There are few of us who escape being touched in some way or another by alcoholism. It is an illness that affects all walks of life, leaving a path of destruction in its wake.
I am not an alcoholic. While I do enjoy a glass of wine, particularly shared with friends, that is where my desire and need to indulge ends.
I am however, one of many, who have felt the impact of this wretched disease. If you were to study my family tree, you would find a number of alcoholics hanging off of its limbs. I suspect there are many family trees that look just like mine.
There is rarely a time when I speak openly to people about how alcoholism has impacted my life, when I not met with an understanding nod, usually followed by their own story of someone in their life who suffers from this addiction.
Why then, are we so reluctant to discuss this issue?
I suspect it is because alcoholism, like mental illness, holds a certain stigma about it. Often discussed in hushed tones, we are reluctant to speak openly with others, for it brings up feelings of shame & embarrassment.
I cannot begin to describe the ways in which this disease has touched my life. What I can tell you is it has robbed me of precious time with people I love. It has caused me enough tears to fill an ocean. It is an illness that still baffles me, despite my knowledge in understanding it to the degree that I do.
If I could off any tidbit of device, I would tell you that you are not alone. There is no shame in talking to someone. In doing so, it helps to lighten the burden just a wee bit in dealing with all of the emotion surrounding this disease.
If you, like me, have been impacted by alcoholism, I encourage you to talk to someone. Seek out a support system you are comfortable with. A family doctor, a friend, a family member, a counselor or perhaps an organization like Al-Anon. If your preference is to do a little research on your own, there are a plethora of books available on topics relating to coping with addiction.
If you suspect you have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, I urge you to get help. It is never too late to make the necessary changes needed, & again, there are a number of resources available, the most common one being, Alcoholics Anonymous. If you are not comfortable with this kind of help, speak to a family member, a doctor, a pastor or a friend about your concern. For the sake of yourself & your loved ones, pursue the support you need to help you get sober.
Take the necessary steps to put an end to this destructive, deceitful addiction. In doing so, life for everyone involved will be so much richer for having done so.
For those interested, this is a self test posted by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. You can do the test here.