheldthatshotuptomy mouth and fought with myself. I lost the fight. I just couldn’t put that shot down. I knew, at that very moment, that I had a problem, and it terrified me. I went on a nine-hour binge and woke up the next morning feeling like crap and still drunk. Luckily, a friend did something that saved my life that day. I’d certainly heard all the hor- ror stories about the person I became when I was drunk: Belligerent, disre- spectful, mean, violent, etc. But, I al- ways shrugged it off, falling back on the old, “If I don’t remember, it didn’t happen” excuse. She knew me well enough to sit me down in front of the television and turned it on. There, in front of me on the TV screen, was a complete and utter monster, a Jekyll and Hyde. I watched the video for maybe ten minutes be- fore I started to feel physically sick. There was no more denial. Reality had smacked me with the force of a battering ram. Watching this video was powerful and very disturbing. I was sick, angry, disgusted and afraid, all at the same time. I knew what had to be done if I wanted to live. The very next day I walked back 52 May 2011 GRAPE_50-53.indd 52 4/4/11 1:03 PM