Looking back at my previous posts about this time of my life, I see that I have mashed my time lines already. Once I “slipped” and drank again, after having achieved about 18 months of sobriety, I continued to drink on and off for about three or four more years. Not six, as I wrote previously. The entire length of my drinking was probably around six years, from first drink to (God willing) last. I bet that sometimes when I tell it verbally, I misspeak then as I miswrote here. It seems to me, at times, that I didn’t drink long enough, that someone will say I’m not a “real” alcoholic.
Of course that actually happened to me at times, when I had my first period of sobriety. I was very young, and I hadn’t been drinking very long, and I can understand that some would be skeptical. My feeling about it, though, is that skeptics should keep those thoughts to themselves. There is nothing to be gained from convincing some young, mistaken person that they are actually not alcoholic. There is much harm that can be done by casting doubt in the mind of someone who is trying to recover.
I had started going down hill very quickly when I first started drinking. After 18 months of abstaining, it was actually worse. OK, here’s something I’ve heard and wondered about. It is conventional wisdom that when the alcoholic is not drinking, the “disease” is still progressing. So, it is said, we don’t get to pick up where we left off. No, and we truly don’t get to start over again at the beginning, like most of us would so very much like to do. Rather we start up again where we would have been, had we never stopped and always continued.
I’m pretty sure there’s no science behind this assertion. When I finally got sober again, and looked back on that period at first, I said and I believed that this was true, that I picked up worse than I had ever been before. About 18 months worse. Now I’m not so sure. I can see now that my period of sobriety was very brief, and my drinking career before my period of sobriety was also very brief. Also, it makes sense to me that a relapsing alcoholic is not going to resume drinking as if nothing had happened.
“AA will ruin your drinking.” That’s also been proven true many many times. I think that personally I was beyond that, though. Alcoholism ruined my drinking, and it did so almost at the very beginning. By the time of this slip, I had no chance of a happy drinking career.
Not that I didn’t try.