Sunday, September 23, 2007

"Hi, my name is..." (For Sunday Scribblings)

(This is a work of fiction, based on some personal experience)
“Hi. My name is Talbot, and I’m an alcoholic. I have been sober for three months this time around. It’s the longest length of time I have remained sober. My wife and kids are only a part of why I am here today. My wife… she has put up with my drinking binges for far too long. And the kids… they don’t need to live life in the company of a man who gets drunk every weekend (or more) and can’t remember what happened after the fifth or sixth drink. But most of all, I am here because I know that I have a problem that I cannot control on my own. I’ve tried. I am weak, and I can’t get sober without help.

I am not a loud drunk, a rowdy drunk, or a mean drunk. I am just a drunk. My definition of getting drunk means releasing tension from whatever is going on at work or at home. It means gaining a different perspective on problems I am having trouble sorting out sober.

I like to hang out on the back porch by myself and drink and think, though I would really prefer my wife to get drunk with me. She won’t. And the problem is that when I drink, I can’t stop. I drink, and drink, and drink some more. I turn the I-pod on and listen to music, and I’m having so much fun and so much time to think in my own little world that I continue to drink. Pretty soon, I’m howling at the moon, um, er, singing to the music... loudly. Trouble is, that wakes my wife who is already upstairs sleeping, and I happen to be right below her window.

Another trouble is that I drink until I pass out, whether it’s on the back porch in a lawn chair or on the couch with a beer in my hand. Thankfully, I gave up the hard stuff, Jack Daniels, a few years ago, and thankfully, I don’t smoke anymore, because I would pass out with a lit cigarette and burn myself, my shirt, or my blanket, depending on where I was.

Another problem is that if I run out of something to drink, I want to drive to the liquor store or gas station for more. It doesn’t matter what time it is. My wife has to take the keys away from me. She has actually driven me there before, rather than let me drive and get in a wreck, and rather than fight me over the keys. But she usually manages to get them from me, and I am always glad for that the next day. She shouldn’t have to do that, though.

In my mind, I rationalize things. It’s only beer. Or, it’s only wine. Doesn’t matter, though, does it? It’s alcohol, and it’s an addictive poison. I can convince myself that I deserve that drink. I convince myself that it helps me problem-solve. I convince myself I’m not hurting anyone. I convince myself that there is nothing I can do about it. I convince myself that the drinking helps my stomach problems. I can convince myself that it’s someone else’s fault. In short, I lie to myself.

I know that I am irresponsible and selfish. I know that I have put my wife through hell. I know that one day she will get tired of it and leave me. I know she’ll take the kids to keep them from witnessing their dad drunk. And I wouldn’t blame her for that, but I don’t want that to happen. And I know that with my own power, sobriety will not come. I submit this to you, God. Give me the strength that I need to change what I can change. Thank you.”

4 comments:

gautami said...

That hits home. I work for down trodden children who are molested by their drunken fathers.

Herb Urban said...

Very powerful piece of writing. I capture the desperation of addiction quite well. I have close friends who have been road that road and made the long journey back.

tumblewords said...

Lots of honesty from this character. Nicely written!

Josie Two Shoes said...

Having just come to your blog for the first time, Forgetfulone, I find myself very moved by this story. Anyone who has lived with an alcoholic, knows it rings true. I loved that you wrote it from the perspective of self-awareness, it makes it so much more meaningful than if it would have been the wife writing about him!

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