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M(3), 9/1: Am I REALLY an Alcoholic?


Pick as many of the following that apply to you:

A.  Happy Labor Day

B.  Happy Monday

C.  Happy Last Unofficial Day of Summer

D.  Happy School Year’s Eve

E.  Happy first day of September

F.  All of the Above (which would be the one I am picking!)

I write from the pool where we have a membership, which is surprisingly empty given that it is the last day before pretty much every school in our area heads back into session.  Delightful for the kids I brought, because there are no lines for the water slides, and delightful for me, because I can type in relative peace.  Plus, if I don’t do this now, there is no way I’m getting to it as we set up for our new 5:30 am (yikes) schedule that begins tomorrow.  Back to our regularly scheduled program…

As it is the first day of the month, today’s meeting featured a personal story from the book Alcoholics Anonymous, entitled “Physician, Heal Thyself.”  As many times as I have read from this book, I have never personally read this story, so it was interesting to me from that standpoint alone.  The author states right at the outset that his story differs from most of the others he has heard in the rooms of AA in that he has never lost anything:  he did not lose his job, his family, his freedom.  In fact, his story is almost the opposite, in that he earned more money in his last year of drinking than he ever had before.  His life was golden:  class president every year, academic success, every career accolade that you can conceive, and a family who never questioned him.  Sounds like a good thing, but, as he writes:

Mine was the skid row of success.  The physical skid row in any city is miserable.  The skid row of success is just as miserable.  -pg. 301, Alcoholics Anonymous

My main takeaway from the story revolves around this exact part of his story.  So often as I read the blogs of other writers, as I hear the newcomer speak at a meeting, I hear this exact conundrum:  Am I really an alcoholic?  Almost as soon as the question is asked, the checklist begins.  Counterintuitively, the checklist is the list of reasons why the person is not an alcoholic, and it usually goes something like this:

  • I have never been in prison/jail
  • I have never been arrested
  • I still have my job
  • I still have my husband/wife/children/pets
  • I still have my house/car/boat/coin collection
  • I pay my bills on time
  • There are people in my life who drink as much/more than me
  • I don’t drink every weekend/every day/in the morning
  • Sometimes I can control it

If you’re reading this because you are in recovery, want to be in recovery, or considering recovery as a personal option, you can identify with a few of these, and can probably add a few yourself.  Why?  Because almost without exception, every person who chooses sobriety has asked themselves these questions.

So, you may be thinking, what is the answer for a person who is undecided?  How do you really and truly know if you are an alcoholic/addict, especially if you are a person who does not fit the stereotypical mold?  There are lots of tests you can take, lots of therapy you can seek, and lots of information you can gather, but, at the end of the day, only one person can answer the question, and that person, of course, is you.  Only one person truly knows the impact that alcohol has on your life, only one person knows your real relationship with alcohol, and only one person knows how difficult or easy it would be to remove alcohol from your life.  And truly, there is only one way to find out how much happier you would be sober, and that is to stop drinking.

And there you have my reflection from this morning’s meeting, your Labor Day Sober PSA!  Lots of other wonderful shares today, but the sun is peeking out from the clouds, and it’s time to join in on some pool fun.  If you’re heading out to a holiday picnic, enjoy it and stay safe, if it’s just another Monday for you, enjoy it and stay safe as well!

Today’s Miracle:

Technology that allows me to type this as I watch the kids screaming down these slides:


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