Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Here's the deal

Yesterday’s entry on alcoholism caused more of a stir than I imagined.

All of your great comments helped broaden my understanding of why alcoholism is, as Taxman says, ‘a strange genetic curse.’

Having grown up in a family where alcohol was literally non-existent, I can’t begin to know what it’s like living with an alcoholic.

I do know that it means a cycle of profound pain and anger and disappointment and grief for those touched by it. And I’ve seen how that deep, in-your-bones brand of hurt bruises generations because it changes people and their relationships and their view of the world.

But here’s the deal.

Anytime learning about a topic takes me from a place of anger and judgment to a place of compassion and understanding, I feel like I’m growing a bit and doing my part to become a better citizen.

I wrote on this for one reason and one reason only: Because Neil Steinberg’s book Drunkard transformed my perception of alcoholism. This is a Very Big Deal, as Mom can attest. She was shocked by what I wrote because we’ve argued repeatedly (and sometimes rather loudly) about the alcoholism/disease thing over the years.

Beyond the small miracle of changing my narrow opinion about alcoholism, Neil’s book has me assessing our family history to determine if we’re at risk of allowing it to ruin our lives. It's entirely possible. And it is frightening.

Again, I can't imagine what Neil's drinking put his wife and children through. But his book helped me understand that alcoholism isn't about wanting to hurt your spouse or family, it's about your body and your brain making it damn near impossible to avoid hurting them.

And that kind of pain is simply unimaginable.
I am listening to: Starry-Eyed Surprise - Paul Oakenfold
I am reading: Nothing
And I am: Relaxed


Moe Wanchuk said...

ok... So I have an addiction to b**bs. I think of them. I dream of them. I want to touch them. All... The... Time!
My brother had this problem, so I've tried to stay away from them for years, knowing that it's a disease that obviously runs in the family. I know I'm going to randomly grope someone at point, due to my lack of sexual controls. Hedy, I'm scared. Please advise

Anonymous said...

You mention profound pain, anger, disappointment & grief that an alcoholic causes for their loved ones. I have seen all this and more in my Granddaughter, the sad thing is that she thinks her life is normal. Even though I know that alcoholism is a disease, I don't know if I will ever get rid of the anger & judgement when it comes to my Granddaughters mother.I guess I better read Neil's book. Thanks for this blog Hedy.
Love, Mom

Posolxstvo I said...

Moe -- Everybody hurts, and I feel your pain.

You might look to B.A. to get the help you need -- they have six-, twelve- and eighteen-step programs, depending on the exact cup size of your addiction.

I, personally, am still in denial that I have a problem.

Brian said...

This subject brings out so many emotions in different people due to the experiences people have had with alcoholics. Most of us will deal with it in our own way. I want to understand the alcoholic. I know they won’t be looking for help until they want it for themselves. Before it’s too late I hope for most. I want to have compassion, another part of me says “fuck em”, they made their own choices. I get up every morning like everyone else and make choices regarding the person I want to be today. How does anyone forgive and have compassion for a man who killed two young ladies, sisters on homecoming night? This being his second or third DUI offense. He lives, they die. The defense in court, his disease was the reason he's out on the roads driving under the influence. I believe we need to understand and have compassion for the ones we love. At what point is enough just that, enough? If they don't help themselves at some point, move on...