Publisher’s column: He can picture life without alcohol
Thanks to everyone who responded to the column I wrote last week on the anniversary of my sobriety. The response was the greatest I’ve ever had regarding a column I’ve written. I was humbled and happy to hear that my candor was beneficial to some. All of the well wishes and congratulations were unexpected and appreciated.
It was interesting to hear from a large of number of friends, acquaintances and readers who have confided in me that they were also sober or were trying to help someone close to them with the same issue.
Look around at some of the homeless in our community. Many suffer from dependency on alcohol or other drugs. Was homelessness their goal in life?
To be clear, I am not anti-alcohol. I truly envy those who can enjoy an adult beverage without being controlled by the alcohol. I wish I could do the same.
Some people I’ve communicated with don’t understand why alcohol can be a challenge for some. Let me try to explain why I came to my conclusion.
I never woke up craving a drink. Instead it was what I did to unwind after work or to enjoy the weekend. If I were to go out to dinner, I’d start with a martini. Then I would have a couple of glasses of wine with my meal. When dinner was finished, why not have a nice single malt scotch for dessert? And then I might go home and open up a nice bottle of wine. And then I might fall asleep on the couch with a wine glass in my hand.
The next morning, I’d wake up with a major headache and question why I drank so much the night before. I’d think to myself, “no drinking tonight.” And then after a day of work, I’d have an inner argument to drink or not to drink. Most of the time I would finish the argument with a glass of wine or a Jack Daniels on the rocks. And then I would have a drink or five after that one.
Months prior to quitting, I spoke to Dr. David Lorah at Glenwood Medical Associates about my concerns. He suggested both that I take a medication to help alleviate the urge to drink and that I attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. I did neither.
Finally, knowing my grandson was coming out to spend a week, I decided I was not proud of the guy I became after drinking and figured I’d take a week off. I decided to fill the prescription. After two weeks of not drinking I made the decision that it would best if I just quit completely. Why? I felt better and realized I could gain three extra productive hours in my life every evening.
I have been told that my experience, while difficult, was a bit easier than what others have gone through with their own challenges. A friend suggested I attend an AA meeting even though I’ve been sober for a year. People do backslide, and it would be a shame to lose what I have gained. I’m going to take him up on that offer.
Some readers may just believe that I am a weak person. And maybe I am. Having experienced more than one blackout in my life, I’m OK with that label, and I’m OK with not drinking.
Michael Bennett is publisher of the Post Independent.
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